Lima Drive-In

W. Breese Road & S. Dixie Highway,
Lima, OH 45801

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Lima Drive-In

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The Lima Drive-In was the first drive-in theatre to open in Lima, Ohio. It opened on May 1, 1942, featuring the 1941 comedy “Great Guns” with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. It had a 300 car capacity with a 33 ft. x 21 ft. screen tower. The first sound system was blast speakers mounted on the screen tower and speakers located around the parking ramp. The first concession stand at the drive-in was set up with service windows on both sides to service the theatre and the passers-by on South Dixie Highway. The drive-in was opened by Horace and Eunice Shock. Shock would later open the Sharon Drive-In and Gloria Drive-In theatres in Lima also. Shock also had interests in other drive-in theatres in Marion and Van Wert, Ohio and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Co-Operative Theatres of Ohio was the booking and buying agency for all of Shock theatres.

In August of 1942, a lawsuit was filed by the residents living around the drive-in. They claimed that the noise of the motion picture sound equipment was a nuisance to them, disturbed their rest and enjoyment of their homes. Shock made and installed his own in-a-car speakers, so the lawsuit was dropped, but the speakers still did not work very well. In 1948 Shock and Thomas Campbell, a former RCA engineer, developed a new in-a-car speaker and started the Lima Speaker Inc., to manufacture the speakers. The new speakers were installed at the Lima Drive-In for the beginning of the 1948 movie season. Shock wanted to devote more time to his real estate business, developing shopping centers and residential housing. In November of 1954, Shock signed a ten year lease for the operation of the Lima, Sharon and Gloria Drive-Ins to Sam and Nate Schultz’s Selected Theatres Inc. from Cleveland, Ohio.

Selected Theatres operated the Lima Drive-In until it closed. Horace Shock passed away on May 2, 1975. Eunice Shock continued operating Shock Enterprises. With the changes in people, culture and the times, the Lima Drive-In was closed and the Gloria Drive-In and Sharon Drive-In remained open. The Lima Drive-In Theatre was the first to open 1942 and the first to close in 1977. The drive-in was demolished and to this day the property is still pretty much undeveloped and for sale. You can still see where the foundation for the concession stand, the foundation for the screen tower and it still has the pole for the moonbeams in the back of the lot. A section in the back of the lot was sold for a doctor’s office, along with their own drive-in theatre moonbeam light pole.

Contributed by Randy Studer
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