MAHONING TOWNSHIP, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — People are driving across the country to get to a drive-in movie theater that’s right in our backyard!
From the ticket booth, to the concession stand, to the projection room….
“It is a time capsule. It is a time machine,” said Virgil Cardamone, film booker.
The Mahoning Drive-In Theater near Lehighton is the only all retro drive-in playing classic movies on 35 millimeter film.
“I just fell in love with the place and that gigantic screen,” said Mark Nelson, a movie buff who lives in New Hampshire.
This 109 foot screen is the second largest in the country.
Movie buff, Mark Nelson, has been coming to the drive-in for the past three years. Each time he comes, it’s a six and a half hour drive from New Hampshire.”It’s like nothing else you can get anywhere,” said Cardamone.
The drive-in has been open since 1948. But when Virgil and Matt took over, there was a lot of work to be done.”When we started four years, we were looking at three or four car nights; people wandering in from seeing the marquee, now that’s turned into people driving across the country,” said Matthew McClanahan, manager.
Their goal– to make it a retro destination where movie buffs can come and celebrate their fandom.”People show up in costume, they have t-shirts for the movies, they bring props, they have vehicles — like when the ‘Back to the Future’ movies run, they show up with dolorians,” said Nelson.”It has truly become like a comic con atmosphere here,” said Cardamone.
This weekend it opens for its 69th season, with its annual double feature ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Willy Wonka’.
Gates open at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The first movie usually starts once it’s dark out, around 8:30. There’s an intermission between films. Then film number two takes the screen.
And it’s not just the movies that are a step back in time; the theater also shows old movie trailers and intermission reels .”It’s kind of magical,” said Nelson.
You can even spend the night.
By Haley Bianco of www.pahomepage.com