The Star View Drive-In opened on October 1, 1949, featuring the 1948 western “Corner Creek” with Randolph Scott, Marguerite Chapman and George Macready. It was opened by Jerry Steele and Lou Ratener with Ernest Plitz as the theatre manager. In September of 1956, Steele bought out Ratener’s interest in the drive-in theatre. The drive-in has a capacity of 520 cars with in-a-car speakers. In the early-1950’s, one way to get moviegoers to patronise the drive-in during the fall months was to give them a coupon for one gallon of gas at the nearby gas station.
The only condition to receive the coupon was that the temperature had to be less than 40 degrees. On May 17, 1953, the wooden screen tower burst into flames while patrons were sitting in their cars watching the show. The people were given ‘fire checks’ for another show. The damage was estimated at $18,000. The wooden screen tower was rebuilt.
In 1957, Jerry’s son, Bill Steele took over the ownership and the operation of the Star View Drive-In. Bill also owns the Apollo Theatre in Oberlin, OH. In 2003, Bill commented about the unusual things that have happened at the Star View Drive-In over the years. “One time we didn’t get the print of the movie that was supposed to be playing that night. We were lucky that it was playing at the Apollo Theatre, Oberlin also.
The Highway Patrol helped us get the movie to the drive-in. After the first reel was over at the Apollo Theatre, they helped us by getting the prints to the drive-in”. In early-1972 the wooden screen blew down and a new steel screen tower was erected which stands to this day. In August of 2007, Bill sold the Star View Drive-In property and equipment to long time employees Steve Witter and Jan Doughty. The Star View Drive-In has been upgraded to digital projection and is still screening movies under the stars.
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