As Honda put it in today’s press release, Saco Drive-In (Saco ME) has become the first of five drive-in theaters no longer in jeopardy of closing its doors thanks to Honda’s Project Drive-In. With the end of 35-mm film distribution this year, and the costly switch to digital projection nearing, Honda created Project Drive-In as a national effort to save as many of America’s remaining drive-ins as possible. Honda, which said it received over two million votes, is announcing the winners one day at a time.
The Saco Facebook page is a hub of celebration today. Its manager posted, “I have finally stopped crying! I could not believe it! To think 3 months ago we were sitting around a table talking about how we were going to do this and being so discouraged that there was just literally no way to save it, and then comes this project and your support and your dedication is the reason why we won! Without all of you I can promise this never would have happened. Your energy is what kept me going night after night for the last 30 days with maybe 2hrs of sleep a night you helped push me through it to make sure everyone knew about this project!”
The Portland Press-Herald also picked up the story and added a bit of history. “This year marks the 74th season for the Saco Drive-In, which was originally called the Motor-In Theatre when it was opened in 1939 by Italian immigrant Eugene V. Boragine. It is the second-oldest drive-in theater in the country.” That’s second-oldest still in operation; at least a dozen others opened before the Saco. But I digress.
The Saco is throwing a special celebration party tonight at 6. And Honda adds that “following the September 21 Los Angeles premiere of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, all drive-ins receiving digital projectors, care of Honda’s Project Drive-In, will have the opportunity to screen the highly-anticipated film before its wide release date.” It’s like winning a new car and getting a really great air freshener too. We’ll keep track of the other four winners in the days to come.