Future Uncertain for Randall Drive-In

By Christine Souders | csouders@nexstar.tv

Published 04/14 2014 07:47PM

Updated 04/14 2014 08:07PM

BETHEL, VT- Did you know, there are only 350 or so drive-in movie theaters left in the United States?

3 of them are in Vermont.

But an old favorite is now in jeopardy.

In rural Vermont, the outdoor movie experience began in Al Randall's backyard.

The year was 1954.

"It's been here for as long as I can remember, it's the first time I've ever seen a drive in movie theater," said Justin McCoart who made many childhood memories at this drive-in, and still even today spends summer nights with his family watching the big screen.

"I take my son there all the time. Go see movies, a double feature about $10 dollars. You can't beat it."

But creating more memories could prove to be a challenge.

"This is a throw back to a simpler time, and unfortunantly it's getting lost."

For the past 60 years, Randall Drive-In has been using this film, 35 mm, but Hollywood is requiring all theaters to upgrade to digital, which is going to cost a pretty penny.

It's cheaper for them, unfortunantly the cost of upgrading all the projectors is being pushed back on the theaters themselves," said Adam Gerhardt, an owner and operator at the Randall.

He said the film companies in Hollywood are shifting away from shipping 35 mm, and providing the blockbusters on a hard drive.

Not only are 35 mm films becoming more and more hard to come by, the projector alone is a sticker shock.

"The new one will be about a $75,000 dollar upgrade," said Gerhardt.

But he said the drive-in can stay open at least until mid summer if they can find $20,000 dollars to lease a projector.

So far, they've raised roughly $7,000.

"If we can't get those prints, we'll have to close.That's why we're pushing towards digital, so we can continue to get movies here," Gerhardt said.

Or we may be watching a piece of Americana become history.

Despite the circumstance, the drive-in does have a few new releases in hand and does plan to open in a week or two,

The Randall Drive-In is fundraising through Kickstarter.

It has until May 27th to reach their goal of $20,000 dollars.


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