Starlight Drive-In

The Starlight Drive-In was opened in 1952 at 12 mile by Tom Hetherington. The first movie shown was a war movie “The Tanks Are Coming”. The outdoor theatre could take in 300 cars and sometimes it was full. Rose Donaldson was a very familiar face at the Drive-In. She sold tickets at the drive through window and worked in the snack bar from 1958 to 1977. In 1978 Tom decided to get out of the business. Two of the last movies he ran were Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars. Frank and Shirley Price bought the drive-in and kept it open until the early 1980’s. The site is now a storage facility. The old reader board remains as a reminder of the drive-in theatre days.

Source: West Kootenay Weekender Friday June 19, 1998 article: “Reel Big Deal” by Bob Hall

Memories by Patsy Ormond
May 2014

The Starlight Drive-In, located at 10-mile, was a source of entertainment for area residents for approximately thirty years. Three generations of my family enjoyed the excitement of seeing a movie under the stars. My mom mentions going out to see a movie at the Starlight, quite regularly in the 1950’s, in her diaries.

Starlight Drive-In Ad  NDN July 26 1962

Starlight Drive-In Ad
NDN July 26 1962

As a kid in the 1960’s I can remember getting loaded into the car with PJ’s on, the floor of the back seat stacked up with sleeping bags, blankets and pillows and heading off down the road, late at night, to see a movie. Often I was packed into the house sound asleep on our return home.

As a teenager, in the late 1970’s, the Drive-In was party central. Whomever of my friends could get their parent’s car for the night would pick everyone up. The big thing was to try and see if you could get though the ticket booth with a few friends hiding in the trunk, thus not having to pay. It rarely, if ever, worked! Scary movies were the most exciting to see out there………in the wilderness……. in the dark. I was terrified for a week after seeing Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. And yes, I even had a few dates out at the Drive-In.

Starlight Drive-In Ticket-Patsy Ormond files

Starlight Drive-In Ticket-Patsy Ormond files

As I remember the snack bar was quite big. Hot dogs, hamburgers, fried onions, pop, chips, chocolate bars, licorice and of course popcorn were sold. As a kid, the advertisement for the snack bar that came on the screen at intermission always made us burst out laughing-especially the part where the wiener jumped into the hotdog bun! On the way back to the car, after visiting the snack bar, you had to be careful. I would bet almost everyone had the embarrassing experience of running right into a speaker wire on the way past someone else’s car. Or the really embarrassing moment of realizing you are getting into someone else’s car! It was pretty dark out there.

We had the chance to take our first child to the Drive-In, dressed in PJ’s with sleeping bag and pillow in the back seat, a few times before it closed down. It was great to get out without needing a babysitter. Things had come around full circle!

Starlite Drive In postcard -P.O. files

Starlite Drive In postcard -Patsy Ormond files

Until digging out this old post card I had forgotten about the gardens and playground. I do not remember the pool. I do remember going out there for the St. Andrew’s by the Lake Sunday School Picnic. I guess that would have been in the mid-1960’s.