Sometimes I don’t need a good excuse to share a video. But I’ve got one anyway. I’m finishing my next book, Drive-Ins of New Mexico, which is how I found out about the one in little Chama there.
Back in 1996, Albuquerque Journal writer Toby Smith had a story about the state’s old drive-ins. He included a sidebar where he mentioned most of them. “One drive-in, in Chama,” he wrote, “called itself Kelly’s, after the resident who owned it”. I was amazed, because that drive-in never showed up on any of the industry lists.
Digging into my reference works, I found out that Michael Kelly returned from serving in World War II and soon began running the indoor Rainbow Theatre in Chama. A few years later (this video says 1960), he built a small drive-in south of town. I only have access to scattered local newspapers, but I know that the Rainbow Drive-In advertised in June 1968. When Kelly died in 1978, Boxoffice remembered him as the operator of the Rainbow Theatre and the Chama Drive-In. So I’m not sure what to call this drive-in.
The story got better. A few years ago, a local group called Elevate Chama started hosting movies and other events on the old drive-in grounds. If they run enough of them, I ought to add the Chama drive-in to the Carload active list. Hmmm.
Anyway, I also found this drone’s-eye view of Chama’s drive-in, posted five years ago on YouTube by Roger Hogan, aka Wacky Roger. It’s been too long since I posted a good drone video, so here you go. I’ll let you know when the book is available.