Earlier this week we received word that the Skyline Twin Drive-In, a beautiful dual screen drive-in in the Desert town of Barstow California had closed its doors. SoCal DiMS had made a road trip out to the Skyline earlier this summer and had been very impressed with Randy Shull and his efforts to keep this drive-in open and viable and technically up to date.
SoCalDIMS founding member Kathy Beyers would like to share some thoughts on the loss of this theater to our drive-in community:
Some Thoughts on the Skyline Drive-In, Barstow, CA
I am very saddened by the news of the Skyline closing, and have a few thoughts on the subject concerning operators/leasing issues. Larry Rodkey (owner) grew up on the Sunset drive-in property in San Luis Obispo and started learning the drive-in business when he was just a kid. At one point his Rodkey Theaters owned or leased 4 theaters: 3 drive-ins and 1 restored walk in.
The Sunset is nowhere near the Skyline so it’s not like he could just run over there every day and check on things…
Barstow is a small town which sits in the desert. It has to pull patrons in from 3 surrounding communities (40 miles away) to stay busy. Thousands of people pass by on the interstate, but few seem to stop in Barstow except for lunch and fuel on the way to Vegas. When SoCaldims was there earlier in the summer Randy said business had been down for a couple of years now.
Randy Shull, a long-time drive-in manager, has the Skyline in tip-top shape, even though there had been some weather related incidents in the past year. His love for this theatre was obvious, but he also has a family and a full-time job in town. He did a really cool thing with the first Transformers movie promotion and got totally ignored by the industry people for which it was intended…his disappointment was evident.
I think Randy and Larry have both done a commendable job in bringing the Skyline back to life after it sat vacant for a long while and keeping it going for as long as they did. Maybe someone will step in at some point and continue the operation. This is a really nice drive-in but like all of them is not without its challenges.
I know I will miss it, and I’m sure all the patrons in Barstow, Apple Valley, and Victorville will as well.