. . . Welcome! . . . feel free to make comments and browse . . .

Friday, August 06, 2010

Skyway Drive-in Theater ~

In the 1950s this was a hit, especially for teen-agers.
Read reminiscences of Bob Osborn BHS '58.
Photo: American Classic Images

Back in the 1950's Butler Co. had six Drive-in Theaters, Chicora Drive-in (Rt 268), Geibel's Drive-in (Rt 68 East), Hill Top Drive-in (Rt 68 East), Skyway Drive-in (Rt 68 West), Sunset View Drive-in (Freeport Hill) and the Pioneer Drive-in (Rt 8 North).

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can remember as a child going to Skyway in my pajamas and being on the swings before the movies started. What great memories! Thanks for reminding me of this happy time.

Anonymous said...

I think the Pioneer Drive-in on Rt.8 North is the last one. It has 5 or 6 screens.

Anonymous said...

Bob Orsborn and I hold the pizza making record for the drive in. We made and sold 167 pizzas one hot summer evening. No one will ever break it. We were experts at burning a pizza just enough that it couldnt be sold but not bad enough that we couldnt eat it ourselves. We didnt get rich working there but we did have fun. I have a piece of the screen tacked up in my garage that I saved when it was knocked down. ghsnyder

Anonymous said...

So it is no longer there? What happened? I have not been back home in over 25 years. The memories I have of that place! The Pioneer is still operating?

Anonymous said...

The property was more valuable than the revenue the drive in produced. Pioneer is still in business. The night it opened our boss sent one of us there to buy a ticket and then sent us back a few days later to buy another ticked and check the numbers to see how many admissions they were getting. ghsnyder

Bob Orsborn said...

Yes indeed the property was valuable, the Stirling Village complex which replaced the Skyway Drive In Theater was just sold to Lifesteps for $2 million. Back in the 1950's Butler Co. had six Drive-In Theaters, Chicora Drive In (Rt 268), Giebel Drive In (Rt 68 East), Hill Top Drive In (Rt 68 East), Skyway Drive In (Rt68 West), Sunset View Drive In (Freeport Hill) and the Pioneer Drive In (Rt 8 North). The Hill Top is closed but the screen is still there. The Pioneer is still operating with one large screen and 4 smaller ones.

Anonymous said...

I really apologize for being so pedantic, but it was Geibel's Drive In (not Giebel). When the Geibel's emigrated from Germany in the mid 1800's, many settled in Butler County.

Anonymous said...

no your sorry for being a PITA.... pain in the ass!!!!!!!!! who gives a shit

Anonymous said...

you're

Pat said...

I remember the Skyway so well - my grandparents lived kitty cornered from there and we used to either watch movies (no sound!) from their front window or we would walk up and sit in the last row of the drivein.

Anonymous said...

before individual speakers were installed they used giant speakers mounted on the base of the screen. You could park on Eberhart Road and watch and hear the movie. On some nights the sound could be heard a couple of miles away. ghsnyder

Bob Orsborn said...

From the Cinema Treasures and Butler Eagle. W.J."Bill" Giebel owner of the Skyway Drive-In Theater also owned the Tusca Drive-In Theater, located in Brighton Twp. Beaver Co. just west of the intersection of Tuscarawas Road & Dutch Ridge Road. It opened Sep 27, 1950 had 500 car capacity and last operated on Sep 1, 1991. Beaver Meadows assisted living facility now occupies the former drive-in. Bill passed away two months after the closing of the Tusca. His brother James Giebel started the Giebel Drive-In (Rt68 East) as a cloth strung between two poles and a portable projector after WWII.

Anonymous said...

I remember when I was about 5 years old, "Batman" was going to make an appearance at the Skyway.
My parents took my sister and me out there. I remember they lowered
him from a helicopter right into the crowd of kids and he handed out lollipops. It was pretty exciting for us, although I noticed that he didn't look anything like Adam West. That part was a little disappointing!

Anonymous said...

When I was 12, my buddy and I snuck through the back field to the Pioneer Drive-In where we saw our first porno flick. Aghast, I said, "What's he doing to her?!" My friend informed me that's how it's done. Of course I had to agree knowingly. LOL

smcafee06 said...

The Pioneer-Drive In just finished its 51 season this summer. I've worked there the past 3 summers.

Anonymous said...

Hill Top Drive In ran XXX movies in the late 60, early 70s. When I was 17, on Friday nights, dad often lent me his big Chevy with giant couch seats, so I picked up my 15-year-old girlfriend and spent evenings having monkey sex in the back seat, and front seat. No one ever asked for an ID, or cared that the car springs worked out vigorously through every movie. Ah, fond Butler memories!

John Pichler said...

I grew up in Lyndora, My Mom and Dad would take my brother and I onto N. Eberhart Rd by Sterlings you could see the movies but not hear the sound that was in the 1950's and early 1960's! Many years later about 1976 my Dad owned a checker cab that he had painted red with a black roof, Mr Giebel owned the cab company and we went out to the former drive in on Rt 68(Key Septic) to get parts. The Skyway was also great flea market for many a year. My cousin Frank Pichler worked there in his youth.

Karen said...

Don Pheifer, Freeport, 1973...you old dog! Drive Inn's .... boys and girls....WATCH OUT, momma! lol

Anonymous said...

Two movies I remember going to see were (1) Cleopatra in 1963. I was 8 years old and made it all the way to the intermission. As Cleopatra's boat whisked her back to Egypt at the intermission, mom made me lie down on the back seat. I went right out. Had to wait several years until I could watch the second half on TV. (2) Bonnie & Clyde in 1967. This was the only time my younger brother and I went to the drive in with my older brother and cousin. They both seemed to like Faye Dunaway!

greggeibel said...

My grandparents owned Skyway. On flea market Sundays, I was the 10 year old in the snack bar pouring drinks and making popcorn (eating most of it). My 14 year old sister ran the register and my brother manned the front making sure nobody snuck in the exit. Grandma was tough: It was $1.00 whether you were looking, buying, or selling. To his final days, my grandfather thought that people would get sick of their VCRs and come back to the drive in. I have the snack-bar menu hanging in my kitchen and many speaker posts in my garage. What an icon it was. If you want, do a google search for "Skyway Drive In" by Butler singer/songwriter Shane Alexander. Enjoy.

Judy Anderson said...

Referring to Skyway Drive-in. I have written twice on the blog but never see it. Old-must be doing something wrong. I am the youngest daughter of Mr. & Mrs. William J. Geibel - owners of Skyway in Butler and Tusca in Beaver, PA. I am not a native of Butler but spent most of my time there even going to Junior High and High School for a time. Great memories of the theaters and people. I remember the Osborn's well.
I am the first licensed lady projectionist in the State of Pennsylvania. I could tell stories!!
Judy Anderson
E-mail artanderson50@yahoo.com