Memories of York County movie theaters continue to flow in!
Today, I want to round up some letters I received in the mail.
Norma Brown of Shrewsbury writes, “In a reply to your article on the New Freedom Theater, I was employed there selling tickets about 1 1/2 years. George McCullough who lived next to the theater was a ticket taker, also David Shilke from Shrewsbury. The owner was Chalmers Sechrist from Shrewsbury. I lived in New Feredom at the time, going to school there. The weekend movies were always busy and full. Many happy memories.”
Another letter with information on a couple of different theaters came from Martha Rahe, who lives in North Codorus Township.
Martha writes, “Just thought you could add this to your theater lists. (There) was a drive-in theater in Columbia; that one brings back memories to me. In 1970 on New Year’s Eve, they had an all night movie. It was fine when we arrived but by the time the movie was over we got lots of snow. We got stuck and had to get other theater patrons to help push us out to get home. That was one movie night I would never forget!”
Martha also sent me copies of information from some historical books, “Red Lion Golden Jubilee: 50 years of progress,” which covered 1880 to 1930, and the “Red Lion Centennial: The first 100 years,” which covered 1880 to 1980. I’ve posted the three pages she mailed me as a PDF file; you can read that here to learn even more. There’s a LOT of information there about the Lion Theatre on North Main Street, near the center square of Red Lion, which officially opened as a movie house in 1930 and seated 1,100 people, under the management of Walter J. Rothensies.
This image of the Lion Theatre is seen in one of the pieces of information sent by Martha Rahe, from “Red Lion Golden Jubilee.”
A final letter – at least for now! – was from Linda Drewen of Franklin Township. When Linda read the Feb. 13 Your News section of the York Sunday News, where I’d printed some movie memories, she writes, “I smiled, and cried a bit. My dad was a projectionist for most of those theatres you listed. He was in the ‘business’ for over 30 years. I and my brother ‘grew up’ at the drive-ins. I remember going with dad when he had to work and being in our jammies. When he passed away, he had been working at a theatre in Lancaster. When I turned 18, my dad got me my first job at the York Cinema 4, which was located in front of the Stoneybrook Drive-In.”
She continues, “My mom and my brother and I worked in the concession stand of the Stoneybrook at night, and then in the morning, we would go back in to clean it. I have a lot of happy memories of these places. I’m sad to see the drive-ins go away. Like I said, we live in Dillsburg. I was happy to see they still had a drive-in. When my kids were little, we took them there, also in their jammies. And now we take our grandkids. I’m glad they get to experience some of what Nana got to do when she was their age.”
“Theatres were my second home. Just to add to your list, there was a drive-in in Strinestown (never went to this one) that showed X-rated movies, an indoor theatre in the York Mall before the mall was destroyed and remodeled, and the York Cinema 4 that was located in front of the drive-in.” Later, Linda wrote back and said there was also the movie theater at Delco Plaza, when it still had an indoor mall; can’t forget that one!
She adds this final note – “My dad’s name was Albert Barnes, but everyone called him Barney, in case you hear from others” who remember him. Linda said she would love to hear from people who remember her dad, Barney, so if you do, please feel free to comment and I’ll put you in touch with her!
Thanks to everyone for sharing these memories. It’s been a ton of fun!