Motion picture industry veteran and Tulsa Drive-in theatre owner Blake Smith has agreed to take over the Starlite Drive-in from current owner Chuck Bucinski, in what all sides are labeling “the right deal, at the right time, with the absolute right thing to do for Wichita.”
The deal was announced Friday.
“Having our original buyer recognize the passion the Wichita Community has for the Starlite, along with having been granted permission to explore the possibilities of allowing this landmark to remain as such after consulting with my attorney, Jason Reed of the Adams Jones Law Firm, a team of people looked to find a way to keep it as a drive-in theatre. Then Landmark Commercial Real Estate agent Marc Knowles and council member James Clendenin teamed up to locate a new anonymous local buyer. Followed by a call to Blake in Tulsa to see if he’d be interested in running the Starlite. It was a yes on all sides. Everybody just did what was best for Wichita and I’m thrilled” says Bucinski.
The Starlite Drive-In originally opened for business in 1953 as the Rainbow Drive-In. The single screen theatre had a capacity for 600 cars. It was operated by Mrs. T.H. Slothower. In 1974, it was renamed Landmark Drive-In. A second screen was added in 1979 and it became the Landmark Twin Drive-In. In 1998 it was purchased by Jim Goble of Denver, CO and renamed the Starlite Drive-In. Mr. Goble passed away in 2015 and current owner Chuck Bucinski operated the facility from 2016 thru 2018.