It’s Day 304 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. On Halloween, I scurried to a safe retreat, driving less than two hours from the Unadilla Drive-In in Unadilla NY, of course, to the Jericho Drive-in in Glenmont NY.
The story according to Oval Pike is, “The Jericho opened in 1955, after two brothers bought the land from the physician who lived across the road.” It’s true that the incorporation papers for Jericho & 9-W Drive-In Theater, Inc. were filed with the state on Sept. 16, 1955, and DriveInMovie.com wrote that those brothers were Morris and Raphael Klein. But New York Drive-Ins and everybody else says that the grand opening was on Flag Day, June 14, 1957.
The International Motion Picture Almanac still listed Morris Klein as the owner in its 1966 edition, and the Jericho’s capacity was 520 cars. Then came a few decades where I’m really not sure what happened.
The Spotlight of Albany County says that current owners Mike and Lisa Chenette bought the Jericho in 1995. About 2007, they carved out a piece of their viewing field to open the TwisT ice cream stand. (Which offers 25 flavors of hard ice cream and 22 varieties of soft serve including eight combinations of candy that can be added! But I digress.) In 2013, they tried and failed to get a free digital projector in Honda’s Project Drive-In. In 2014, they tried fundraisers to build up some of the cast they’d need, and they upgraded to digital projection in 2015.
And that’s about all I’ve got for this beloved local staple. The video of the day must have first aired on WNYT, Albany’s News Leader, in early 2014 although it was posted to YouTube over two years later.
The Jericho is closed for the season. The ice cream stand was closed for Halloween, but otherwise expects to stay open through this Sunday.
Miles Today / Total: 100 / 34407 (rounded to the nearest mile)
Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 185
Nearby Restaurant: I find a good old 50s-style diner to be a great salve for missing out on the drive-in experience, and Johnny B’s Glenmont Diner fits that to a T. It’s not shy about sharing all the awards it’s won, or about nailing plenty of vinyl records to the wall. Everyone was dressed up for Halloween, adding to the surreal. Oh yes, the breakfast was amazing, with eggs and bacon and plenty of coffee.
Where I Virtually Stayed: There were a couple of hotels closer to the Jericho, but the Hilton Garden Inn by the Albany Medical Center was just six miles away, so I went with one of my favorite chains. There were cookies waiting for me at check-in, my room had all the modern amenities, and my Hilton Gold status scored me a free breakfast from its substantial buffet.
Only in Glenmont: Next door in Albany, there’s a 28-foot tall, four-ton steel and fiberglass statue of Nipper, the dog best known as listening to “His Master’s Voice” for RCA. According to the Albany Institute of History & Art, Nipper came to his downtown perch in 1958 following renovations of a rundown warehouse built in 1900. The refurbished structure became the new home of RTA, a distributor specializing in RCA appliances. The sculpture was fabricated in Chicago, shipped by rail in five sections, and assembled on the roof with the help of a ten-story crane.
Next stop: Greenville Drive-In Outdoor Cinema, Greenville NY.