Massapequa Drive-In

5462 Sunrise Highway,
Massapequa, NY 11758

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Massapequa Drive-In

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The Massapequa Drive-In was located on Sunrise Highway, just east of Unqua Road, in Massapequa, on Long Island. First owned by Prudential, later United Artists, then, (I believe) Century. From the early-1960’s through the late-1970’s, they always had a double feature, except for “Exodus” and “El Cid”.

The drive-in was located adjacent to the Frank “Bring ‘Em Back Alive” Buck Massapequa Zoo and Kiddie Park. As a matter of fact, the monkey mountain was next to the ticket booth. While waiting in your car, you could watch the monkeys. The Massapequa Drive-in had a simple concession stand and playground. The had pin wheels and fireworks on the 3rd of July, each year.

In 1964, the large wooden marquee burned down. It was replaced with a smaller, modern green and white plastic one with flashing balloons on top. It’s now the site of Sears and other stores. It’s big co-owned brother, the Johnny All-Weather, was just a few miles down the road.

Contributed by Don Rosen

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

fibber2 on June 1, 2008 at 10:20 pm

Sorry guys, I haven’t dropped by here in a while!

I lived adjacent to the ‘Sunrise Mall’ site on Northgate Rd., having moved there in the summer of 1964. The 74 acres, which included the sand pit was property owned by the NY Water Board, IIRC, and supplied parts of Massapequa (Carmen Rd to Park Lane). The land was sold to the mall developers, and construction began in 1972. I was part of the first wave of teen hiring late in the summer of 1973. There are two or three pump stations in the mall parking lot, along with recharge basins (“sumps”) surrounding it. This site is North of the LIRR & Sunrise HW.

Now back to the South side of Sunrise: I started at Berner HS in Sept 1971, graduated in June 1975. There was a small foot bridge over the Carmen Creek (?) from the school land over to the back of the Whites property. I never walked the long way along Carmen Mill Rd – always cut around the Park-&-Shop bldg, around the old zoo, and the construction zone of the new Whites building (site of the Drive-in). So I still disagree with Don slightly on the timeline, but now we are only down to a 1 year or so discrepancy.

Just to get back on track on the topic of drive-in’s, I live in Dutchess County, NY. We still have two viable theatres, and I took my kids to see Prince Caspian and College Road Trip at the Overlook last weekend!

DonRosen on June 4, 2008 at 8:35 am

Howdy fellow Massapequan! I lived at 45 Westgate Road. At onetime there were 5 movie venues in Massapequa…the Bar Harbour Theatre, the Pequa Theatre, the Massapequa Drive-In, the North Massapequa Theatre, and the Sunrise Mall Theatres. Now…there are none. The nearby Amity Theatre, Big “A” Amityville Theatre and Johnny All-Weather Drive-in…all gone, as well.

fibber2 on June 16, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Hi Don,

Steve H. here. Yep, sounds like we were practically neighbors! 45 would have been up between Merle and McLeod? We were #25 – last house on the dead end. Remember biking thru the ‘pit’? Tons of old wrecked cars to play with! What were our parents thinking when they let us loose like that? Ah, different times.

OK, to keep this drive-in related, we took our kids to the Roosevelt Drive-in on Friday night for Kung-Fu Panda and Indiana Jones. We are striving to keep the remaining ones in our area open!

DonRosen on June 17, 2008 at 7:55 am

Ah, the pit…yes, I remember the junked cars and riding my bike off the steep slopes…later became the Sunrise Mall home of the worst theatres I’ve ever been in, the UA Movies. Black shoe boxes with tiny screens. I saw a few movies there in the mid 70s.

fibber2 on June 17, 2008 at 11:30 pm

As a teen, I worked in Lobel’s (children’s clothing store just down the hall from the theatres). Most memorable films seen there: Monty Python & the Holy Grail, and Young Frankenstein.

LouiseSewall on January 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

To Bloop, there are some photos in the Sunrise Mall now that show the area. One is an overhead shot showing the drive in, Uncle Buck’s etc. They are hanging on the wall by the escalators on the south side. The second floor display has the photos that I am talking about, but there are also old Massapequa photos on the first floor. Don’t know how long these photos will be displayed

Bloop on March 7, 2011 at 12:32 am

UPDATE ! I found filmed footage evidence of this drive in! The 1968 exploitation movie “Teenage Mother” was filmed here on Long Island by Jerry Gross (he’s the man that brought us movies like “I Drink Your Blood/ I Eat Your Skin”!). Anyway, Teenage Mother has a shot of the marquee (I think “…..apequa” can only be seen) as well as a short action scene takes place at the drive in at night. You can see off in the distance some twinkling lights that would possible be the scape of Sunrise Highway. Something Weird Video sells this for about $10.00 OR look for it on YouTube. Another scene has the star teenaged mother going home to her parent’s house—and the outside looks like a typical south shore Long Island home too!

gd14lawn on July 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm

This article in Box Office shows why this drive-in land was sold. $1,000,000.

robboehm on July 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm

A case of worth more dead than alive. It was not a particularly impressive drive in.

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