The Paul family owned the Sky View Drive-In Theatre along Route 66 in Litchfield, Illinois, for the last 30 years. By early March, another family in Litchfield also will own the theater.
The Sky View is under contract to be bought by two husband-and-wife teams — Nick and Mindy Pastrovich, plus Mike and Debbie Pastrovich. Mike and Debbie own D & M Electric Heating in Litchfield. Nick works for D & M and owns Advanced Signage & Electrical in Litchfield. Mindy owns Minndora’s Specialty Photography and Minndora’s Salon in Litchfield.
The Pastroviches are scheduled to take possession March 1. They’re confident there won’t be any holdups; Mindy Pastrovich said contracts with the studios and other vendors are being transferred to them.
“We plan to run it as a drive-in indefinitely,” Mindy Pastrovich said.
Because the Sky View was well-maintained and underwent at $77,000 digital conversion a few years ago, Mindy said they don’t expect many big changes with its operation.
Carol Stuttle, the Sky View’s general manager for more than two decades, will stay at her post until she retires, Mindy said.
Mindy said the theater’s front gate will be moved back so tourists can more easily access a Route 66 monument out in front of the complex. Ticket prices will be raised from $3 to $5.
Mindy said the family also plans to add a few more family-friendly films, plus a special screening of the cult classic, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and perhaps “The Wizard of Oz.” The Sky View Drive-In also will be marking its 66th anniversary.
Mindy said her in-laws were motivated to buy the theater because they’re nearing retirement age, and they wanted to own something that would turn a profit.
The Pastroviches haven’t yet announced the 2016 opening weekend for the theater, but it likely will be in early April.
The Sky View opened in 1950 by Frisina Enterprises, but much of its history is owed to Norman and Del Paul, who owned it for more than 30 years. It is the last remaining original Route 66 drive-in in Illinois and was inducted into the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame.
(Hat tip to Sarah Waggoner; image of the Sky View Drive-In by J Turner via Flickr)