The drive-in screen at Soap Lake.
The efforts to keep the Auto Vue Drive-In near Colville from going the way of the dinosaur have been rewarded.
According to owner Steve Wisner, he has recently purchased a digital, 65-foot wide movie screen from the now closed Park In Drive-In at Soap Lake.
â€śThis is really exciting, and I want to thank the lady who tipped me off about the screen,â€ť said Wisner last Friday.
Last summer, Wisner was looking at the possibility of closing the Auto Vue because of the film industryâ€™s transition to digital, and the high costs associated with changing over his equipment, which included the screen and projector.
Wisner had already taken out a loan to upgrade the Alpine Theater, the traditional cinema he owns in Colville, from old-school film to state-of-the-artÂ digital.
Digital or nothing at all - no more film
And he wasnâ€™t the only one. Drive-ins and small town movie theaters around the nation face the same dilemma, since the film industry has phased out sending film to theaters.
So itâ€™s either go digital or go nowhere for many mom and pop theaters.
But after the expense of converting his theater equipment, Wisner said he simply couldnâ€™t borrow the $186,000 it would take to modernize the Auto Vueâ€™s projection system as well as replace its dangerously frailÂ screen, which was built from cedar.
*To read the full story, see the 1-29-14 edition of the S-E.