Sky-Vu Drive-In

813 E. Market Street,
Gratz, PA 17048

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Sky-Vu Drive-In

The Sky-Vu Drive-In was a single screen drive-in with a capacity for 200 cars. It operated from May to September and showed double features. It was closed by Carmike Cinemas in summer of 2014, unable to convert to digital projection. It is due to re-open in spring of 2016.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

teecee on July 1, 2005 at 4:34 am

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Don’t forget your photo ID for R rated admission!

jwmovies on November 28, 2012 at 1:47 am

Address for this drive-in is 813 East Market Street, Gratz, PA 17048.

muviebuf on July 11, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Mark this one closed.

Did not want to make the switch to digital.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on July 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Maybe somebody else might take it over.

Chris1982 on October 3, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Carmike Closed this drive-in when they took over Digiplex. They weren’t interested in the drive-in.

KenLayton on October 4, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Carmike will probably put a proviso in the sale agreement to never allow this to be a theater again.

Gatorgirl62 on August 11, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Too bad this drive in is closed. I loved that it was small & concession stand was inexpensive. The location is a plus even though I had to drive 1 hour. It was well worth it. It’s a great place to watch a movie. I’d go see reruns not in digital just to enjoy the experience again. I hope someone will save it.

Numb4mom on November 24, 2015 at 7:37 am

They will be reopening spring 2016

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on March 18, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Update from FB..

Thank you for sharing the page and helping spread the word that the drive in will opening soon. Next week the digital projector arrives and Pepsi will be there to do the install. Today Ruth Hafer did some painting. We’re getting things ready. We had the first step completed for the screen repair and we had stone brought in for the road into the drive in. Almost time for movies under the stars again. Tim and Renate Neal

NeonMichael on December 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Norman Gasbarro’s Lykens Valley blog has a great history of the Sky-Vu. “In 1949, the land on which the theatre now stands, was sold by Allen Lincoln Shade and Etta May [Hartman] Shade to Eston C. Artz and Stanford E. Carl. Eston and Stanford established a partnership to create the Sky-Vu Drive-In Theatre in 1950.”

The first newspaper reference I could find was an ad in the Elizabethville Echo of July 13, 1950. It doesn’t quite say so, but it appears to be a grand opening ad: “SKY VU Drive-In Theatre welcomes you to one of America’s most unique outside theatres.” The ad described the Sky Vu’s benefits in copy that wasn’t repeated in the weekly ads that followed. (I’ve uploaded the ad to the Photos section here.)

The 1949-50 Theatre Catalog lists “Drive In” in Gratz, capacity 550, Exec: Artz and Carl (UNC). Did that mean under construction? By the 1952 edition, the listing had evolved to the Sky Vu, capacity 232, Exec: Eston, Artz and Carl, Spring Glen.

The 1951-52 International Motion Picture Almanac listed the “Skyview”, capacity 230, owned by G. Wolfe, which is how it stayed through at least 1959. For the 1961-66 editions, only the owner changed, to E. Hotz.

When ownership information resumed after a decade off, the 1978 edition listed Trautman, capacity 200. Except for a minor update to M. Trautman, that’s how it stayed through the final IMPA list in 1988.

The Lykens Valley blog fills in part of this period. Around 1969, Marvin Troutman, son of Marvin and Ada Troutman, bought the Sky-Vu and the nearby Halifax Drive-In. “Shortly afterward, he and his wife formed Martro Theatres, Inc.” And they began running X-rated movies at both drive-ins.

The United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association wrote that the Sky-Vu reopened in 1994. Which means it must have been closed for a while before that.

Reports say the Sky Vu closed (again) in 2014. When Tim and Renate Neal leased and reopened it in 2016, Marvin Troutman still owned the place.

The May 8, 1954 Billboard magazine said the Roy Sullender’s National Screen Service Corporation was handling the buying and booking for the Sky-Vu. In Feb. 5, 1955, it said that Tri-States Buying and Booking Service was handling the drive-in.

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