Video: Transit Drive-In sold

This sounds scary, but maybe it’ll work out. Longtime friend of this web site, Rick Cohen, announced this week that he’s selling the Transit Drive-In of Lockport NY to Dipson Theatres, which owns some of nearby Buffalo’s indoor theaters. As you can see in the video above, Cohan chose Dipson because it had the best chance of keeping the Transit operating because of their local presence.

Thanks to WGRZ, Buffalo’s News Leader, we know that the Transit is still doing well, but Cohen was just looking to retire and enjoy life. I hope that one of these months, after he’s got some great times out of his system, he sits down to write the Transit’s history, or maybe that of all New York drive-in theaters. He’s already shown that he can write – check out this poignant tale he contributed here a few years ago. Best wishes to Cohen and the Transit, soon to be two separate entities.

Rhode Island has a second drive-in

Photo from the Misquamicut Drive-In Facebook page

How the heck did I miss this one? The humble Misquamicut Drive-In, across Atlantic Avenue from Wuskenau Town Beach, has been entertaining Westerly RI motorists since July 7, 2011. That year, the Misquamicut Business Association tapped George Tattersall, of Tattersall Builders, to design and built a 16-by-25-foot screen for the theater. It started with AM radio sound, though it uses FM sound these days.

Viewers are charged by the carload, a very sensible idea, and the Misquamicut shows a mixture of classic and recent movies. The drive-in idea was an outgrowth of Misquamicut Classic Car Cruise Nights, which have been going on since 2001.

The drive-in, which holds about 100 cars on its flat lot, was a big hit from the start, and interest grew even stronger after the Covid pandemic started. Tickets for the Misquamicut are offered at its web site, and its opening night in 2020 sold out in less than two hours. It looks like the association has added more movie nights this year, a tribute to its popularity.

Although it’s not very traditional, without an old-school drive-in’s concentric ramps, I’m still embarrassed that I hadn’t noticed the Misquamicut before. I’m glad that’s fixed.

WV’s Sunset struggles to reopen

Continuing problems at the Sunset Drive-In in Shinnston WV have left owner John Ellis wondering whether he’ll be able to show movies again this season. That’s according to a series of reports by WBOY, Clarksburg’s News Leader.

It all started in February this year. After a solid 2021 season, the Sunset was hit by vandals, who trashed the projection room, stole computers, and cut wires. Ellis worked to repair his digital projector and was able to reopen for a weekend earlier this month. Then the projector stopped working, and now he’s looking for parts and a repair technician if he can find them.

In between, the venerable, adjacent Sunset Ellis Restaurant, owned by Anthony Ellis, closed its doors Sunday. The owner cited problems finding the ingredients he needed for his specialties, and in finding workers for the kitchen. Members of Ellis family have owned the complex since 1955, and opening the restaurant five years later.

For now, I’m marking the Sunset as closed, dropping it from the Carload active drive-in theater list. Here’s hoping I get to put it back soon.