Morning commuters along Tucker Road were greeted with an odd sight on Friday, July 19, 2013. On the corner a familiar landmark was being moved. The old Drive-In Theatre sign was coming down.
The Trail Drive-In Theatre first opened on Friday, June 5, 1953. Built by Groat Construction Company of Portland, it was jointly-owned by Jones Enterprises and the Hood River local, Baynes McSwain. The Drive-In could fit 400 cars comfortably. Over the Trail Drive-In Theatre’s history other owners included movie giants Act III and Regal Cinemas. The Drive-In ran between April and late October or early November depending on the weather. The Trail Drive-In Theatre got a major boost when the only other theater in Hood River, the Rialto, closed in the mid-70s, making the Drive-In the only theater left in Hood River. It was at this time that the Trail Drive-In Theatre became a “MoPed” theater. Newly christened the Trail Twin Theatre, visitors could go to the drive-in or to an indoor theater where the old playground once was. The Trail Twin Theatre’s life was further extended when it became a popular activity for windsurfers in the evenings during the 80s. The Trail Twin Theatre was finally put to rest when several new theaters opened in Hood River. The Drive-In ended its run on Tuesday, October 31, 2000. The Indoor Theatre closed shortly after on Sunday, December 10, 2000.
The sign was donated to WAAAM by Tucker Road Properties, LLC. It will be restored back to its former glory and used, as it was intended to be used, as a welcoming sign for the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum.
Check out the album of the move on Facebook here.
Fun Facts about the Drive-In:
- The first movie showed at the Trail Drive-In Theatre was MGM’s Across the Wide Missouri starting Clark Gable.
- The last movie aired at the Drive-In screen was Urban Legends: Final Cut.
- The Drive-In screen partially blew over in mid-December 2000 and was fully demolished soon after.
- The Trail Drive-In Theatre originally had a small playground to try and entice families to come to the movies.
- In 1966, daylight savings time became officially-sanctioned. This extra hour of daylight helped spell the end for drive-in theaters because movies would run too late for children and other people with curfews.
- Windsurfers visiting the Trail Twin Theatre would often sit on the roofs of their cars with camp chairs, and on some memorable occasions, couches, so that they could see the screen better.
- People had a tendency to accidentally drive away with the Drive-In speakers, especially during the ending days of the Trail Twin Theatre. The local co-Owner, Baynes McSwain, would have an annual recall to get people to return them.
- There were only 8 “MoPed” theaters in the United States including the Trail Twin Theatre.