Kings Drive-in Theater in Hanford may close for good

October 25, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
One of the Valley's last drive-in theaters is closing for the season -- and possibly for good.

Last month, Action News told you about an online effort to save the Kings Drive-in Theater in Hanford at Lacey Boulevard and 14th Avenue. The owner has dealt with vandalism and dwindling attendance and now it seems this could be the final weekend for the aging theater.

Geraldine Graff works the box office seven days a week at a drive in theater she inherited from her late husband. Lately, the crowds have gotten smaller and smaller. "I closed up for two nights because one person came on Monday and two people came on Tuesday. It's not enough," said Graff.

Then, there's the battle against vandals. They've cut a hole in the fence and damaged parts of the snack bar. If that wasn't enough, 35 millimeter projectors are becoming a thing of the past... so just staying in business would require an investment in a new digital system... an upgrade that would take more than just money. "It's an old building. They'd have to tear down this wall and rewire the whole building," said Geraldine's daughter, Catherine Graff.

Geraldine Graff says the theater opened after World War Two. In the decades since, it's brought new generations to the drive in experience. At eight dollars a car, it's also a bargain. "It's more affordable for families to go to. For us to go the theater to buy tickets and snacks it cost $60 to $70. That's a lot of money," said Jennifer Desmarais of Lemoore.

Last month, a community generated Facebook page was created in hopes of saving the theater. That page has nearly 5 thousand likes but as the theater closes for the season, the owner acknowledges it may not reopen again. "I've got five months to think it over. So we'll see what happens," said Geraldine Graff.


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