It’s Day 355 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. On an ugly, wintry day of driving, I was glad it only took about a half hour to go from the Pike Drive In Theatre in Montgomery PA to the Point Drive-In between Northumberland and Mechanicsville PA.
The Point opened under a different name. The June 21, 1952 issue of Billboard wrote “Harold E. Bell opened his new 250-car Arrow Drive-In near Danville, Pa.” Later that year, Billboard noted that the drive-in had installed “new high-intensity lamps”, perhaps to increase its capacity. By 1955, the Motion Picture Almanac listed the Arrow at 400 cars, owned by “Bell & Kipp Bros.”
An October 1, 1957 ad in the Hazleton Standard-Sentinel for the Australian adventure film Walk Into Hell mentioned the Point Drive-In in Danville, the first reference I could find to its new name. The MPA, frequently slow to notice changes, updated its listing by 1959.
The next solid information I could find was in an article in the Winter 2005-2006 issue of Spectrum magazine, hosted at Archive.org. It interviewed current owner Dave Renn about the 1970s and 1980s when the Point showed some X-rated movies. “There was very low overhead,” Renn said. “They needed only one person to run the projector and one for the concession stand – people rarely got out of their cars.”
The Point stopped showing adult films after the 1987 season. Owner Joe Farruggio, whose Sportservice Corporation had purchased the Point some time before 1980, then transformed the Point from single to triple screen and added FM stereo sound.
Renn apparently told the Drive-In Theater Adventures blog in 2015 that he had owned the Point for 27 years, which is only a little off from the Spectrum article, which said he “took over” in 1990.
In October 2014, Renn held a Jackalope music festival to raise money to finance the conversion to digital projection, according to The Daily Item of Sunbury. Something must have worked, because the Point outfitted its first digital projector in June 2016, and its movie listings this season suggest it found a second. On the other hand, it was still raising money in early October 2017 for a third digital projector.
The Point closed for the season at the end of October. I’m glad it promised to reopen next spring.
Miles Today / Total: 30 / 39436 (rounded to the nearest mile)
Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 200
Nearby Restaurant: The closest restaurants are all in Danville, and the one I chose for dinner was the Old Forge Brewing Company. Heck, it’s got Brewing right in its name! I had a salad to stay healthy, then dove in to my ribeye steak brushed with beer butter. I don’t know how one would make beer butter, but it sure sounds great. For dessert, I enjoyed a stout float, like a root beer float without the root. Good times!
Where I Virtually Stayed: The closest hotel to the Point is the Pine Barn Inn in Danville. For such a homey-sounding name, it’s a modern-looking place. There was coffee waiting for me. My comfortable room had all the modern amenities. And there’s a full restaurant on-site for dinner and, most important, breakfast. It was a welcome refuge on a cold, drizzly day.
Only in Northumberland: According to Wikipedia, Northumberland was founded in 1772. Its land was purchased from the Iroquois in the first Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, and the village was laid out in 1772. During the American Revolution, Northumberland was evacuated in response to British-led attacks during the Big Runaway in 1778, and was only finally resettled in 1784.
Next stop: Laurel Drive-in, Hazleton PA.