The Oxford Drive In is located along Highway 2 between London and Woodstock. It began in 1949 when a Mr. Summerhayes from Brantford wanted to find suitable land upon which to build a drive-in theatre.
He purchased land belonging to Mr. German for an amount of $3,000 and began construction of his drive in theatre. The Oxford Drive-In opened in May of 1950. The season began on the May long weekend and traditionally ended on the Labour Day weekend.
Films were shown on a projector camera which consisted of two reels. One reel held the film and the other reel spooled the film as it ran through the projector. Audio was broadcast through speakers. The parking lot was filled with poles in which speakers hung. You’d roll down your window slightly and clipped the speaker over your window.
The Oxford Drive In upgraded their system during the 1980’s to broadcast on the AM radio band. This allowed customers to listen to the movie on their own radios. The AM radio band was poor particularly during wet weather. In 1991 the theatre upgraded to the FM radio band, broadcasting on 88.5Mhz.
The couple from whom the land was purchased, Jean and Fred German, worked the drive-in on the opening night.
Movies were projected upon a wooden frame screen, which was typical of drive in’s everywhere. The screen fell down during a wind storm in the winter of 1975. The screen was replaced. The theatre had undergone ownership changes by this time and current ownership belonged to Mr. Leonard Bernstein from Toronto.
Unlike traditional drive-in’s, an usher would drive your car onto the property for you. Al MacKay was one of the ushers, who along with his parents were employed at the theatre.
In 2014, the 500 pound Christie 2220 projector was stolen from the location it was being stored at, off site. The drive in closed the following year, partly due to the constant thefts.
The property has been restored and is now a functional drive-in again as of 2020. Also it is alarmed, so don’t do anything stupid!