5947 Chef Menteur Highway,
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The Skyvue Drive-In was located at 5947 Chef Menteur Highway (formerly Gentilly Highway), at the corner of Downman Road in New Orleans.
The Skyvue Drive-In opened March 9, 1951 with Errol Flynn in “Kim” and held 800 cars. One of the theatre’s owners was Ed Mortimer, a veteran who went back to the silent days as a film buyer. Prior to owning the Skyvue, Ed owned the Bell Theatre, and before that, the St. Maurice Theatre, all in New Orleans.
There were two other partners in the Skyvue, Frank Olah, and another gentleman that was a dentist, who’s name escapes me.
The manager of the Skyvue from about six months after opening until he passed away, about six months before the theatre closed was Joe Gugliuzza. The projectionist from the day the theatre opened in 1952 until 1976 when he retired was Salvadore "Toto" Giuffre. Mr. Sal gave me my first projectionist training starting in 1971 at the Skyvue.
The Skyvue had a cafeteria style concession with two lines, and a seperate island for pizza, ice cream, and coffee. The screen was 60 by 120 feet after widening for Cinemascope.
Ed Mortimer passed away in 1976, if my memory serves me right. The Olah family continued to operate it. The Skyvue Drive-In closed on September 20, 1979, and was sold for condos to be constructed on the site. About six months after the theatre closed, the screen fell face down into the field.
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