3. Throwback Thursday: Where Have Seattle’s Drive-In Movie Theaters Gone?
By Nick Shekeryk
I remember it like it was yesterday— my mom would whip up a huge vat of homemade buttered popcorn, fill our Volkswagen van with soda, sports drinks and other sugary delights before taking my brother, my friends and I to one of the two local drive-in movie theaters.
Located on the northern and southern edges of the Greater Seattle area were Everett’s Puget Park Theater and the Valley 6 Outdoor Theater in Auburn. Hanging out with a bunch of preteen boys hyped up sugar and watching a double feature of something along the lines of Jurassic Park and The Sandlot was probably not the ideal way for my mom to spend a summer night on a Friday, but it was appreciated on our end— especially now that the possibility of going to one of these once popular local theaters is no longer an option.
Drive-In movie theaters hit the height of their popularity in the 1950’s and 1960’s as a great summer evening activity for people of all ages. By the time the nation’s capital celebrated the 75th anniversary of this once beloved activity in the June of 2008, many of drive-in theaters around the country had closed down, with Puget Park and Valley 6 meeting their demise soon after—in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
While Puget Park get turned into a hospital and Valley 6 remains a deserted piece of land, people are finding summer movie fun at outdoor screens in places such as breweries and public parks. Sitting on a patch of lumpy grass surrounded by tons of people may seem like a fun thing, but having remembered those summer nights of my youth piled in the back of my family van at a local drive-in theater, a movie at the park pales in comparison.
The chances of visiting a drive-in movie theater are all but dead in Seattle, but if you’re up for making a trek out of town, there are five locations that still operate in Washington state— the closest one being in Bremerton. Though it’s not that convenient to drive hours for a couple movies you can see in your local theater or on Netflix in a few weeks, taking a trip into the past with a double feature from the comfort of your own vehicle might offer a unique and simple joy that few get to experience today.
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