HomeDrive-In TheatersStarlite Drive-In Theatre - Bay City, MI

Starlite Drive-In Theatre

Address: 2400 Midland Rd
City: Bay City
State: MI
Zip: 48706
County: Bay
Open: 1950 (6-27-50)
Closed: 1987 (7-21-87)
Capacity: 700
Owner History: R.J. Ashmun (1968) Harry Mohney/Mid States/VIP Theatres
Number of visits to this page: 18182
Notes: Thanks to Harry Mohney and Curt Peterson for info and pics!
Info Updates:
2/14/2021 - Andy Gray
My grandfather A.S. “Al” Johnson owned Birmingham-based Johnson Construction Co. and built or remodeled between 40 and 50 theaters and drive-ins throughout Michigan between 1934 and 1956. The Starlight Drive-In in Bay City was one of these projects. The four photos that Al Johnson shot in May 1949 show construction of the tower. All of the uprights that comprised the structure were built onsite by cutting and bolting together timbers into frames or vertical trusses. Each truss then was raised manually by the use of ropes and block-and-tackle. Once in place, carpenters joined these vertical members to the rest of the frame with horizontal timbers. Perhaps some drive-ins were built with prefab wooden uprights or with steel trusses, but all of the slides in Al Johnson's collection show this onsite wooden truss construction. It's interesting to note that a scaffold at least eleven levels high has been erected on the screen side of the tower, and no apparent safety lines are used by any of the workers. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which governs worker safety standards, wasn't created until 1971. After the whole tower frame was constructed, plywood sheathing was attached. In the slide images you can see that this is underway on the screen side of the tower. I'm not sure what the plywood was covered with (e.g. paint, concrete or some other material) because my grandfather's slides don't show any images of the finishing process.
10/9/2011 - Dan T.
I grew up on Salzburg Rd. and would drive my bike to the top of the I-75 overpass. From there, I could sometimes see the huge images on the screen. It was mesmerizing for a little kid. How sad our own kids will never get to experience a night out at the drive-in.
2/10/2011 - Sharon Schmidt
I would like to add some historical information to this web site since my father, Clark Seeley, was the one who built this drive-in from the ground up.
11/21/2010 - leslie rayfield
OMG i haven't lived in bay city since '87 and i had forgotten about this place until i came across this site. i remember seeing poltergiest in '82 & Herby the lovebug in the '60's. the old playground. i think as a teenager we may have even snuck in once great memories,thanks.
3/6/2007 - Sabrinae E.e
Even though I''m only 29. I remember the starlite drive-in, growing up just right down the road from it and remembering my mom and dad taking my brother and I to see our very first movie was the ghostbusters. I tell you I''ll always have that memory. Now the ground is occupied be the colonaides and the Carriage House. To those who have memories like I do don''t forget them because that is all we have.
10/1/2006 - Terry B
I remember the last time I was there was June of 81, I don't remember what was playing but i do know it was a rainy night.
8/24/2005 - Martin Lewis
Lived a block from this place.....spent my whole summers as a youth party in and around this place 1977-1984. Very sad.....it all gone now and a rest home is built on the site.
4/22/2004 - Andrew Wilson AKA The Librarian
The Starlite DIT opened June 27, 1950 and went as the Starlite until July 13, 1975. Between July 14, 1975 and April 5, 1981 the name changed to the Starlight DIT. It reverted to the Starlite on April 10, 1981 until June 3, 1982. It became the Starlite Twin DIT on June 4, 1982 until it closed on July 21, 1987. How odd. I assume there was a change in management, well either that or no one proofed their ads for 5 years.
1/6/2003 - WaterWinterWonderland
The site is empty, this drive-in was home to the famous "Closed Forever" sign that has shown up in various publications.
 Photos:19
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - AL JOHNSONS’ SON-IN-LAW DOUG GRAY STANDING IN FRONT OF THE TOWER DURING CONSTRUCTION
AL JOHNSONS’ SON-IN-LAW DOUG GRAY STANDING IN FRONT OF THE TOWER DURING CONSTRUCTION
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - CLOSE-UP OF CARPENTERS WORKING ON THE TOP OF THE TOWER FRAME
CLOSE-UP OF CARPENTERS WORKING ON THE TOP OF THE TOWER FRAME
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - WOODEN TOWER FRAME WITH PARTIAL SHEATHING
WOODEN TOWER FRAME WITH PARTIAL SHEATHING
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - SCREEN-SIDE VIEW OF THE TOWER SHOWING SCAFFOLDING AND SHEATHING WORK
SCREEN-SIDE VIEW OF THE TOWER SHOWING SCAFFOLDING AND SHEATHING WORK
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - VINTAGE SHOT FROM HARRY MOHNEY AND CURT PETERSON
VINTAGE SHOT FROM HARRY MOHNEY AND CURT PETERSON
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - WHEN IT WAS OPEN FROM HARRY MOHNEY AND CURT PETERSON
WHEN IT WAS OPEN FROM HARRY MOHNEY AND CURT PETERSON
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - OLD PIC FROM MICHIGAN DRIVEINS
OLD PIC FROM MICHIGAN DRIVEINS
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - WHEN IT WAS OPEN FROM HARRY MOHNEY AND CURT PETERSON
WHEN IT WAS OPEN FROM HARRY MOHNEY AND CURT PETERSON
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - OLD MARQUEE
OLD MARQUEE
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - SPEAKER POLES - PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
SPEAKER POLES - PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - SCREEN FROM JOSHUA
SCREEN FROM JOSHUA
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - UTILITY POLE - PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
UTILITY POLE - PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - NOW AN EMPTY LOT - PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
NOW AN EMPTY LOT - PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - PROJECTION AND CONCESSION STAND SUMMER 2013
PROJECTION AND CONCESSION STAND SUMMER 2013
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - SIGN
SIGN
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - STARLITE FLYER
STARLITE FLYER
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - DEC 22 1972 AD
DEC 22 1972 AD
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - 1955 AERIAL
1955 AERIAL
Starlite Drive-In Theatre - AERIAL PHOTO - PHOTO FROM TERRASERVER
AERIAL PHOTO - PHOTO FROM TERRASERVER
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