Feb. 23: Tru Vu Drive In Theatre, Delta CO

It’s Day 54 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. As I drove for five hours over snowy, often mountainous roads from one closed-for-the season drive-in to another, I really wished I had a better way of finding more open, warm-weather places to visit in February. As least I made it in one piece back to Colorado and the Tru Vu Drive In Theatre in Delta.

The Tru Vu opened in 1954 and has been rolling along ever since. For the first half of its life (so far), the Tru Vu shared Delta with the Skylite Drive-In which had opened almost literally across the street in 1949. By 1984, the Skylite had been renamed the Big Sky, and it closed soon afterward.

A lot of drive-in theaters have some drama associated with them. They add screens, they lose screens. They shut down for a while, and sometimes reopen. Not the Tru Vu. Delta locals are just proud to have it around.

My first visit to the Tru Vu was on Memorial Day Weekend 1998. The other drive-ins in western Colorado were all showing Titanic, most as a single feature. The Tru Vu’s marquee reached out to me with the promise of something different, the Matthew Broderick version of Godzilla. The drive-in complemented that movie very well, rewarding its broad action sequences and distracting viewers from its plot holes. Ah, memories of good times when it warm and dry. (Update: I drove past the Tru Vu for real on Memorial Day Weekend 2017. I’ve updated this post with the sharper photo I took.)

Miles Today / Total:  273 / 7049 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 37

Nearby Restaurant: Despite traveling for a month through the Southwest, I haven’t stopped at Mexican restaurants very often. I took a step toward fixing that at a little place called Fiesta Vallarta. The Super Burrito looked like enough to hold me all week, and the margaritas made me glad that I stayed somewhere within walking distance.

Where I Virtually Stayed: The Quality Inn is the closest place to the Tru Vu and about a half-mile walk from the Fiesta Vallarta. It’s a little tired, but it’s clean and very inexpensive. I had a mini fridge in the room, a hot breakfast in the morning, and an adjacent grocery store across the parking lot.

Only in Delta: Delta is home to The Egyptian Theatre, operated by the same folks who run the Tru Vu. The 750-seat Egyptian Revival movie house opened in 1928 at the height of the fashion for thematically-designed cinemas. It was one of the first theaters during the Great Depression to hold “Bank Night,” a promotion where a random patron won $30. This pilot program worked so well that by 1936 the promotion was in use at 4000 cinemas in the United States.

Next Stop: The Star Drive-In Theatre, Montrose CO.