Help Save Graham Drive-In Theater - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Help Save Graham Drive-In Theater

You may think drive-in movie theatres are a thing of the past only seen in old-time movies.

Luckily Texas still has 13 of them and one is right here in Texoma in Graham but an issue that all drive-in theaters nationwide are facing could force it to shut down.

An original projector from the 1950's, the classic 35mm film and speakers also from the 50's make you feel like you're stepping back in time whenever you go to Graham's Drive-In Theater. After all, it has been entertaining Texomans for the past 75 years.

"I mean, you can go to the movies whenever but it's a whole different experience going to the drive-in," said a fan of the drive-in.

And another drive-in customer said, "You put your chairs up on top of your pick-up truck or around, and the kids get to run around and then they watch the movie. You have the stars above you."

J. Hawkins, the drive-in's manager said, "It really is a tourism boost for our small town and it brings in some dollars from out of town so it really is important to Graham not only as a cultural piece but also as part of our economy."

But Hawkins said, that tourism boost might disappear now that all drive-ins nationwide are being forced to keep up with technology.

"The 35mm film is going away and that's the big problem so we have to make a digital conversion," said the manager.

The price tag for going digital is about $130,000. If drive-in owners can't come up with the hefty amount before the end of the year, they might have to shut it down.

"It would just be a shame to come this far with something, keep it this long and not be able to keep it alive for future generations," said Hawkins.

But there's a way you could help save the drive-in. Honda is hosting a national online contest called "Project Drive-In." The one in Graham is one of 50 chosen to participate.

Hawkins said, "They're going to give five of those theaters a digital conversion. We are hoping to be one of those five but it's entirely based on how many votes you get online so we need the community to really come out and vote for us."

Voting starts August 9th at 9a.m. You can vote by going to www.projectdrivein.com. You can do it once a day until September 9th. All you need is a valid e-mail address.

 

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6

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