5702 Monroe Street,
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The Star-Lite Drive-In opened on May 19, 1955 featuring Tyrone Power, Susan Hayward, Richard Egan & Rita Moreno in “Untamed”. The second feature of the evening was Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall & The Bowery Boys in “High Society”. The 20-acre drive-in was built at a cost of $200,000 and opened with a single CinemaScope screen. The theatre was owned by Ray Searles. At the time Mr. Searles also owned the Parkside (aka Sundance Kid) Drive-In and the Telegraph Drive-In, and he also operated the Princess Theatre in Toledo. All four theatres were part of the Jack Armstrong Circuit. They also hosted the Lutheran Men’s League Drive-In Church services in the late-1950’s and 1960’s.
After his death in 1960, Ray Searles sons, Dan & Edward, took ownership of the theatres and other family businesses, which included a greenhouse and a chain of coin-op laundry and dry cleaning stores. The Star-lite Drive-In was the last drive-in to be built (1955) in the Toldeo area and the first one to close (1969). Since the value of the property was going up and the urban sprawl closing in between the cities of Toledo and Sylvania, Edward decided to close it down and redevelop the site. On September 16, 1969, the last movies to be played at the Star-Lite Drive-In were “2001- A Space Odyssey” and “First Men In the Moon”. The Star-Lite Drive-In was demolished on October 1, 1969. Edward Searles then developed the Star-Lite Plaza Shopping Center on the site of the old drive-in.
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