Visiting the site of the Sunset Drive-In was the brightest moment of all the research that went into these pages. Because whoever owns the Sunset -- and notice that I'm using the present tense here -- is keeping this gorgeous artifact in a state of suspended animation.
To what end, I cannot say. But the screen's still up. And the snack bar is still there. As are the marquee, the ticket booth, the roadway lights, the speaker poles, the speakers...
God love him, the guy even seems to be walking the field with a sprayer full of Round-Up, because while there are a few weeds out there, the accent is most definitely on few. One person could have it cleaned up and ready for business in an afternoon.
You can't imagine how badly we wanted to get out there and wander around. Get up close and personal with the concessions stand. Even -- dare we think it -- take a peek inside the booth? But we were polite and went to the (obviously-occupied) trailer at the back of the field and asked for permission first. And the woman who lives there told us: "No, I don't think so -- the man who owns it really doesn't like people looking around."
Well, who can blame him? Does the Metropolitan Museum of Art let tourists stomp around on the Degas?
We stole a few photos before we left, though. Poked around the edges where we could. Grabbed at the chainlink like kids on the wrong side of the fence from a circus train.
All it'll take is a man or woman who can dream a dream...one determined operator...a couple thousand clams' worth of fixer-upper money...a hammer to pry the boards off the windows...a phone call to the nearest distributor...
Copyright 1998, Ernie Longmire (Lazlo Nibble). All rights reserved.