DAY TRIP Skyline Drive-In Theater
Skyline Drive-In was originally opened in 1966 by Jack Baldoch of Western Amusements when historic Route 66 ran through the high desert. It was shut down in 1987 when the market for such attractions fell away and people moved toward housed movie theaters, soft seats and Surround Sound. Yet in 1996 Larry Rodkey reopened the theater. He added a second screen to give patrons more choice and allowed for approximately 600 cars to view movies on any given night.
Since then the theater is usually filled with families, groups of teenagers and a range of individuals enjoying a retro night at the movies. Skyline is one of the few remaining drive-in theaters left that ran on Route 66, which once featured more than 80 open theaters along its highway. Randy Shull is the current owner who added the flea market, improved the FM sound quality, and continues to keep the reels rolling.
Tickets for the drive-in are $6 for adults and $2 for children 6 to 11 years old. Free for children under 6.
The box office opens at 6:30 p.m., and the first show starts at 7. There is a short intermission between features before the second film begins. Call the theater any time to hear what is playing that evening.
Take the 91 Freeway east and exit the I-15 north or take the 57 Freeway north to the I-10 east and exit to the I-15 north. Take exit 179 to merge onto Highway 58 west toward Bakersfield. Leave early as the trip will take a couple of hours and there is usually a line to purchase tickets. Fortunately, you can tune in to the sound of the show while sitting in line to get in.
The drive-in features two screens that each play double features of the most recently released movies, just like any regular theater.
Only you get two movies (four to choose from) for a price cheaper than one movie ticket at your local theater. Instead of a crowded and sometimes dirty and noisy theater, one watches from the comfort of their car, lounge chairs, truck bed, picnic or whatever seating arrangement you want to bring, as long as you have an FM radio to produce the sound.
There is a concession stand with all the movie theater goodies, but you can bring all your own snacks and drinks into the theater if you so choose.
Despite the price of distribution and tickets, the theater makes a lot of its revenue through its concession stands.
Last May a flea market was added to the site, allowing patrons to shop at the theater during particular weekends, a throwback to old-school drive-ins.
As well as the theater, there are a number of Route 66 museums and historic attractions in the Barstow area as well as a “Harvey House,” a generic term for depot hotels designed by Francis Wilson.
It houses two museums and was the setting for the Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury film “The Harvey Girls.”
On a side note, Barstow is also home to the very first Del Taco at 401 N. 1st Ave. — Daniel Tedford
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