Shankweiler's Drive-In

4540 Shankweiler Road,
Orefield, PA 18069

Unfavorite 10 people favorited this theater

Related Websites

Shankweiler's Drive-In (Official)

Additional Info

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 610.481.0800

Nearby Theaters

News About This Theater

Shankweiler's Drive-In

The historic Shankweiler’s Drive-In was the second drive-in to open in the United States when it was built in 1934, opening on April 15, 1934. Operated by Wilson Shankweiler it became the first drive-in to broadcast movie audio via FM broadcast stereo in 1986 and converted to digital cinema in 2014.

On November 4, 2022 it was announced that The Moving Picture Cinema, helmed by drive-in veteran Matthew McClanahan and partner Lauren McChesney had purchased Shankweiler’s Drive-In, becoming the fourth owners in its 88-year history. Former owners, Paul & Susan Geissinger, had purchased the property in 1984. McClanahan, 32, previously revived and ran the Mahoning Drive-In in Lehighton, PA from 2014 to 2020. He has owned and operated the Moving Picture Cinema, a full-service mobile cinema, since 2019. It is a Lehigh Valley based full-service mobile cinema, creating authentic and classic moviegoing experiences at unique venues across Eastern PA. Each package includes large format projection, screen, sound and crew, with emphasis on professional and consistent AV presentation. The Moving Picture Cinema has collaborated with an array of community organizations, including independent movie theatres, municipalities, and museums, as well as their own custom programming. “I grew up going to Shankweiler’s Drive-In to see movies with my family” says McClanahan. “It’s such an honor to be able to craft those memories for future generations while preserving a significant piece of American history”.

Shankweiler’s Drive-In will resume operations in November 2022 and continue with a limited schedule through the winter, with a Grand Reopening in Spring 2023.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

Denny Pine
Denny Pine on July 20, 2018 at 8:02 am

I heard that Paul and Sue were looking to sell. But God forbid this historic landmark be torn down

dansdriveintheater on February 25, 2021 at 8:49 am

yes DRIVEIN101 they are looking to sell and it is currently on the market god i will never visit being i live on the west coast but it would be a shame if america’s oldest drive-in were torn down

JRHagan on November 5, 2022 at 6:04 pm

good news folks !

davidcoppock on November 5, 2022 at 11:54 pm

Possibly the World’s oldest operating Drive-in theatre(but not the World’s oldest operating outdoor picture theatre though, that record is held by the Sun Picture Gardens in Broome, Western Australia, Australia which opened on 9th December 1916).

50sSNIPES on June 8, 2023 at 7:00 pm

The Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area would later open its second drive-in theater in 1940 called the 7th Street Drive-In in Whitehall six years after the Shankweiler’s opened its doors (which will have its Cinema Treasures page soon, and I made a huge mistake while finding history about the 7th Street Drive-In as I accidentally listed the 7th Street as the oldest in the area rather than it being the second-oldest because I totally forgot how close it was to Shankweiler’s, oops! My bad, but I hope someone can fix it).

kennerado on July 16, 2023 at 4:51 am

I’ve read that the Dromana drive-in actually started using FM sound in early 1984 which would pre-date this one by two years.

50sSNIPES on July 16, 2023 at 8:29 am

So then it must say that this was the first “in the United States” to simulcast movie audio via FM Stereo in 1986.

m00se1111 on March 29, 2024 at 8:36 am

90th anniversary for this iconic venue coming up on April 15

article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer…

m00se1111 on April 10, 2024 at 4:14 am

Shankweiler’s Drive-In, in Lehigh County, was set to host a 90th anniversary celebration Saturday — until trump rolled into town.

Now that former President donald trump is holding a rally at a nearby firehall, however, Shankweiler’s has decided not to compete with the main attraction in Lehigh County that night.

“Literally less than a mile from the theater, the same day as our 90th-anniversary event, at the same time,”

davidcoppock on April 16, 2024 at 4:22 am

90th anniversary today.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.