BARKHAMSTED, Conn. (WTNH)-- One of the last drive-ins in the state is going to need some help in order to keep the movies playing.
Donna McGrane knows almost all her customers by name.
Generations of families have been watching movies at the Pleasant Valley Drive-In for more than 66 years.
"These projectors came off a WWII shop in 1947, they were purchased in Boston," said McGrane.
It has history, nostalgia and memories, and projectors that were built more than 75 years ago.
"It's just the rods striking each other, creates the illumination, it bounces against the mirror and when we open the shutter it's lights, camera, action, so it's an actual flame," said Helen Crump, Barkhamsted.
At the end of the year, Hollywood will end an era and put out the flame. They will no longer be distributing movies on film reels. It will all be digital and the film projectors will go dark.
"People who own drive-ins like this do it for the love of it, because they certainly don't get rich off of it. They do it for the love of it and those people can't afford to make the switch," said McGrane.
At the Spotlight in Hartford, they are all digital state of the art, their movies run on servers and to convert to this would cost too much money.
"I have been told that when they make the switch and stop making 35MM, a third of the theaters, not just drive-in's but all theaters across the country will go dark," said McGrane.
There is a dim hope for the honest to goodness old fashioned flames that project the images on the screen. Honda is offering four free digital projectors to the drive-in theaters that are voted most popular.
"When you hear that this may be its last run next weekend, it's sad. This place has been around a long time, it's sad," said Bob Gleason, of Barkhamsted.
When asked if he had gone back to see the projectors, Gleason said "a long time ago, they are still the same ones."
You can come take a tour of the projection room before or after the show to see a piece of history. But you will have to hurry because depending on the weather, next weekend could be the last time the drive-in shows a movie, unless they win the contest.
Help them out by going to projectdrivein.com.
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