Many West Orange County residents have fond memories — some good, some "real good" and best kept a secret — of the Star-Lite Drive-In Theatre.
But memories were all locals were left with when, in May 1996, the Winter Garden landmark shut down its projector after 46 years. The theater was located on East Plant Street, where a strip mall and 7-Eleven now stand.
Teens affectionately called the iconic gathering place “Peavey’s Passion Pit” in honor of Thelbert Peavey, the theater manager for more than 33 years, as well as for all the love that was found there.
For 42 years, the theater grounds were also home to a drive-in church, where guests could stay in their vehicles to hear the weekly sermons.
When residents received news that the owner, Floyd Theatres, was going out of business and closing the drive-in in 1996, a local group started S.O.S. (Save Our Star-Lite).
Prior to the big screen being razed, two Nostalgia Nights were held, and patrons could watch “The Blues Brothers” and “American Graffiti” one last time from the front seat of their car.
Contact Amy Quesinberry Rhode at [email protected].