May 10: Skyline Drive-In Theater, Shelton WA

Skyline Drive-In marquee and screen

photo by Jasperdo, from the Carload Flickr pool

It’s Day 130 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. I was ready for a longer drive, but thanks to I-5 it took less than three hours to drive from Newberg OR to the Skyline Drive-In Theater in Shelton WA.

The Skyline opened in 1964 by two guys who were painters by day at the Bremerton Navy Shipyard. One of the two passed away a couple of decades later, and the survivor sold the Skyline to Dorothea Mayes in 2005.

In 2013, Christopher Mayes, the owner’s son, launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise money towards a digital projector. He told the Kitsap Sun, “We were only halfway there when we had 24 to 48 hours left to go. Kickstarter is all-or-nothing, and people tend to procrastinate. We went into the final 24 to 48 hours with a couple big pledges, which was enough of a late boost for Kickstarter to put us on their front page. Then we had people from all over the country and the world giving back.”

So in 2014 the Skyline celebrated its 50th anniversary and The News Tribune of Tacoma interviewed several employees for a retrospective article. Longtime projectionist Ken Layton, who started in 1992, remembered that then-owner Dave Thibodeau often had a paintbrush in hand and was always painting something at the drive-in.

The Skyline is open Fridays through Sundays this time of year, leaving me without a movie for another Wednesday night.

Miles Today / Total:  148 / 14462 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 59

Nearby Restaurant: The Taylor Station Restaurant is within walking distance of the Skyline, if one would ever want to walk from a restaurant to a drive-in. It looks about as old at the Skyline, with family-restaurant furnishings inside and a fish pond out back. I had pork chops with a baked potato, and it tasted just like such meals used to taste.

Where I Virtually Stayed: I would have been interested in staying at the Little Creek Casino Resort, but it was booked solid. The second best choice, a Super 8, was a lot closer and it was available. My room was clean, it had a fridge, the wifi was fast enough to stream TV on my tablet, and breakfast was enough to get me going. And the price was great.

Only in Shelton: As mentioned on Roadside America, Shelton is home to a large metal pig. It stands in front of Spike’s Hydraulics & Fire Equipment on the east side of town, an was apparently placed there to protest property tax assessments. Its early description and photos show the words County Assessor on the side, but in a Google Street View image (shot at night – first time I’ve seen that) from November 2016, the barely-visible pig now has GREED as its new message. (There’s a daylight photo here.)

Next stop: Rodeo Drive-In Theatre, Bremerton WA.

Drive-in author tells USA Today his top ten

Mesa Drive-In marquee with photo creditAt one level, I look at USA Today’s story, posted late last night, as pure link bait. Any top ten list is designed to pull in visitors from all over just because its title is intriguing and its slide show is eye candy. On the other hand, they used my photo! So now I can change that line on my resume to “Award-winning photographer featured in USA Today.”

Where was I? Oh yes, the article. Well-known drive-in historian Don Sanders gave USA Today’s Larry Bleiberg his top ten favorite drive-in theaters. I don’t know if they were the top ten active drive-ins, or whether it just happens that Sanders’ favorites all happen to still be alive. There are notes and photos for each, so you really should go read it! But here is a quick summary:

Project Drive-In roundup 4: The list that wouldn’t die

In the third installment of our roundup of candidates for Honda’s Project Drive-In, I predicted that Honda would choose more than five lucky recipients of digital projectors. What I really didn’t anticipate was that Honda would reopen voting for the second set of winners.

With another round of voting comes another round of candidates that we haven’t mentioned so far, along with some (marked with an asterisk) who saw new stories about them after voting was extended. If you’re reading this, you’re already online, so go vote for your favorite!

* This drive-in was in a previous roundup, but a new story has been published about it after Honda extended voting for Project Drive-In.