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Shankweiler’s has new owners

The Moving Picture Cinema, owned by drive-in veteran Matthew McClanahan and partner Lauren McChesney, announced it has purchased Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre, off Route 309, Orefield, effective Nov. 4.

McClanahan and McChesney become the fourth set of owners in the theater’s 88-year history, according to a news release emailed to The Press.

Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre was the second drive-in theater ever built, in 1934 by Wilson Shankweiler, and is the oldest existing drive-in theater in America.

Shankweiler’s became the first drive-in theater to broadcast movie audio via FM broadcast stereo in 1986 and converted to digital cinema in 2014.

Former owners, Paul and Susan Geissinger, purchased the property in 1984.

McClanahan, 32, previously revived and ran The Mahoning Drive-In Theater, Lehighton, from 2014-2020.

He has owned and operated The Moving Picture Cinema, a full-service mobile cinema, since 2019.

“I grew up going to Shankweiler’s to see movies with my family,” says McClanahan.

“It’s such an honor to be able to craft those memories for future generations while preserving a significant piece of American history.”

Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre will resume operations in November and continue with a limited schedule through the winter, with a grand reopening to follow in spring 2023.

The Moving Picture Cinema is a Lehigh Valley-based full-service mobile cinema creating authentic and classic movie going experiences at unique venues across Eastern Pennsylvania since 2019.

Each package includes large format projection, screen, sound, and crew, with emphasis on professional and consistent AV presentation.

The Moving Picture Cinema has collaborated with an array of community organizations, including independent movie theaters, municipalities and museums, as well as hosting their own custom programming.

To learn more, visit seethemovingpicture.com. For updated information about schedule, visit shankweilers.com.

PRESS PHOTO COURTESY LAUREN MCCHESNEY The Moving Picture Cinema, owned by drive-in veteran Matthew McClanahan (right) and partner Lauren McChesney, have purchased Shankweiler's Drive-In Theatre, effective Nov. 4, becoming the fourth set of owners in the theater's 88-year history.