Stony Brook Drive-In Theatre; and the answer is Spaceballs
I made a comment in my post on Monday that the new fire station in Springettsbury Township is nearly in the “ghost shadow” of the former Stony Brook Drive-In Theatre’s massive outdoor movie-screen. I’ll discuss that topic, in greater detail, on Friday.
Related posts include:
- Neat Photos of a Drive-In Easter Sunrise Service at Stony Brook
- Springettsbury Fire Stations nearing completion; Then & Now
- Lilian Roye international horsewoman in Springettsbury
- Bri-Mar track just off Lincoln Highway
In this post I’ll reminisce about the Stony Brook Drive-In Theatre and provide answers to several questions.
The Stony Brook Drive-In Theatre opened in October of 1949. I remember the Stony Brook Drive-In as one of my earliest memories. The Disneyland black & white TV show in the mid-50s ran a miniseries based on Davy Crockett. The episodes were later edited together and released theatrically in 1956. This release was the first movie I ever remember seeing on the big screen. I saw it at the Stony Brook Drive-in. Even though I had seen the miniseries on the small black & white TV at home, the excitement of seeing the same thing in color on a big screen was something for a six-year old.
This 1956 aerial photo shows the area along East Market Street at Stony Brook about the time I saw my first Drive-In movie. I remember going to a Drive-In restaurant directly across the street before the movie. I was curious about the name of that Drive-In. One can consult City Directories, in the Library of the York County Heritage Trust, to research the establishments along that section of East Market Street.
The Drive-In seen in the 1956 aerial photo was Spurg’s Drive-In restaurant. Spurgeon Gingerich was the proprietor. By 1959, this was Benn’s Drive-In. I’ve annotated a few other establishments in the 1956 aerial photo for orientation purposes.
The Willis Hauser residence is now Marino’s Pizza. Kellers Mobile Home Sales is now Hoss’s Steak & Sea House. The Howard Johnston restaurant is now Stonybrook Family Restaurant. The Spheel Grund Motel and the Farm will be discussed in my post on Friday.
Cabinet-maker Willis Hauser purchased this residence that was built by his father Winfield Hauser. Willis Hauser presided over the Reunions of John and Sarah (Strickler) Hauser family, held regularly at the Kreutz Creek church grounds. Willis was definitely more outgoing than an older brother Kurwin; The Hermit of Springettsbury Township.
The aerial photo shows the relative locations of the Refreshments Pavilion, Projection Booth and Movie-Screen at the Stony Brook Drive-In Theatre. I distinctly remember asking why Mom did not want our family eating at the Drive-In Theatre. It seems that one of her sisters got sick when eating there. Although I remember that this restriction was lifted after only a few visits. The following menu is from 1955.
By 1972 I had just graduated from college; the Stony Brook Drive-In was still in occasional use. For many years I’ve wondered when the last movie was shown on the Drive-In screen? What was the last movie? I recently came across answers to these questions within an article in the June 23rd 1991 issue of the York Sunday News.
The last movie was shown at the Stony Brook Drive-In Theatre on September 6th 1987, the movie; Spaceballs. Spaceballs is a 1987 science fiction parody film co-written and directed by Mel Brooks; it is a parody of the original Star Wars film trilogy, but also contains references to Star Trek, Alien, and the Planet of the Apes films.
In 1972 the York Cinema Theatre was showing indoor movies in a building built in the entrance court to the Stony Brook Drive-In. This later became an AMC 4 Theatre. Also by 1972 at the rear of the York Mall there was a movie theater next to Montgomery Ward; it was called Trans-Lux. The Trans-Lux movie theater had huge screens when it opened; although eventually they were partitioned into additional smaller screens. These Springettsbury Township movie theaters eventually closed. Currently there are no movie theaters in the same general area.Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts