theaters

Drive-in movie theater

Retro cool

Back in their heyday, drive-in movie theaters meant parents could pile the kids in the back of the station wagon and head out to see a flick on a nice summer night, hooking the scratchy metal speaker on the car window, collecting popcorn and Cokes from the concession stand, and maybe playing a few holes of mini-golf to boot … all without making much of a dent in the pocketbook. 

Ritz Theater

On with the show

Ghosts in McConnelsville. Windmills in Bellefontaine. A Venetian courtyard in Tiffin. Fleur-de-lis flourishes in Marietta.

The theaters’ ornate interiors mimicked Italian piazzas and art deco architecture, Grecian ruins, and Spanish courtyards. They often created the sense of being outdoors, with painted clouds and twinkling electric “stars.”

Many of the extravagant theaters eventually fell into disrepair as downtown venues were abandoned in favor of shopping mall-based cinemas, while others met their demise in the form of a wrecking ball.