A Righteous Affair: Saluting the End of An Era and Saying Farewell to the Apache Drive-In
By: Jenn Walker & Linda Gross
More than a week ago, the Globe Miami Times hosted the Final Salute to the Apache Drive-In. As a publisher, we are still catching our breath. But now that the event is over, we are looking at these photos with a sense of pride and contentment. For those who are curious, we present you with a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes for a small, independently-owned publication to put on such a behemoth of an event, from start to finish, hiccups and all.
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As a local publication, writing feature stories on people and culture in the region is what we do best. When Bobby Hollis, owner of the Apache Drive-In, told us the drive-in was closing, we saw an opportunity to not only tell a story, but to host a memory-making event that would acknowledge the importance of the drive-in in our community, and send it off with the “bang” it deserved. We recognized that this was not only a local story, but a national one as well, as Hollywood continues to push drive-ins and small town cinemas to convert to digital (or “go dark” as they say). We wrote about this in our July issue.
Hollis gave us the go-ahead to plan and host a commemorative event at the end of September, after he showed the last regular double-header of the season on September 8.
We began planning almost immediately, and had enough of the plan together by July to send out press releases across the state. Since the Apache Drive-In was the last single-screen drive-in standing in Arizona, and one of two drive-ins left, period, we knew its closing would be news to many. Channel 3 and Prescott News picked up the story, as well as Amy Gleich with the Cronkite School of Journalism, who traveled out to Globe to spend a day interviewing Hollis and others. (You can read her piece here.) Our story was also picked up by the Tucson Weekly, the Miami Herald, Kansas City Star and others.
Initially, we planned on showing the film “Midnight Run” (part of which was filmed right here in Globe), but we could no longer get the 35 mm film. A sign of the times. So, while “American Graffiti” may have been our second choice initially, in hindsight it is hard to imagine the event developing with as much enthusiasm for “days gone by” without having shown the most iconic drive-in film of all time!
Even better, “American Graffiti” was celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. That was a bit of luck on our part, which helped lend a broader appeal to our story.
To design an event which will not come around again is a bit challenging. You get one shot at creating a memorable time, and no second chances. You get just one opportunity to build up to the real deal. So we made fairly large plans from the start. We designed copper commemorative key fobs, custom labels and and printed materials for the day of the event, and we staged a photo shoot with the Golden Oldies car club in front of the drive-in to create a commemorative poster. Our thanks go out to our creative director, JLeeCreative, who not only handles the layout of the paper for us, but was the creative talent behind the memorable graphics and design used for the Final Salute. Also, thanks to Western Reprographics and Oasis Printing — two local businesses we rely on tremendously for all we do — who worked overtime to get us everything we needed on the day of the event! ~Linda Gross, owner of Globe Miami Times
Helping us set up the ambiance for the night was Rudy Amador, of Globe, who agreed to channel Wolfman Jack for the evening and host our Wolfman Jack contest, and Randy Bengsten, who worked behind the scenes for two days to set up the stage and run lights for us so we could shine that night.
Others included Randy Sullivan with Sullivan Paving, who brought us not eight tons of sand as we initially requested — but fifteen — to create an awesome 45-foot dance floor of soft sand where attendees danced, hoola-hooped and twisted the night away.
We also thank Molly Cornwell, whose creative talent in booth design is nothing short of a beautiful mystery to us. It was Cornwell who laid out the Globe Miami Times merchandise booth that night, using old vinyl records for cupcake stands and popcorn tins for risers to display our product.
And we thank the Summer Youth Musical Theater Program and director Diana Tunis for the wild, paisley backdrop that completed our stage. Its groovy colors and pattern were a perfect backdrop for all the stage performances that night.
And, we must give a shout out to Scott and the Social Chimp photo booth. Big hit! More people wished they had made it to the booth that night, but those that did posed, giggled, and had a good time in front of the camera. We underwrote the cost for the booth so YOU could have fun… and you did! For a complete view of the images that night, check this out.
If you want to see all the images taken in ‘The Booth,” or want to purchase more than the small images offered through Social Chimp, you can get higher resolution images or larger prints from us at a special price, and “2-for-1” packages through the end of the year, here: Final Salute Photo Booth Pics. And, you can view even MORE photos taken by our photographer, available for purchase, here.
Our co-emcee for the evening was Gary Murrey, the general manager of Apache Gold Casino. As both a father and grandfather, he knows how to entertain and engage a crowd from the wee, little ones to the adults, and it wasn’t long before he had everyone hoola-hooping and channeling their rock star status on stage! His generosity showed when he awarded not one pair of concert tickets to winners of the “Group” category, but to every member of every group from 1st prize to 3rd prize! In addition, Apache Gold Casino gave away dinners to Apache Grill, and VIP passes to concerts in October and November.
We also want to thank Miami Auto and Tire… who was a big contributor to the evening, donating a complete set of Coker white, side wall tires for a raffle to raise funds for the Local Meals on Wheels program. The raffle netted the program nearly $400, and the lucky guy holding the winning ticket was none other than Keith of the local Golden Oldies Car Club. Manager Tyson LaFrance was on hand with his entire crew that night, and was happy to give the award.
And finally, our heartfelt thanks go out to all of you who helped us make this a successful “Final Salute” to the Apache Drive-In.
Thank you: Hollis Family, Apache Gold Casino, Miami Auto and Tire, Sullivan Paving, APS, Simply Sarah, The White Porch Gifts and Antiques, Home Hero Capes, Pretty Patty Lou’s, United Jewelry, Pickle Barrel Trading Post, The Temp Connection, FROST gelato, Apache Gold Grill, Vida E Caffe, Allied Gas, Social Chimp Photo Booth, Western Reproduction, friends, volunteers and workers who all helped us make it a memorable night! There are too many to thank here, but you know who you are, and we couldn’t have done it without each of you!
THANK YOU ALL!
An estimated 150 cars and 400 to 500 people attended the Final Salute, including attendees who drove in from Flagstaff, Tucson, Scottsdale, Chandler and the Globe-Miami area.
PRESS RELEASES and MEDIA LINKS:
For other coverage of the event, please check out these links
Also, a special thanks to Stina Sieg and KJZZ for doing such a great job of covering the event, from beginning to end.
Writer, photographer. Passionate foodie, lover of good books and storytelling. Lives in Globe. Plays in the historic district. Travels when possible.