It’s a little unusual for a newspaper’s article about a drive-in to feature just one person. But that’s what happened this week when the Concord (NH) Monitor gave us a look at what it’s like to be a projectionist for a night. The place was Weirs Drive-In in nearby Laconia, and the projectionist is Paul Rouillard.
The article starts with Rouillard watching a particular light on a pole behind one of the Weirs’ four screens. “When that light gets wicked bright, I can reflect the picture,” he said, adding that he has to disregard patrons’ pleadings to start early. “I gotta wait, and as soon as that light goes on, I start the first movie.”
And then we’re off, following Rouillard as he managed the four projectors and huge platters of film. That’s not all he does; the article says that “He readies the concession stand area, performs maintenance on anything that breaks and assists with directing cars to the screen of their choice.” And besides all that, he’ll also jump-start your car after the show, according to the Weirs’ FAQ page.
For the rest of the story, we’re treated to a relaxing slice of life at the historic Weirs, one of the first drive-ins to open after World War II. Nobody said anything about digital projection, so let’s hope that it’s planned for the coming off-season. Till then, to see a few photos and experience what it’s like at the Weirs’ “dungeon,” go read it!