Drive-in's donor campaign hits deadline $70,000 short

GIBSON CITY — With an Internet donation campaign hitting its deadline, the picture for Harvest Moon Drive-In is fading — but not completely dark.

Owner Michael Harroun said Friday that the drive has raised $50,000 of the $120,000 required by a Kickstarter online donation campaign, while time just ran out.

"It doesn't look good for movies here," said Harroun, as he is forced to switch to expensive digital equipment next year — two new projectors — or go out of business.

Distributors will no longer offer movies that run on his 1950s-era projectors.

"I didn't have a choice. Next year, my equipment won't work with the product," said Harroun, who operates the drive-in theater, a Gibson City mainstay, with his family.

Though this weekend is the end of the commercial film season at Harvest Moon, Harroun said, he hasn't given up hope.

"I'll keep it open if I can. I want to keep it open," he said.

"Miracles happen every day. We're just trying to get the word out that a local institution can be saved — it could be one rich person funding the whole thing, or a lot of people giving" $200 or $400.

A wealthy person, Harroun said, could get his or her name right up on the Harvest Moon's marquee.

There are shows at 7 p.m. today and Sunday, and then the season closes, except for a charity showing of "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted." That event will be Oct. 5 at the Harvest Moon, 1123 S. Sangamon Ave., Gibson City.

On Sept. 13, Fuji Film, one of the last and largest makers of 35 mm film stock, announced in a press release that it would halt all production next March.

Benjamin, Michael and William Harroun have run the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In Theatre since 1989.

The theater was built in the mid-1950s, at the height of the drive-in craze, but the owners note that it was one of the first in a rural area in the Midwest.

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on September 29, 2012 at 9:09 am
Profile Picture

People like watching the same things over and over, right? 

 

So why not buy/lease prints of old films, and show them in a regular rotation?

 

Rocky Horror - Fridays. 

The Wizard of Oz - every vernal equinox

The Manchurian Candidate - first weekend in November

Life of Brian - passover

Casablanca - Valentine's Day

Star Wars - February 6

Gone with the Wind - February 12

Deep Throat - August 19

 

 

and so on

lovie_01 wrote on September 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I agree.  I would be more likely to go to see an older movie than I would any current release.  The drive-in is not my preferred way to see a movie, especially a newer movie, so we only go rarely. 

Lilly Turner wrote on September 30, 2012 at 10:09 am

The drive-in currently has two projectors that show films on two screens simultaneously -- why not purchase one new projector with the money they have already raised, and continue fundraising for the second projector during the upcoming season?  Having one screen will obviously limit the variety of first-run movies they can host next season, but I don't think that people go to the drive-in just for the movie - it is more of an experience - watching a movie under the stars with your friends and/or family. I understand that the ideal/most profitable business model would suggest two projectors and screens, but scaling back to remain open while continuing their fundraising efforts, could provide a viable short-term option.