Blue Sky Drive-In

959 Broad Street,
Wadsworth, OH 44281

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Blue Sky Drive-In (Official)

Additional Info

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 330.334.1809

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Blue Sky Drive-In

The Blue Sky Drive-In opened on July 4, 1947, screening the 1946 western “Renegades” with Evelyn Keyes, Willard Parker and Larry Parks. It was opened by Dale Morrison who lived next door to the drive-in. From what I was told, the property that the drive-in sits on used to be fruit orchards that Dale had. John Selby who was a design and development engineer for building drive-in theatres was noted for his steel screen towers. In 1948, Co-Operative Theatres of Ohio, Inc. became the buying and booking agency and is still to this day. The Blue Sky Drive-In’s original screen tower was made of wood and had twinkling lights that looked like stars. Since it faced the road, people would drive past the drive-in just to see the lights. Instead of providing a speaker at every parking space, large blast speakers were attached to the screen tower to provide the audio for the entire parking lot. On 7th April 1950, the Blue Sky Drive-In opened the 1950 movie season with new RCA in-a-car speakers.

In the spring of 1952, the drive-in was sold to Earl V. Seitz, dba Wadsworth Amusement and Seitz Amusement from Sandusky, OH. Seitz owned and operated the Strand Theatre, a hardtop in Wadsworth, and the Sundusky Drive-In, Sandusky, OH. John Wohler was the manager for the Blue Sky Drive-In and Strand Theatre.

On May 11, 1955, the Blue Sky Drive-In planned to screen “French Follies” and advertised it as ‘For Adults Only’. Several movie-goers complained to the mayor Don Merriman about lurid advertising posters announcing the coming of “French Follies” at the drive-in. Merriman contacted several ministers about it which prompted a meeting about it. The members of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church circulated a petition against the movie. Deputy Sheriff Steve Helli planned to take the post in front of the theatre and turn away any juviniles from entering the drive-in, if the management went through with screening the girly movie. The management decided to withdraw the movie and substituted it with “The Long, Long Trailer” and “The Sands of Iwo Jima”. Back in the day, the “French Follies” was a typical ‘adult’ drive-in movie which was actually a burlesque show filmed in 1951. There is some topless nudity and some sexually suggestive dancing, but no full nudity or pornography.

In January 1956, Earl V. Seitz sold the Blue Sky Drive-In to Sam & Jay Schultz, dba Wadsworth Theatre Corp. and Selected Management Corp. In 1970, one of the managers of the drive-in would be Mike Krunich, who later would own and operaste the Gala Drive-In. On April 1, 1980, Wadsworth Theatre Corp. leased the Blue Sky Drive-In to Gary Greive. In the mid-1980’s, Selected Theatres was selling off all their drive-in theatre properties and was getting out of the theatre business. So on December 21, 1984 the Wadsworth Theatre Corp. sold the Blue Shy Drive-In to Gary Geive. Gary Greive and Jeff Davis own and operate the Blue Sky Drive-In and the Magic City Drive-In. You can still see movies screen under the stars at these two classic airers in the Akron, OH area.

Contributed by Randy Studer, Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

nickbowers1979 on March 25, 2009 at 7:08 am

A recent photo of the Blue Sky Drive-In:
View link

TLSLOEWS on June 15, 2010 at 3:21 am

Blue Skys shining on me,nothing but Blue Skys I see.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 15, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Let me see if i can help Tlsloews, This Drive-in parked 225 cars and was owned in 1956 by Dale-Cooperative.

TLSLOEWS on June 16, 2010 at 12:44 am

Not a thing Chuck.

Chris1982 on October 3, 2014 at 9:02 am

The Blue Sky Drive-In made the conversion to digital projection to open the 2014 season.

MichaelKilgore on December 13, 2017 at 11:35 pm

Dale R. Morrison’s obituary (Nov. 26, 1997) said that he built the Blue Sky in 1947 and owned it for five years.

The July 7, 1952 Akron Beacon Journal had an article about John Wohler, who ran the Blue Sky at the time. “The nine-acre lot is large enough for 430 cars and provides a large picnic area for those who care to take their supper out.” Earl V. Seitz of Sandusky bought the drive-in “the first of this year from Dale Morrison, who lives next door”.

Seitz still owned the Blue Sky in a Jan. 3, 1961 Beacon Journal article about his indoor Strand, which had shut down a few days earlier.

Gary Grieve owned the Blue Sky in a September 1989 article.

MichaelKilgore on July 28, 2019 at 10:42 pm

“Earl Seitz, Sandusky, O., owner of both indoor and outdoor theatres, recently acquired the Blue Sky Drive-In, Wadsworth, O., from Dale Morrison.” — The Exhibitor, Jan. 30, 1952

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