VIDEO – IT’S NOT THERE- Johnny All Weather Drive In

Today we come to you from a parking lot for a strip of chains that includes Home Depot, CVS Pharmacy and Red Lobster that was once an important part of the post-war baby boom experience and anybody who grew up un the south shore of Lang Island in the boomers years surely has memories to share of the Johnny All Weather Drive In.

On April 20, 1957,the Johnny All Weather Drive-In Theatre opened to the general public at 1001 Sunrise Highway (Route 27), Copiague (NY).

This family amusement facility was built by Prudential Theatres and later operated by United Artist Theatres. Prudential would operate and manage approximately 15 movie theaters, and eight drive-in theaters on the Island.

The Johnny all weather drive-in was developed on approximately 28 acres and could accommodate 2,500 cars outside with one large screen, and indoors 1,200 attendees also with one large screen. The indoor theatre included air-conditioning, which was a big deal “in the 50’s and 60’s.

A lot of young people missed out on the drive-in experience when cars would pull into a parking spot and the driver would reach out to get the speaker that hung on a cement pole.

The All-Weather Drive-In facility experience included an outdoor roof-top viewing area, full-service cafeteria , outdoor concession stand, playground and a trolley train named Tally-Ho that would take you from the front gate to the indoor theater.

If you grew up in Copiague in the 50’s, 60’s or 70s you probably remember that you could hide in a car trunk, under a blanket on the back-seat floor or jump the low wood fence to attend the movie for free! The drive-in became a hangout for the local teenagers to be seen, as well as meet up in late




The first movie to play at the All-Weather was“Heaven Knows Mr. Allison” starring Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr.

The drive-in was constructed on the south side of Sunrise Highway just across from the Hamlet of North Amityville and Copiague’s Benjamin Banneker Community Center. Later, the Bowling Alley and Roll N’ Ice Skating Rink were built next to the Community Center across from the theater.

The Copiague Drive in has become something of historical importance and there are many websites which document the Drive-in theater history of America that detail the Johnny All weatherThe Johnny All-Weather theatre had its last season and closed their door in Copiague,

Today, like a lot of the American landscape the property is home to a shopping center with little connection to the community. A sign post is all that’s left to remind us of this special place. It’s Not There

LINKS:

http://www.newyorkdriveins.com/longislandregion/johnnyaw/johnnyaw.php
http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/4666
http://drive-ins.com/theater/nytalld/johnny-weather-drive-in-copiague-ny#.WhCPsbD81Bw
https://newyork.hometownlocator.com/maps/feature-map,ftc,3,fid,2557363,n,johnny%20all%20weather%20drive-in.cfm

PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

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16 Comments

  1. Matt – The hole in the south fence was there in ’58 or ’59. We used it regularly and nobody seemed to be too concerned about it as it wasn’t fixed for years, or maybe we were just lucky.
    Our crowd was too young to have any cars, so we walked there and found a way in that allowed us to spend what little money we had at the concession stand. We’d go up to the rooftop seating and watch the movie on the big outdoor screen. It was great!(Full name withheld, the warrants may still be active LOL.)

      • Thanks for posting the video, Matt. It was great fun seeing the drive-in after all these years. We moved to Copiague in 1951, and it was the best thing our parents could have ever done for us. I’ve always described my childhood in Copiague as idyllic, and can’t imagine a better place to have grown up. Moved out in ’68, but haven’t been back in several years. Thomas Wolfe wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again”, but he wasn’t totally right – thanks to your video I was able to do just that for a few pleasant moments! Have a great day!

          • Nice job preserving history of Copiague! I was wondering if any remembers a restaurant in Amity Harbor called Harbor Light or Hellenic Gardens.Located on George Brown Plaza in Amity Harbor.

          • I remember that was several restaurants and can’t remember the name of any of them. It was also a night club briefly.

  2. Wow, I have to tell you Matt, I have been on such a great memory trip of Copiague ever since Ralph Soluri put me on to the Copiague News site. I was raised in Copiague my whole life. I have been in NC past 10 years. You are giving me such fun and fond memories. The history behind everything is fantastic. Keep going, I keep showing my 16 year old son. Thank you for taking me down memory lane.

  3. Thanks for the memories Matt. I was born in Copiague on this very day in 1956. We spent a lot of time there growing up and had great family times also. My generation had such a rich childhood growing up in Copiague. We were all families with 4,5,6 kids in little houses with 1 car, 1 phone, and 1 bathroom, all from hard working families.

  4. remember it ell, lots of great times ere had there, as well as the roll n ice across the street. thanks for all the memories you are bringing back with this site, keep up the good work..

  5. There was an All Weather on Sunrise Highway and Bayview Ave. Copiague where we used to jump the fence and go to the indoor movie. I hope that isn’t what did them in. lol

  6. I lived in Amityville, I remember when they opened the All-Weather Drive-in on the corner of Bayview Ave and Sunrise Highway. My friends and I use to walk down Broadway (110) in Amityville walk the LIRR tracks between Broadway and Bayview Ave, walk down Bayview to the back fence of the Drive-in and jump the fence. They would only guard it when popular movies were being showed.

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