8mm video of the Midway Drive In demolition posted on You Tube since 2008 (recorded October2005).(Source: Tim Babcock)


Bring back the drive in movie theater

As phase 2 begins in the state of Oregon, the business news is reporting that AMC is having trouble surviving as a theater chain if it doesn't reopen soon.p>

While AMC has been acquiring other theater chains over the past few years, including Galaxy and Carmike, money is tight for the company. This downtime hasn't helped their bottom line at all.

While some entertainment sources have stayed closed during phase 2, one entertainment source gained popularity during this crisis, the drive-in movie theater.

I grew up around drive in theaters living not too far from the Midway Drive In in Kent Washington (the first drive in movie theater to open in the Northwest). It was built just before World War 2 off of Highway 99 and So 240th Street and stayed in operation until 2004 when the popular Swap Meet was closed (the movies were stopped in 1990).

Then there was the Vally Drive In in Auburn that continued to operate 5 screens (the sixth screen was shut down due to wind storms) until 2012 as the result of digital conversion costs and the high real estate prices. It was something to see when all six screens were operating at night.

La Grande Drive In Theater (La Grande, Oregon)

While our family has visited the Motor-Vu Drive In in Dallas Oregon (now closed) and the La Grande Drive In in La Grande, Oregon (still open) they are nice settings in the Summertime to see a movie while keeping your family safe.

While the Midway Drive In and Valley Drive In theaters won't come back, there has been a popularity to put up a screen on closed multiplex theaters and show movies with cars parked in the lot.

One movie theater has attempted to do this in Bellevue/Redmond area.

Midway Drive In (Kent, WA). The first drive in the Northwest (showing movies from 1940-1990) before it was torn down to build a Lowes (drive in was used as a swap meet from 1973 until 2005). This photo shows the drive in after it was reconstructed in 1969 with a wide screen a year before it was torn down.