Thursday, October 31, 2013

Horror at the Peninsula Drive In

The image flickers on the screen as you sit in the relative safety of your vehicle. Then it happens...a blood-curdling scream shrieks through the little silver box attached to your window. You cover your eyes and peak through your fingers. That's the price your pay for viewing horror movies like "The Fun House" at the drive-in theater. 

The Peninsula Drive-In was located at 301 Peninsula Drive, where the Tom Ridge Environmental sits today. Shows started at dusk, and there was usually a double or triple feature. Sometimes the early show was aimed at a young audience (think Herbie the Love Bug), and other times the movies were strictly for a mature audience. 

There was generally a long line of cars waiting to get in to the Peninsula Drive-in, which opened around 8 p.m. Cars would snake their way along the gravel covered lanes, which made a distinctive sound when you drove over them. The lot wasn't flat; it was quite a bumpy ride over the humps in the road. Station wagons would bottom out if there was a pothole in the lot. 

Enjoy more historical facts and photos of Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie


  1. I worked at the drive-in part time for a few years in the early 80's. The theatre was showing its age and the owners balked at spending money for repairs--including the aging electrical grid that powered the lot lights. I was the guy stumbling around cleaning up after closing Saturday nights, sometimes under the glow of just a few floodlights, depending on which bulbs worked. There were nights when I finished cleaning just in time for the flea market vendors to begin setting up Sunday morning.

    Now that I think about it, I wish I had nabbed a couple of those old die cast speakers--at this point the theatre was broadcasting movie soundtracks through the radio and the speakers were obsolete.

    1. Greg, I bet you could write a book about the things you saw (and found) at the drive-in. Do you know when they showed the first movie there?

    2. I honestly don't know when they started showing films. I had just moved to Millcreek and I didn't know or hear much about the history of the place. I needed the income, so working there was a natural...and it would replace the money I would inevitably spend at the flea market!

  2. Before the movie started, the American Flag was shown on the screen and the "Star Spangled Banner" was played. At its conclusion, people honked their horns. It wasn't long before the neighbors complained and the practice was stopped.

    As a teenager, I remember driving in with three girls -- and two guys in the trunk.