Folks are really going to miss the Auto Vue Drive-In of Colville WA. Over the winter, I’d already run one note about its planned closing at the end of this season due to lack of funds for conversion to digital projection. Then in April, I added an embedded video of the Auto Vue. But since then, I’ve continued to see one story after another with tributes of varying lengths to this rickety old piece of Americana.
But none of those measured up to the lengthy article in the Pacific Northwest Insider last week. This one’s got everything – history, old photos, a whole page of new photos, references to other theaters’ fundraisers, just plain everything. And the writer understands the appeal of a drive-in, that it’s not like an indoor theater. “On this Sunday night at the Auto Vue, though, it feels like an event, not a movie. It’s something — at least until after Labor Day, when the last double feature hits the screen — to see, not just to watch.”
One more note: I wish the Auto Vue people would contact the folks who run the Comanche Drive-In in Buena Vista CO. Rather than worry about showing current releases, the Comanche seems to embrace its film-based nostalgia. I mean, a drive-in makes almost all of its profit from the concession stand. As long as enough hungry patrons come to watch, everybody’s happy. Why not rent older films and stay in business?