"We" are Beth and Ernest Wilson, celebrating in 2016, 21 years of continuing the family tradition of owning drive-in theaters started by Beth's father, Frank Seeber.
Originally, Warwick Drive-In Theater was built in 1950 by Charles & Mary Finger in partnership with George & Adeline Miller on 5 acres of land owned by Paul & Emma Miller. George & Adeline sold out to Russ & Gloria Eurich. It had one 70' x 40' screen and parking for 350 cars. Soon, the Fingers bought out the business from the Eurichs. It was run successfully by the Finger family for 25 years.
Back in those days, salesmen would come from the film companies to lease their films to the theater for a $12.50 flat fee for 3 or 4 days at a time. Now, film distributors charge up to 90% of the theater's gross ticket sales and demand 3 to 4 weeks for each film. Eventually, competition heated up and Mr. Finger successfully bid to make the drive-in a first run theater, giving it the right to play the films on the same date as they were released in New York City.
Mr. and Mrs. Finger decided to retire and in 1977 sold the drive-in to Frank Seeber. Paul Miller's widow, Emma Miller Sisco, decided against leasing out the property so Frank also had to buy the acreage in order to fulfill his dream.
He had been in the drive-in movie business since he was 13 years old,cleaning windshields for tips at Irving Hulst's Tri-States Drive-In Theater in Matamoras, PA, which closed in 2004.
Now in his 30s, he had also managed the Newton (NJ) Drive-In Theater (now closed) and had become a member of the IATSE, the projectionists union, but owning his own drive-in theater had always been his dream.
In 1982, Frank and his wife, Ann, bought more acreage from Emma Miller Sisco and expanded the drive-in to two screens on 11 acres with two modern projection rooms. Later a third screen was added. We built more ticket selling stations and complied with the town's insistence on controlling the traffic and parking situations.
In 1995, the Seebers retired from the drive-in business and we purchased the theater and land, forming Casey Family Theaters, Inc. The name came from a nickname for the youngest of our four children. Frank and Ann are still available when we need their expertise on an advisory basis, mostly for advertising and social media.
A true family business, Beth’s sister, Laurey Keller, is always right by her side with the daily operations at the theater and in the office. Beth and Laurey's children have worked at the theater throughout the years. A very important person in our lives is Joan Damon. Mrs. Damon has been with the theater since the 70’s, before the Seebers bought it, and completely runs the concession area for us. She sure is one big asset to our company success.
In 2014, we converted from film to digital projection which has greatly enhanced the movie experience.
We look forward to the continuation of our family tradition of providing a unique Drive-In Theater Experience along with popular entertainment since we are the only movie theater in the Warwick area.