3403 Cleveland Road West,
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The Sandusky Drive-In opened on May 26, 1948, screening the musical comedy “Copacabana” with Groucho Marx and Carmen Miranda. The second feature was the 1946 documentary short subject “Down Singapore Way”. It was operated by Earl Seitz, William C. Seitz and Alden Seitz of Seitz Amusements, were was also operating the indoor Sandusky Theatre, State Theatre and Plaza Theatre. George M. Peterson, a Cleveland architect who had been designing drive-in’s for the past 15 years, prepared and designed the new drive-in. Co-Operative Theatres of Ohio from Cleveland, OH, was the buying and booking agency along with Berlo Vending Company from Cleveland, who operated the concession stand.
The thirteen parking ramps could park 625 cars with RCA in-a-car speakers. There were five RCA speakers installed for the 220-seat walk-in space in front of the first parking ramp for cars. Selby (now Products) Engineering Co. from Cleveland, OH erected a 60ft x 58ft tower with a 39ft x 52ft screen mounted on it. Later wings were added to the screen tower for screening CinemaScope movies in the mid-1950’s. In the late-1950’s and into the 1960’s the First Presbyterian Church sponsored drive-in church services. Going into the late-1960’s and 1970’s the drive-in received a lot of letters to the editor of the local newspaper complaining about the movies they were showing. Their reply was “family pictures aren’t made very often anymore. You have to screen what movies are being released”. The Seitz family closed the Sandusky Drive-In at the end of the season in 2001.
In 2002, projectionist Tim Bretz along with Steve Megyesi, who spent the last 27 years as projectionist at the drive-in was quoted in saying “The theatre wasn’t kept up right. The theatre needed to be repainted and cleaned. The snack bar was removed about 10 years ago. David Seitz wasn’t investing in or making any money on the theatre”. How can you run a drive-in without a snack bar? My thinking is they used the drive-in as a tax write-off. On October 28, 2007, the drive-in property was sold to the City of Sandusky for $456,000. The property will be part of a new Sports Force Parks. Philip Seitz who was now executive director of Seitz Amusements decided to dissolve the company. On December 31, 2007, Seitz Amusement was dissolved and no longer in business. That became the end of the Sandusky Drive-In and Seitz Amusements.
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