Aug. 6: Skyview Drive-In Theatre, Lancaster OH

It’s Day 218 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It took less than an hour to drive from the South Drive-in Theater on the south side (of course!) of Columbus OH to the Skyview Drive-In Theatre just east of Lancaster OH.

The Lancaster Eagle-Gazette had a great article about the Skyview just this May. It was built in 1948 by Carlos Crum, who ran it until 1994, when he sold it to Walt Effinger. Starting in junior high school as a projectionist, Effinger had worked at the Skyview on and off for about 30 years. He still owns and runs the place today.

As seen on the back of the main screen, this drive-in opened as the Skyview Cruise-In. By 1952, industry lists had switched to calling it the Skyview Drive-In instead, although newspaper ads kept the Cruise-In name until 1970.

One one hand, Effinger is old-fashioned enough to not only keep the in-car speakers but repair them as needed himself. (FM radio sound is also available.) On the other hand, the Skyview was the first drive-in in Ohio to convert to digital projection in 2013. “Everyone knows eventually that you’ll be digital or you’ll close your doors,” he told the Delco Times that year.

“While the picture that appears on Skyview’s original 80-foot screen is upgraded, the rest of the grounds remain intact and similar to how they appeared on opening day,” the Eagle-Gazette wrote. “The decor and food concession still embody the time.”

And Effinger stressed that the Skyview is open rain or shine. “The snow don’t bother us,” he said. “The rain don’t bother us. We’ll have people on Facebook asking if we’re open. As long as I have electric, I’ll be running the movies.”

There was a note on the Skyview web site that this was the “(l)ast week for this movie,” but that did little to blunt the impact of my fifth viewing of The Emoji Movie. The Guardian wrote, “The Emoji Movie could in theory have been witty and sophisticated, … juxtaposing its apparently dumbed-down world with a smart script. But no. This is just a boilerplate animation, zestless, pointless.” So it’s not just me.

Miles Today / Total:  33 / 26715 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: The Emoji Movie / 133

Nearby Restaurant: With an eye towards historic sites, I ate lunch at the Cherry Street Pub. The bar, circa 1910, came from the town’s Last Chance Saloon. The building is 100 years old and feels it. The cuisine is really good bar food. I enjoyed the signature pecan chicken and waffles, complete with honey pecan butter. Topped that off with a Cherry Street Float made with Jack Daniels ice cream. Great stuff!

Where I Virtually Stayed: Another city with enough population meant another Hampton Inn this night. The one in Lancaster had cookies to greet me in the evening, the standard nice Hampton breakfast, and a comfortable room with a mini-fridge (though no microwave) in between. Another safe choice.

Only in Lancaster: Lancaster is home to the Ohio Glass Museum. In 2003, the Ohio legislature designated Lancaster as the “Pressed Glass Capital of Ohio”, and the museum was built soon after. There are theme collections on display, a glass-blowing demo, and every year it collects registrations for the National Marbles Tournament.

Next stop: Springmill Twin Drive In, Mansfield OH.

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