Video: WV’s Sunset Ellis to reopen in 2023

After its original owners closed the adjoining restaurant, it looked like the Sunset Drive-In in Shinnston WV was going to stay dark. The outlook was bad enough that I had pulled the Sunset (or is it the Sunset Ellis?) off the Carload active drive-in list. But it goes back to one of my favorite rules: How can you tell when a drive-in has permanently closed? It’s not when it ends its season; it’s when it fails to open the following spring.

Here’s a great example of that rule in action. Rocky Morgan has stepped in to buy the historic Sunset Ellis Restaurant and its drive-in. The restaurant reopens on Feb. 16, and Morgan said he’ll reopen the Sunset Drive-In this summer. This great news came this week from WDTV, Weston WV’s News Leader, which provided a nice video that I can’t embed here.

In place of that video, I’ve added another video from last summer when the Sunset looked like it would close for good. That video came from WBOY, Clarksburg WV’s News Leader. So maybe you could watch that one first, as the “before” story, then click over to WDTV for the “after”. That way, you’ll be sure to catch the happy ending.

Video: PA’s Point to reopen for 2023

Maybe it’s not perfect news, but it’s still good. David Renn, owner of the Point Drive-In in Northumberland PA, had said last year that 2022 would be the Point’s final season. Renn doesn’t own the drive-in’s land, and the landlord was planning to install a solar farm in place of the Point, which had just celebrated its 70th anniversary.

This week, several nearby news organization reported on Renn’s Facebook post in which he said that “the solar farm is no longer happening” and the Point will open again in 2023. I first noticed the story at NorthCentralPA.com, but I’m glad to include a video report from WNEP, Scranton’s News Leader.

What makes this news less than perfect is that the Point’s existence is still tenuous. Renn said he won’t be selling season passes, suggesting that the landowner could change his mind any time.

Any reprieve is worth something. Now the Point’s fans have at least one more opportunity to head over and experience a movie at this 70-year-old drive-in, carved from the woods overlooking the Susquehanna River. And if you can’t go, at least there’s a video to show you how it looks today.

Video: Delta CO’s Tru Vu changes hands

There’s big news on Colorado’s Western Slope. George Rodriguez is the new owner of Delta’s Tru Vu Drive-In, as reported by KREX, Grand Junction’s News Leader. Actually, there’s been a lot of Tru Vu news over the past five years, so let me get you caught up.

When we last left the Tru Vu Drive-In in Delta CO, it was an early stop in my 2017 Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. I’ve written a lot about it since then, but it’s all been in my book, Drive-Ins of Colorado. If you’re a Carload completist with a copy of that book, you can skip down a couple of paragraphs.

After only a cursory check on the Tru Vu’s history, I wrote in my Odyssey stop there that it opened in 1954. That may or may not be accurate. Another passage was extremely off the mark: “A lot of drive-in theaters have some drama associated with them. They add screens, they lose screens. They shut down for a while, and sometimes reopen. Not the Tru Vu.” I couldn’t have been more wrong – in its first 15 years, the Tru Vu had the most tumultuous life of any drive-in I’ve heard of. That section took up two full pages in the book, and it’s beyond the scope of this post. Everything quieted down in 1968 when Jeannie and Stanley Dewsnup bought it along with Delta’s other theaters.

Stanley passed away in 2008, and Jeannie continued to operate the Tru Vu until she died in April 2019. James Lane and his family stepped in to run the drive-in only to hit the headwind that was the 2020 start to the Covid pandemic. He will always have a warm place in my heart, not just for this unselfish work, but also for giving me permission to use a photo of the Tru Vu for my book cover.

Now that we’re caught up, here’s the news from December 2022. Rodriguez began working with Jeannie Dewsnup in 1997 and became her “right hand” according to KREX. His daughter Jessikah Rodriguez remembered getting on a crane when her dad was painting the screen. Now the family is planning to embrace a 50s vibe and stay open longer. Sounds great!

I’m always happy to have any excuse to embed a drive-in video, and good news from a Colorado drive-in makes it even better. I hope you’ll agree that this was worth the wait.