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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » 91-year-old former Drive-In owner plans to build new outdoor movie theatres (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: 91-year-old former Drive-In owner plans to build new outdoor movie theatres
Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1859
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 04-10-2016 05:41 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
91-year-old former Sundown Drive-In owner plans to build new outdoor movie theatres
quote:
Saskatoon’s drive-in theatre king is back on the throne.

Duffy Besenski, 91, is coming out of retirement to build a four-screen drive-in movie theatre on 40 acres of land just east of the old Sundown Drive-In on Highway 5.

“What we’re going to do is put one screen up first so we can get it open in a few months and then we’ll build the other three,” Besenski said Friday.

“I want to put up a fancy concession like they have at the Galaxy so people can come out early. A games room and a playground in each one of them. Train rides and all those things.”

At one time, Besenski owned five drive-ins in Saskatchewan — the Sundown, the Southwinds on Highway 11 and drive-ins in Kindersley and Borden. In 1952, he and his father built the Golden West Drive-In Theatre in Humboldt, where he grew up.

“We built that thing with hammers and nails back then. There were no cranes or anything. We used to have to climb up ladders. Could have fallen off lifting the four by fours up.”

In contrast, the new theatre will be fully modern with digital projection — at a cost of about $100,000.

“They don’t use those great big reels anymore. They just use a chip now, they’re picking it off a satellite,” he said.

He expects the whole project will cost around $400,000.

“Got most of it. I still got the first dollar I earned in Humboldt,” he said.

After spending a month in Florida and talking to the owner of a four-screen drive-in there, he’s convinced drive-ins are coming back. The next step is to get a contractor, he said.

“I’ve got three guys I’m dealing with today, this afternoon.”

Besenski said his grandson will run the new Sundown. It’s exciting to be back in business, he added.

“I don’t want to be retired and sitting at home and watching the birds.

“All my family was saying, ‘Retire, retire.’ Since I was 65 and I sold the theatres on Eighth Street — I had two Duffy’s theatres on Eighth Street and Grosvenor. That was a bunch of foolishness. I should have never listened to the family.”

Besenski says his health is excellent; his father lived to 99.

“My doctor says I’ll live to be 100.”


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Scott Norwood
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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 04-10-2016 07:18 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What is the drive-in season like there? I would think that it would be a tough business north of the border.

In any case, I hope that this works out for him. Drive-ins are fun.

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Frank Cox
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From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
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 - posted 04-10-2016 07:35 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The only drive-in that I know of around here is the Twilite Drive-in in Wolseley and according to their website their first show last year was April 30 and the last show was Oct 11. I don't see any update for this year yet, though.

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Steve Kraus
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 - posted 04-11-2016 08:03 PM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
$400K for everything including projection????

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Mike Blakesley
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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 04-11-2016 08:05 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For one initial screen, maybe? Maybe he'll get a family crew together to build it.

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Rick Cohen
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From: Amherst, New York
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 - posted 04-13-2016 01:14 PM      Profile for Rick Cohen   Author's Homepage   Email Rick Cohen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There goes the grand kids' inheritance.

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Carsten Kurz
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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
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 - posted 04-13-2016 04:37 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That's why they told him 'retire!'

- Carsten

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Monte L Fullmer
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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 04-14-2016 07:29 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
He prob saw the greed in their eyes, why he getting rid of this money.

Yet, if their names is on the will for the property, lawyer will keep them in check on who gets what.

Plus, I've heard similar stories where retired people hate not doing anything, and figured that they can still do something. Thus, off to work they go while they still can.

Heard of a retired person going back to work. He retired at 66, went back to work at 68 and is still there presently at WalMart doing what he gets assigned each day to do. He's 104 years old.

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Barry Floyd
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 - posted 04-26-2016 11:46 AM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Steve Kraus
$400K for everything including projection????

Uhmmm... I built a new drive-in here in Tennesee back in 2003. I too thought I could build a drive-in for $400,000. By the time I spent all of my $400,000 I borrowed from the bank, all I had to show for it was a graded parking field, a 25x60 screen, and a 780 foot long privacy fence. I ended up going back to the bank with hat in hand begging for another $250K to finish the project.

