Gregory, SD – Oldest South Dakota Drive-In Theater to Get New Projector

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on May 24, 2017 at 6:43 am

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From US News: South Dakota’s oldest drive-in movie theater will install a new digital projector to replace equipment that has been in place since the theater was built in 1947.

The Hilltop Drive-In Theatre in Gregory will install a $45,000 projector this summer as part of a project that’s being funded largely funded through donations from movie-goers, The Daily Republic (http://bit.ly/2qMYS8D ) reported.

“We had no choice, we had to replace it if we wanted to stay open, as our other equipment got completely outdated,” said drive-in owner Cecil Harsin.

The project has raised about $20,000 and will continue fundraising through the summer, The Daily Republic reported.

The projector will allow the drive-in to show films in higher resolution, better clarity and brighter pictures. Harsin said the new projector will help the theater stay open for several years as long as interest remains high. Harsin said between 40 and 50 people attend shows each night the theater is open, and he hopes the new projector will attract more movie-goers.

The theater only shows movies that are less than two weeks old, Harsin said.

“I think the outdoor theater is kind of a nostalgic thing, people want to be outside, under the stars,” Harsin said. “It’s been open each day since 1947, so we sure plan on keeping that going as long as we can.”

Harsin started working at the theater in 1945 in a part-time job running the projector. He bought the theater in 1989, when the previous owners threatened to close it.

Hilltop Drive-In Theatre is one of about six drive-in theaters in South Dakota.

Story link: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/south-dakota/articles/2017-05-16/oldest-south-dakota-drive-in-theater-to-get-new-projector

ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at historictheatres.org

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