Shimerville Drive-In

5402 Chestnut Street,
Emmaus, PA 18049

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Shimerville Drive-In

Located in the community area of Shimerville, the little town’s only drive-in, the Shimerville Drive-In, opened its gates on June 11, 1950 with Lex Barker in “Tarzan’s Magic Fountain” along with a few short subjects. It was first operated by the husband-and-wife team of Robert C. and Rose R. Christofaro of Emmanus.

A 70x30ft CinemaScope screen was installed there five years later at the beginning of the 1955 season.

The Shimerville Drive-In operated as a mainstream first-run drive-in theater until the 1985 season when it flipped to X-rated films after a management change lead by Albert J. Bruno of Kunkletown. This lasted for only a short period of time due to residents in the area wanting to close the theatre because of the explicit material, even children called the town “Sl**ville” not just because of the theatre but it was also the hotel as well. Not just the movies they’ve shown during the season but it was also because of a bunch of littering and urination in the bushes as well as people (including children) form nearby homes can witness the movies they’ve shown.

Bruno said in a statement to Attorney Costas Douvanis of Bethlehem who declined to identify the operator that he will operate throughout the rest of the Summer but before the 1986 season is very speculative. After an agreement was turned over by the Lehigh County District Attorney, the Shimerville Drive-In closed for good in September 1985. However, their flea market at the drive-in continued after closure.

In April 1986, it was announced that residents of Shimerville raised their hackles over a proposal to relaunch the drive-in as an entertainment center with movies, music, and flea market. Alan Haines attempted a plan to completely renovate the drive-in, rename it the “Cadillac Drive-In”, and show a variety of classic movies. Members said that the drive-in still has the right to open for the 1986 season because it was in existence before the surrounding houses were built and township zoning was adopted, but the main deal is that the X-rated movies and shows are prohibited by the new code like what they faced during only one season which is the 1985 season. However, all of this never happened at all.

The screen managed to stand throughout the remainder of the 1980’s and into the early-1990’s, but in the mid-1990’s, it was demolished.

Contributed by 50sSNIPES
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