If he DOUBLES that amount of money, he might end up with a single screen drive-in.

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Andrew Thomas
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From: Pearland, TX, USA
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 - posted 04-26-2016 05:08 PM      Profile for Andrew Thomas   Email Andrew Thomas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Barry Floyd
Uhmmm... I built a new drive-in here in Tennesee back in 2003. I too thought I could build a drive-in for $400,000. By the time I spent all of my $400,000 I borrowed from the bank, all I had to show for it was a graded parking field, a 25x60 screen, and a 780 foot long privacy fence. I ended up going back to the bank with hat in hand begging for another $250K to finish the project.

If he DOUBLES that amount of money, he might end up with a single screen drive-in.

Is land included in your price? If not, $800,000 for a single screen drive in is nuts.

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Ron Funderburg
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From: Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA
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 - posted 07-02-2016 01:43 PM      Profile for Ron Funderburg   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Funderburg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I believe he already owns the land. I hope the drive in has a longer life expectancy than the 91 year old that is building it. Drive ins are a tough go now - daylight savings time, short seasons usually, limited interest though week who wants to get up at 6:00 am after getting done at the drive in at 1:00 am? Worked in a few drive ins, ran two over the years. Always preferred indoor theaters. But that's just me.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 07-02-2016 08:42 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I got my first taste of the biz working at a drive in, helping out my buddy who was a projectionist. I never officially worked there but by helping out, I got free admissions and concessions, plus it was where "everybody" was in the summer so it was a pretty good deal.

The owner was a big John Wayne fan so for one summer, they'd show some old b&w Wayne movie as the second feature. Without fail most of the cars would leave after the first show except for two or three with steamed-up windows, so we'd have to sit there and run the movie for nobody watching. After a few weeks we got so tired of it we decided to try leaving a reel out of the John Wayne feature one night and see if anybody said anything. Nobody did, so we did it again on occasion whenever there was some fun post-movie event going on. (I feel un-professional admitting this now, but seriously, NOBODY was watching.)

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Ron Funderburg
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 - posted 07-03-2016 10:47 AM      Profile for Ron Funderburg   Author's Homepage   Email Ron Funderburg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
More babies were bread at drive in's than anyone would want to admit. How romantic, fumbling with her bra, pantyhose and panties in the flickering reflected light from the movie screen. The windows were fogging up providing privacy with only 5 or 10 of your buddies staring in trying to get a glimpse of the action. Oh, my youth it has passed me by, and I am the lesser for it. Still I have my "memories light the corner of my mind."

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Martin McCaffery
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 - posted 07-03-2016 12:44 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Film Daily: December 18, 1947: Birmingham, Ala.—Residents of Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham, are protesting erection of a drive-in under construction on the Montgomery Highway atop Shades Mountain. In a hearing before the City Council, residents did not object to the theater itself but to the "trouble" that might arise after the show when "loving and petting couples" would be left scattered "all over the mountainside."

The Drive-In is no longer there. I have no idea what became of the couples left scattered all over the mountainside.

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Jack Ondracek
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From: Port Orchard, WA, USA
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 - posted 07-03-2016 01:31 PM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Ron Funderburg
Drive ins are a tough go now - daylight savings time, short seasons usually, limited interest though week who wants to get up at 6:00 am after getting done at the drive in at 1:00 am? Worked in a few drive ins, ran two over the years. Always preferred indoor theaters. But that's just me.
That's a common observation from that part of the moviegoing public that prefers the indoor experience... and that's fine. We've always been impressed that people will start lining up at 6, at our boxoffice that opens at 7, for a show that starts at 9:45. Depending on the length of the double feature, many of them will be here until 2:30 the next morning. Our busiest time of the season is during the weeks our shows start the latest.

But that's just part of the experience. We get them in the gate, keep them relatively organized (read: herding cats), feed most of them at least once, supervise two playgrounds, get the concessions stocked back up, jump start more than a few dead batteries, inform a few that, for one reason or another, don't realized the show's over, and clean the place up for the next night. This time of year, we lock up well after 3.

Great fun!

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