The Starlight Drive-In opened 70 years ago today, on August 19, 1948. Starlight was built in 1947 by Andy Anderson, formerly of Warner Bros. It was later leased to Malco cinemas.
The drive-in sat on approximately fifteen acres and was believed to accommodate over 400 cars.
Many people have left comments on the History of Owensboro, KY Facebook page, recalling moments of hiding friends in their trunks in order to sneak in more people for less admission. Several said they would save their dimes and nickels to spend at the concession stand on such items as pickles and popcorn.
A few recall living nearby and sitting outside to listen to the music and sounds as the movies played.
In October 1988, the 7-story theater screen caught on fire. What was first believed to be an unknown cause was later ruled as arson. According to the Evansville Press, Sheriff, then Major, Keith Cain was working as an investigator with the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department at the time.
By March 1989, with the competition of a newer theater in town, and the lease on the drive-in expiring, the decision was made not to re-open.
The only reminder that still stands today is the street sign that reads Starlite Drive.