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America's Last, Remaining Drive-Ins Face a New Threat

America's Last, Remaining Drive-Ins Face a New Threat
Photograph by Arthur Tilley/Getty Images

In 1993, Chuck and Marianne James heard that the drive-in movie theater in the town of Pueblo, Colo., was scheduled for demolition. Like the nostalgic cinephiles they are, they bought the business. “We didn’t have a business plan or anything,” explains Chuck James, who’s now 58. “We just wanted to see if we could save it.”

Pueblo once boasted four drive-in theaters, but now the Mesa Drive-In, built in 1951, is the only one. The same thing has happening in towns across the country; the number of drive-ins in America has dwindled from over 4,000 in the 1960s to about 360 today.