Video: Haar’s Land Is For Sale

More possibly sad news, this time from the venerable Haar’s Drive-In Theatre in Dillsburg PA. A For Sale sign popped up on the site last week, and now I know that it’s news to the drive-in’s owner. I found out thanks to a news video posted by ABC27, Harrisburg’s News Leader.

Vickie Hardy is the third-generation owner of Haar’s, which was built starting in 1952 and opened in June 1953. She told the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, “Sunday a week ago, we were driving by and seeing someone putting a sign up … it was a sign putting the property we are on for sale”.

The York Daily Record had more information about the landowner, Giant Food Stores. “We regularly review our real estate portfolio to ensure it meets strategic priorities, and as a result we made the business decision to sell the property,” said Christopher Brand, director of external communications at Giant. “It is our hope that if a buyer emerges, they will continue to lease the land to Haar’s.”

All three sources said that the lease contained a provision requiring six months’ notice before changes, and the Daily Record said Brand apologized that Haar’s didn’t get that notice. Hardy told the Patriot-News, “They informed me that yes, they were supposed to tell us six months in advance, and they’re sorry they didn’t do that.”

I find this especially troubling considering the expensive recent improvements at Haar’s. The drive-in bought a digital projector in 2013, a new screen in 2016, and Hardy told ABC27 that they had spent thousands more this year.

I’ve got a warm spot in my heart for the Dillsburg drive-in where I concluded my virtual Drive-In-A-Day Odyssey a couple of years ago. It’s a great example of a family-owned drive-in, the kind that won’t close just because their land has become valuable. But if they don’t own that land, well, let’s just hope that Haar’s can find a way to stay in business for many years to come.

Video: How The 66 Looks At Night

Since I posted a video of a dead drive-in a few days ago, you deserve to see a gorgeous living drive-in video. This one was posted by KSNF (Joplin MO’s News Leader) on YouTube earlier this year when Avengers: Endgame sold out the 66 Drive-In Theatre in Carthage earlier in the evening.

The 66 is a beautiful drive-in by day, with manicured grass in its front yard framing its retro sign along old Route 66. It was the perfect choice for the cover photo of my new book, Drive-Ins of Route 66. I’m sad to say that when I took that picture, my schedule didn’t permit me to stay for the show that night, and this video gives me a glimpse of what I missed. The glowing sign was not a surprise, but I hadn’t noticed the clever Sold Out sign, and that ticket booth looks amazing.

Another regret is how little room I gave it in my book; I expect to expand its entry in my next edition. As I wrote, the 66 opened on the west side of Carthage on Sept. 22, 1949, about a month after the Sunset opened on the east side of town. The Sunset closed in the early 1970s, but the 66 persists despite a 12-year hiccup. As I wrote:

“Here is your icon of drive-in theaters, Route 66, and more. William Bradfield opened the 66 and ran it for over a decade before selling to the Dickinson chain, which closed it in 1985. Mark and Dixie Goodman bought the place and turned it into an auto parts junkyard. In 1997, they added projection equipment and reopened the drive-in. Twenty years later, the Goodmans sold the 66 to its former security guard Nathan McDonald and his family. Today the drive-in’s grounds and buildings look as nice as brand new, but with a healthy retro flavor.”

Despite a fair amount of digging and some help from Carthage historians, I still haven’t found any real photos of the Sunset. That’s not a problem for the 66. Every picture from this year looks as good as all of its many past photos, and now I know that some of its videos are better yet.

Video: What’s Left Of Springfield’s Holiday

If you’ve been waiting for more drive-in videos taken by drone, here you go. Unlike most of those that I’ve posted on Carload, this one, posted to YouTube last year, is of a dead drive-in, the Holiday of Springfield MO. (And don’t adjust your speakers, this video is silent.)

As I wrote in my new book Drive-Ins of Route 66, the Holiday opened late, on August 13, 1970. Commonwealth Theatres planned for the Holiday to have two screens, one for 490 cars and the second for 509. That didn’t happen, possibly for reasons related to construction delays. The Holiday closed in 1981, then was revived briefly by another operator during 1994-96.

Now over 20 years later, you can see that the sign and fields are still pretty well preserved. That section closest to the road is just begging to be converted to a second viewing field, and the original ramps are still visible in the grass. Since the decades have suggested that there’s no better, more urgent use for the site, wouldn’t it be nice if someone used it to bring drive-in entertainment back to the good people of Springfield?