Watch the last year of film at a Colorado drive-in

Chuck and Marianne James of the Mesa Drive-InI get to watch a lot more drive-in footage than most folks, and Mahala Gaylord of The Denver Post has put together the finest short drive-in video I’ve seen so far. It’s all about the Mesa Drive-In (Pueblo CO) and its owners, Chuck and Marianne James, as they contemplate the end of 35mm film after this season. Gaylord captures the images and sounds of the twilight drive-in experience, and even includes the best recording I’ve seen of assembling reels of film into the platter-borne movies that run in one long series.

Oh yes, there’s also an article involved. Steve Raabe of the Post gets the number of remaining Colorado drive-ins right (seven), but doesn’t link to any of them. He’s got some great quotes from George Kelloff, owner of the Star Drive-In (Monte Vista) and the adjacent Movie Manor Motel. Kelloff was one of the first to convert to digital projection during the last off-season. I knew that he had to convert sometime or he’d be left with a standalone motel on the far outskirts of a small town. “If we didn’t have the motel, we probably would have shut down the drive-in,” he said.

Raabe also talked with Pamela Friend of the other Colorado Star Drive-In (Montrose) about her campaign to raise enough money to finance digital conversion. The fundraiser made $16,000 so far, and the results were so gratifying that Friend took out a personal loan to make up the difference. It was a pretty good Colorado roundup to go with a magnificent video. Check it out!