Star View Drive-In

2083 U.S. 20,
Norwalk, OH 44857

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Star View Drive-In

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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.

Contributed by Lost Memory, Randy Studer

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Here is a more recent view of the marquee:
http://tinyurl.com/ybzlt6b

jwmovies
jwmovies on December 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Above address does not map properly. Use U.S. 20 & Halfway Rd in Ridgefield, OH 44857

NeonMichael
NeonMichael on August 10, 2017 at 4:26 pm

“Gusting winds toppled the screen at Starview Drive-In Theater” on December 15, 1971 according to the Norwalk Reflector’s story the next day. I’d guess that’s the off-season disaster date and not early 1972.

Rick Myers Jr., 17, Monroeville, said he was replacing fencing along the west side of the theater when he heard the screen “creaking.”

“I looked up and saw the tower (screen) shaking and I thought the wind wall (fence) was going to be blown over,” he said.

As the screen started to fall, “I ran as fast as I could.” Myers, a theater employee since March, was securing the theater for the winter off-season at the time.

NeonMichael
NeonMichael on August 10, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Nov. 5, 1949: The Star View’s ad promised free gas “when below 50” and free comic books!

Sandusky Register Star News, March 19, 1952: Ernest Plitz returns as manager after being recalled for 18 months on Naval service.

Sandusky Register Star News, Sept. 10, 1955: Gordon Evans succeeds Plitz as manager. Plitz left to manage a drive-in chain in Florida.

davidcoppock
davidcoppock on August 10, 2017 at 7:48 pm

Is it known how the fire started?

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