From the early 1950s — one source says 1952 — until just the past few years, the Ski-Hi Drive-In just north of Muncie, Indiana, entertained a couple of generations of moviegoers.
Beginning in the 1980s, drive-in movie theaters — which had always provided an alternative for moviegoers looking for exploitation movies, the offbeat and the inexpensive — faced a threat that couldn’t have been imagined just a few years earlier: Home video.
Movie fans could watch the odd Roger Corman movie from the comfort of their home. Within a few years, drive-in theaters were being razed, their real estate developed for some other use, or — even worse, in some ways — they were abandoned to fall to pieces.
The Muncie Drive-In was lost a number of years ago. All that remains now is the barely recognizable sign, now advertising another business, on Ind. 32 on the city’s west side.
The Ski-Hi Drive-In, at Ind. 3 and Ind. 28 north of the city, is still recognizable for what it was. The photos on this blog were taken by me this Memorial Day weekend.
Unfortunately, while the Ski-Hi is recognizable, it’s a shell of its former self. The screen tower has gaping holes. The area where cars and speaker poles once dotted the landscape is covered with high weeds. I can’t say what shape the concession stand is in; I didn’t venture into the property.
Various revitalization attempts have been mounted over the years and I’ve heard another is underway. With any luck, this one will succeed.