There is a movie night coming up soon in Yukon.
Yukon Parks and Recreation hosts “Movie Night on The Chisholm Trail,
8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13.
The movie will be the 1982 classic “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial”.
I have wondered recently if Yukon ever had a drive-in movie theater. The remnants of the Lakeaire Drive-in are just down the Mother Road in Bethany near the old Lake Overholser bridge. And the Winchester Drive-in remains open on Oklahoma City’ south side.
There were movie theaters for those who preferred to walk inside and sit down to see a picture show in Yukon that were located along Main Street in Yukon that are no longer there. I got to see a picture of the bygone Ritz Theatre this week when I took a tour of the old train passenger car, the chair car, that sits on the north side of Main Street today maintained by the Yukon Historical Society.
There is a lot of Yukon’s history in photos and other memorabilia stored in a railroad passenger train car that just north of Main Street downtown. The Yukon Historical Society offers free tours of the train cars, mini-museums.
When Yukon Historical Society Vice President Doug Barnes opened the train car door, the musty smell of the interior and the relics inside made me think of another era, like a railroad depot would smell in 1905. There are boxes of photographs to flip through, and mannequins inside that are dressed as Czech dancers. Garth Brooks photo is on the wall. There is the story of the flour mill, of course, Yukon’s Best told in old Yukon Sun newspaper articles and in pictures. A headline from a 1959 Yukon Sun article was about how life was in 1890.
A photo from the 1950s showed a Progress Beer sign downtown. Another theater of Yukon’s past is the Star Theater.
I’ve often wondered what the job of a projectionist would have been like in a movie theater before the 1970s. While you got to watch all the movies playing shows on the reel-to-reel cameras of the past, it was often that the projector broke down or the film split or something. Then there was the pressure to fix it before the people wanted their money back.
That job might have had a bit of pressure. Kind of like this one trying to report the news when the internet goes down.
Back to the movies. The need for escapism has not gone away with the era of America’s downtown, small town movie theaters and drive-ins. Those projectors improved over the years. There were fewer breakdowns.
Today, I am not sure what the status of the movie theater industry is really, but like everything else, probably on a downturn.
As I left the historical society’s downtown train cars, I joked with Barnes about whether or not airplanes would soon be parked in museums. I’ve heard the airline industry is taking it hard with fewer travelers and more layoffs expected. I do want to take a train some place.
And I do want to go to the drive-in soon. And the movie night outside in Yukon sounds great for a start.