Sidney Drive-In

CR 25A and Sharp Road,
Sidney, OH 45365

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Sidney Drive-In

One of the obscure and short lived drive-in theatres in Ohio was the Sidney Drive-In. This is not to be confused with the Sidney Auto-Vue Drive-In which opened in 1956 and is still open. The Sidney Drive-In opened on May 14, 1949 with a soft opening. They screened Penny Singleton in “Blondie in the Dough” and The Hoosier Hotshots in “Son of Idaho.” The grand opening was on May 25, 1949 with the showing of the 1948 western “Coroner Creek” with Randolph Scott, Marguerite Chapman and George Macready. The new drive-in was opened by I. J. Klass and Joseph J. Lee (dba Klee Theatre Enterprises Inc.) from Dayton, Ohio. The managers for the new airer will be Howard Gall with V. Schwartz and H. L. Lane coming later. It was built on farm land leased from Lester E. Finkenbine. Initially it was a four year lease with options for year to year leases later. In early-May of 1949 before the new drive-in opened, Piqua-Sidney local 155, IATSE (International Alliance and Theatrical Stage Employees) picketed the new drive-in.

Klee Enterprises Inc. had informed the union of its intention to employ a non-union projectionist at the drive-in. So apparently the problem got solved and the drive-in was opened. The Sidney Drive-In had a 350 car capacity with RCA in-a-car speakers. It also featured a dance floor under the screen tower for dancing prior to show time. Tri-State Booking Service from Cincinnati, Ohio was the buyer and booking agency. On April 21, 1950, Klee Theatre Enterprises Inc. bought the Sunset Cruise-In in St. Marys and renamed it to the Midway Drive-In. A new CinemaScope screen was installed in 1957 at the Sidney Drive-In. For some unknown reason, Klee Theatre Enterprises Inc. sold the Midway Drive-In, in June of 1959.

The Sidney Drive-In was closed at the end of season in 1959 and it was never reopened. Since the Sidney Drive-In was on leased land it was demolished and the property was returned back to farm land. That was the end of Klee Theatre Enterprises Inc.

Contributed by Randy Studer, Leroy Beard
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