Becky's Drive-In

4548 Lehigh Drive,
Walnutport, PA 18088

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NeonMichael
NeonMichael on December 26, 2017 at 2:32 pm

The Allentown Morning Call wrote in October 1982 that neighbors weren’t bothered that Becky’s was showing X-rated movies. William Beck’s son Dennis had purchased the drive-in “at the beginning of the year.”

That article also said that in 1939, Beck “opened his own drive-in in Berlinsville and charged an admission of 25 cents per car. … In 1945, Becky expanded again on another site, and two years later he installed in-car speakers.”

In an undated article at the Lehigh Valley Marketplace, it said that Beck “opened the Route 45 Drive-in on leased property; in 1946, he bought the land where his namesake theater now stands.” Which explains why he moved a block away.

The Blue Mountain Town & Country Gazette wrote in July 2014 that when the Route 45 opened, it had two loudspeakers for the whole viewing field. “Around 1981, he put in the radio transmitters in AM, so people couldn’t steal or damage the speakers,” said Beck’s son Darrell. “Then it went to FM and it’s done that way still today.” It also said the drive-in changed its name when the highway number changed in 1971.

Around 1971, Beck switched to adult movies “for survival” according to later generations. “People would snicker, but we had to do that or there would be a store here now,” co-owner Cindy Beck Deppe told The Morning Call in September 1997. William Beck died in 1987, and the following year his widow and children switched back to family films.

The Morning Call declined to advertise X-rated movies, which makes it difficult to determine exactly when the drive-in changed its name. A Sept. 1972 article about a traffic accident still called it the Route 45. A slate of kid-friendly movies was advertised for Becky’s on Memorial Day Weekend 1975.

NeonMichael
NeonMichael on December 26, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Billboard magazine was late in noticing the drive-in, writing in a July 17, 1948 roundup, “Others recently opened are … the Route 45 Drive-In at Berlinsville, under Beck operation”.

In the May 19, 1951 issue, the Philadelphia-based Allied Motion Picture Theater Service announced it had added the Route 45 (among others) as a booking client. In the April 19, 1952 issue, Route 45 owner William D. Beck announced he was doing his own booking. Then on April 23, 1955, another Philadelphia company, Tri-State Buying & Booking Service, started “handling” the Route 45.

In its 1951-54 editions, the International Motion Picture Almanac listed both the Route 45, capacity 300, in “Walnut Port” and the “Berlinsville Drive-In”, capacity 600, in Berlinsville, both owned by Wm. Beck. For the 1955-59 editions, the IMPA didn’t list the Route 45 but still had the Berlinsville.

Both fell off the IMPA list in 1961-66. (Both drive-ins were listed in the 1950 Film Daily Year Book of Motion Pictures, but neither were there in the 1964 edition.) The Route 45 was back in 1969-76, then fell off again for good by 1978. It appears that the IMPA never listed it as Becky’s.

Becky’s official history page has a photo captioned “The very first site of the drive-in, which is a block away from its present location. It is now a baseball field.” It also says the drive-in moved by “circa 1948”. A 1951 photo at Historic Aerials shows the drive-in in its present location and a faint baseball diamond a block away where the field would later appear. On the other hand, I can’t find any evidence of a second drive-in near Berlinsville.

The history page also says the state changed the highway number “around 1971”, implying that’s when the drive-in’s name changed. Wikipedia says the change came in May 1966. And Becky’s added a second screen in 2005 and swapped it for a permanent second screen in 2007.

A commenter on Retro Roadmap wrote that the drive-in showed X-rated movies in the 1970s and early 80s. Still “even though it was an adult theater it had the number one rated snackbar”.

rivest266
rivest266 on April 23, 2017 at 1:46 pm

This opened as Route 45 Drive-In on June 26th, 1946. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

Chris1982
Chris1982 on October 6, 2014 at 1:15 am

Screen 1 holds 450 cars and is 80' x 50' in size. Screen 2 holds 250 cars and is 66' x 33' in size. Each row is well trimmed with grass to help you relax and enjoy the double feature. Total of 700 cars.

countup
countup on September 9, 2012 at 11:53 am

like something out of the 50’s and 60’s.

Metropolite
Metropolite on September 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm

September 2, 2011 story from Times News of Lehighton on Becky’s 65th Anniversary.

http://www.tnonline.com/2011/sep/02/beckys-drive-celebrates-65-years

mark edmunds
mark edmunds on June 8, 2009 at 11:40 am

A great week end was had by all on Sat. as Beckys celebrated the 76th anniv. of Mr. Hollingshead great invention of the Drive-In!!
Close to a sell out at both screens, a wonderful evening with
Great food (as attested by the 70+ folks in line at both snack bars!)a DJ spinning good tunes, pony rides and attractions for the kids and fire works betweens movies. This is why we must support these dying icons of our country! I make this 70 mile trip from NJ frequently during the summer on my drive-in road trips (5 in Pa.!!)
This is a definite stop for any theatre/DI fan.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on September 6, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Also known as Route 45 Drive-In.

Was mentioned in the documentary “Drive-In Movie Memories” in 2001.

Crazy Bob Madara
Crazy Bob Madara on October 14, 2006 at 6:24 am

The second screen was added in 2005. It consists of 3 stacked shipping containers with a wood face. A seperate “pole barn” booth is used with a platter system. Beautiful, bright, picture. I heard that a permenent screen may be in the works.

teecee
teecee on May 9, 2006 at 2:59 pm

Their homepage now lists two screens. Anyone know when this happened? The history tab doesn’t offer any information. Last time that I was there in 2004 it only had one screen.

teecee
teecee on March 7, 2005 at 2:08 pm

I know that there have been multiple NJ/PA postings recently for closed drive-ins. Just a reminder that this place is still OPEN and is a comfortable drive (2 hrs max) from most of the central NJ/greater Phila region. They frequently show double features. It is also very close to the beautiful Northampton Roxy if you want to make it a classic theater day.