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Previous Names: Starlight Drive-In
This is Utah’s oldest drive-in and was originally knows as the Starlight Drive-In when it opened April 21, 1950, with a capacity for 300 cars. It originally had a wooden screen that was destroyed by fire on April 17, 1957. After the fire new ownership constructed a new steel framed screen and renamed the drive-in to the Sunset Drive-In, re-opening on August 16, 1957 with a capacity for 400 cars. It was open seasonally, Memorial Day through Labor Day on weekends only. Audio was provided through FM radio. It screened double features.
On July 5, 2013 a deep-fat fire destroyed the concession building. This closed the theatre down and it never reopened.
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The Sunset Drive-In in July 1998:
The address for this theater is 1663 W. Highway 40, Vernal UT 84078 per Yelp. The address above is across the highway at what used to be a Chinese restaurant next to Super 8.
For Google Maps, the address 1663 US-191, Vernal UT works far better.
The drive-in has been demolished, so only the outline, ramps, and entrance remain.
Boxoffice, May 11, 1957: “VERNAL, UTAH – A short circuit in the wiring was blamed for a fire that destroyed the screen at the Starlite Drive-in west of town. Firemen were called at 11:45 p.m. and fought the raging fire, fanned by a high wind, until 2:30 a.m. Flames leaped 100 feet into the air until the 60-foot screen toppled over. Damage was estimated in the region of $1,200, part of which was covered by insurance. The drive-in is operated by Deward and Alson Shiner. They estimated that the theatre would be back in operation about June 1.”
The screen is sadly now gone along with the rest of the theater.