While the movie projector at the Spud Drive In has been blasting films onto the giant screen for 53 years, its longevity has not been able to keep up with technology.
Without a digital projector, the iconic drive-in may be left with nothing to show but classic films. But while bringing the theatre into the digital age is essential, it’s also pricey.
To fund the purchase of a digital projector the theatre has started a t-shirt campaign.
“We have 3,400 people on Facebook who are friends,” Dannelle Mangum, manager of the theatre said.
She figures if each of them bought a t-shirt, it would pay for a new projector. The quotes she has received for the machine put the cost at a round $6,500.
Its not an investment that a drive-in would get a quick return on either.
“Our projector costs twice what an indoor projector costs, yet we only have 5 months to make that money and can only do one show [a day],” Magnum said.
Outdoor projectors are twice as expensive as their indoor counterparts because they have to reach twice as far. But to be able to offer movies patrons want to see, the upgrade is necessary. According to Mangum, the selection of movies on old-fashioned movie reels is becoming ever slimmer. Most new films are produced on digital film only.
“It would expand our ability to bring in entertainment in al lot of different ways,” she said.
Magnum remains hopeful that she can rally the support.
“I believe there’s enough people out there that love the Spud as much as I do that we can accomplish it,” she said.
The blue t-shirts with the theatre’s symbolic truck and potato are available at the theatre, at spuddrivein.com, and at High Country Quilts. Wearing the t-shirt to the theatre will also get patrons a $1 off their admission.