Drive In Theater May Be Forced To Close

The owner is unable to afford the conversion to digital technology.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    The owner of a local drive in movie theater fears digital technology may soon drive her out of business.

    Donna McGrane has owned the Pleasant Valley Drive In Theater in Barkhamsted for 18 years.

    The drive in shows movies to customers four nights a week, six months a year.

    However, McGrane fears she will soon have to close because she can't afford to upgrade from film to digital technology.

    The movie industry plans to stop offering movies on film by the end of the year and she can't afford the $70,000 conversion to computerized digital equipment, she said.

    The theater still uses its original film projectors from the 1940's.

    "I couldn't even warrant it if they made me.  I would either have to go to old movies, try and find old prints, or completely shut down," McGrane said.

    Robin Matthews brought her niece and nephew to the drive in Friday night because they had never been to one before.

    "I have great memories of going out with my parents, sitting in the station wagon and watching movies and I can't imagine them growing up without that kind of experience," said Matthews.

    Angela Scapin drove from Massachusetts.

    "This is the only one we have.  I come an hour and ten minutes away.  I wouldn't know where I would go," said Scapin.

    McGrane says she's hoping the industry will decide to continue offering some movies on film.

    "If we have to shut it down, it will be really sad," said McGrane.

    The two other drive in theaters in Connecticut have already converted to digital technology.