Silver Sky-Vue Drive In

2152 E. Highway 180,
Silver City, NM 88061

224 cars

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•Listed in the Film Daily Yearbook’s of 1955 thru 1968 as “Silver Sky Vu”; one of two ozoners in Silver City (the other one in all 3 of the aforementioned issues was the “Copper Drive-In”). Note the absence of the hyphen between “Sky” and “Vu” and also note the absence of the “e” from the end of “Vue”. Since my (albeit limited) research has always shown it spelled as “Silver Sky-Vue Drive In” (particularly in old newspaper advertisements), I will assume that these minor details are simply one of Film Daily Yearbook’s many typos.

•Car capacity, depending on which of two sources you go with (neither one is particularly more credible than the other) has been noted as 224 or 275

•Listed owners are as follows:

1955: H.D. McLoughlin
1961-1965: Silco Theatres
1975: Lowell Cain

•Today, the property on which the drive in operated is divided into 2 different address listings:

2152 E. HI-WAY 180
2154 E. HI-WAY 180

•It’s important to keep in mind that A. The two different addresses were all one single address and lot in the drive-in days (it is not clear what that was, however) and B. What is now known as HI-WAY 180 has been known under 2 different names from the time the drive-in opened until today; Hwy 260 and HI-WAY 180 (AKA US-260 & US-180, respectively)

•From 1957-1961 it was being listed as being at “Ft. Bayard Hwy and Hwy 260” and in 1965 it was listed as being located at “SILVER SKY-VUE DRIVE IN-HIGHWAY 180 EAST”.

•Post-theatre listings for the site are as follows: 1.Kmart Discount Stores, Div. of SS Kresce Co, Store #9062 (mgr. Ed Brruo) 2152 E. HI-WAY 180 1980-1992 2.Argent Automotive, Inc. 2154 E. HI-WAY 180 1999 3.Big “A” Argent Automotive 2154 E. HI-WAY 180 1999 4.Carquest of Silver City 2154 E. HI-WAY 180 2010-2012

•A 1965 advertisement in the Frontier Edition of the Daily Press states that the operators of the Silver Vue were also the operators of the Gila Theatre in Silver City and the Bayard Theatre in Bayard.

•Telephone number listed for the theatre in 1955 was 010-R4

•The Silver Sky-Vue Drive In premiered (and was one of very few theatres that dared to screen) the groundbreaking & controversial 1954 Herbert Biberman picture, “Salt of the Earth” (89 min); a film that would prove to be quite historically significant. I located an informative 2-page essay about the film which, due to it’s focus on the film itself as opposed to the theatre, I will refrain from posting here in the theatre description.

Contributed by A.L. Vazquez-Hernandez

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on November 20, 2019 at 8:28 am

The beginning of the dream? Motion Picture Herald, June 21, 1952: “Steve Ward has resigned as Paramount salesman, and with associates, will build a drive-in theatre near Silver City, N. M.”

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on November 28, 2019 at 3:41 pm

Same drive-in? Boxoffice, Nov, 24, 1975: “James Moss, doing business as Moss Theatres, has taken over the operation of the Gila and Sundowner drive-ins, Silver City, N.M., from Les Dollison of Dollison Theatres, headquartered in El Paso, Tex.”

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on December 30, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Because of lead times and overly optimistic developers, some “have opened” notices in trade publications didn’t actually follow the drive-in’s opening. I wonder if this is one of those examples.

Boxoffice, July 21, 1951: “Ray and Herbert Johnson have opened their new 400-car, $60,000 drive-in at Silver City, N. M.”

Boxoffice, Sept. 8, 1951: “SILVER CITY, N. M. – Ray Johnson and Herbert Johnson have opened the first drive-in theatre in Grant county. It is located on the Silver City-Central highway, about four miles east of here.”

Boxoffice, Jan. 5, 1952: “Herbert and Ray Johnson have opened their new 450-car Copper Drive-In at Silver City, N. Mex., and hope to make it a year-round operation.”

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on January 1, 2020 at 3:42 pm

Boxoffice, April 4, 1953: “George Dowdle has bought the Copper Drive-In, Silver City, N.M., from Herbert Johnson.”

MichaelKilgore
MichaelKilgore on January 17, 2020 at 4:26 pm

Boxoffice, July 6, 1957: “The screen tower at the Copper Drive-In, Silver City, N. M., was blown down. The ozoner will be closed about a month while the tower and screen are being replaced”

Boxoffice, Aug. 24, 1957: “SILVER CITY, N.M. – The Copper Drive-In here has been reopened after considerable renovation and reconstruction. Jack Dunn, manager, said a number of smaller improvements also had been made. The theatre is owned by Dollison Theatres of Santa Rosa, N.M., and Sherman, Tex., headed by L. R. "Les” Dollison."

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