Sky View Drive-In

1200 Old Route 66 N,
Litchfield, IL 62056

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Sky View Drive-In, Litchfield, IL - 2013

The Litchfield Drive-In was opened in Spring 1950. In July 1950 it was renamed Sky View Drive-In and was operated by the Frisina Amusements Company. It could accomodate 400 cars. It was later operated by Mid-America Theatres. The current owners of the drive-in are Norman and Del Paul.

The Sky View Drive-In has the distinction of being the only drive-in theater still operating along the historic Route 66.

The Sky View Dirive-In’s season runs from approximately early April until the end of October, weather permitting. Until Memorial Day and after Labor Day, the theater is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only. Otherwise, the drive-in is open seven nights a week.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

bbrown1
bbrown1 on July 7, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Below is link to article (with a nice photo) about recent trip to the Sky View by St Louis Post Dispatch entertainment editor Joe Williams

View link

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on June 29, 2017 at 8:24 am

The 1949-50 Theatre Catalog lists the Litchfield Dr., run by Frisina Amuse. Ct., capacity 750. By the 1952 Catalog, it had changed to the Skyview, capacity 400.

In a Illinois Route 66 video, local historian(?) Walter “Chick” Bishop says the Skyview opened in June 1950. He sounds pretty sure about that.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on June 29, 2017 at 8:27 am

Since March 2016, the Skyview is now owned by two husband-and-wife teams — Nick and Mindy Pastrovich, plus Mike and Debbie Pastrovich. “We plan to run it as a drive-in indefinitely,” Mindy said. That’s the story in Route 66 News.

davidcoppock
davidcoppock on June 29, 2017 at 9:49 am

Whats the Pig Hip?

davidcoppock
davidcoppock on February 19, 2018 at 7:36 am

It is not the only operating drive-in in Illinois on Route 66, the 66 Drive-in in Springfield, Illinois has reopened.

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on February 21, 2018 at 4:27 pm

The 66 Drive-In in Springfield was demolished back in the ‘80’s. The Route 66 Drive-In in Springfield is the former Green Meadows Drive-In that was dormant for many years by Knights Action Park and reopened. It is not located on the former Route 66 as it goes through Springfield. The Sky View in Litchfield is the only active Drive-In on Route 66 through Illinois.

dansdriveintheater
dansdriveintheater on November 5, 2018 at 10:38 am

i know but it says that it is the only drive-in operating on the whole of route 66 not true. don’t forget about the route 66 drive-in in Missouri or the admiral twin drive-in

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on June 7, 2019 at 10:43 am

The May 20, 1950 issue of BoxOffice reported that the 750-car, $100,000 Litchfield Drive-In had been opened by Frisina Amusement Co. But the June 24, 1950 issue nailed down a date of June 22, matching Walter “Chick” Bishop’s story.

LITCHFIELD, ILL. – The 750-car Litchfield Drive-In of the Frisina Amusement Co. on Route 66 opened Thursday (22). Equipment for the drive-in was furnished by National Theatre Supply.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on June 7, 2019 at 4:20 pm

Many more details, including yet another opening date and the nigh-immediate renaming, in the July 1, 1950 issue of BoxOffice:

LITCHFIELD, ILL. – Russell Hogue, who came to Litchfield from St. Charles, Mo., to manage the Frisina Amusement Co. properties here, will manage the new Sky-View Drive-In, which is scheduled to open this week, as well as the Ritz and Capitol theatres. The big drive-in accommodates 507 cars, compared with 535 cars at Taylorville, 410 at Effingham and 400 at Robinson, Ill. The other drive-ins are operated by the Frisina company, which headquarters in Springfield, Ill.

…The Sky-View covers 16 acres and fronts on old Route 66 just north of the Ferndon street road. Simplex projectors were installed by the St. Louis branch of National Theatre Supply. The screen tower measures 55x65 feet, while the screen itself is 42x52 feet. Films will be projected from a building 265 feet from the screen. Two lighted pylons extending to the top of the screen tower carry the Sky-View in neon lights over large block cutout letters.

The snack bar is located in the same building as the projection booth but a four-foot breezeway separates the two rooms. The entire building is of concrete blocks faced in white cement. Interior color scheme is white, trimmed with green and yellow. All types of food and soft drinks will be sold.

The opening of the Sky-View has been delayed form week to week by inclement weather.

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on August 26, 2019 at 10:55 am

It appears that the Sky View’s original screen tower was destroyed (or fatally damaged) by a tornado on Aug. 10, 1974. The National Weather Service described it as follows: “Tornado first observed 2.5 miles S of Litchfield and moved NE approximately 2.75 miles. Observers described the funnel as 50-100 feet wide, 500-800 feet long, white to grayish white and debris apparently corn stalks. At 1:49 pm, the tornado touched down E of U.S. Highway 66 destroying a brick garage, a chicken house, uprooted a tree while passing through a cemetery, and blew lawn chairs and tree limbs into a house.”

That would account for the large screen tower’s presence in a 1973 aerial photo but its skinny replacement by 1993. The only odd thing about the description is that I’d think it would mention something big such as a 50-foot screen tower getting hurt that badly.

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