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The Last Single Screen Drive-In Closes

This fall, Globe’s Apache Drive-In will close its gates on September 28. As the state’s last drive-in, with a capacity of just 200 cars, it has outlasted most. Within the last 25 years, Arizona has had all but two of its nearly 50 drive-ins close one by one.  The Apache Drive-In and the Glendale 9 Drive-In have been the only hold outs, and now Apache Drive-In’s time is coming to an end.

While most Arizona drive-ins have closed with little more fanfare than a banner hung on the gate to thank patrons who enjoyed them for decades, local media company Globe Miami Times has partnered with Hollis Cinemas to host its final picture show at Apache Drive-In on September 28. Together the two are planning a memory-making, gala event which will include the most iconic drive-in film of all time, “American Graffiti” (which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year), along with a “Fashion & Fenders” contest, tailgate party and a special salute to the Globe’s class of ’63, which will be celebrating their 50th anniversary that same weekend.

Hollis took the opportunity to announce the birth of his daughter on the Apache Drive-In Marquee in 2013. Photo by LCGross

“Something this important deserves a final chapter, ” says Linda Gross, publisher of Globe Miami Times. “As a publication, we have always looked for ways we can promote and preserve community, and acknowledge the rich history of our area. The closing of the Apache Drive-In is a significant event for this community, as well as the story of drive-ins everywhere.”

Globe Miami Times has been busy designing commemorative items for the final event, including a custom-cut key fob, platinum popcorn tins and commemorative posters that include a photo shoot with the Golden Oldies, a local car club on location.


Tickets are available online only, and early bird tickets are $79 per carload if purchased before August 15. The drive-in’s capacity is 200 cars for the evening, and every ticket holder will receive commemorative items, including the custom-cut key fobs and platinum popcorn tins. Attendees are encouraged to channel their best ’60s style and bring on the VO5 (the hairspray responsible for producing the biggest hairdos of that era).

The movie and the theme for the night will echo the heyday of the outdoor cinema in the late ’50 and ‘60s, when the number of drive-ins across the nation reached an all time high of 4,000 theaters.

Apache Drive-In also opened its first location in the ‘50s. The Hollis family, which has run several local theaters in Globe since that time, built and opened the current drive-in location in the mid ’70s.

Locally, the Apache Drive-In has traditionally been two things, remembers owner Bobby Hollis: a place for families to go, and a place where people can take their dates.

“You could put your kids in the backseat and they would fall asleep, you wouldn’t have to worry about them,” he says. “You could sit in the back of the pickup and have a beer.”

While movies have changed dramatically over the years, drive-ins have not changed one bit, he points out.

“Drive-ins have stood the test of time. They are the same as they were in the ‘50s and ‘60s, when drive-ins were huge and every town had one.”

The vintage nature of the drive-in theater is both its greatest asset and its downfall. Patrons go for the experience, not for surround sound.

Many, like the Apache Drive-In, operate on 35mm film. As studios continue to switch to digital, the availability of 35mm film is diminishing, and drive-ins will have to convert to digital to stay afloat. For Apache Drive-In, that switch is not financially feasible.

Thus, the Apache Drive-In will complete its last season this fall with a regular $10 per-carload double header on the first weekend in September, and a final gala on September 28 featuring “American Graffiti,” plus a lineup of events, for $79 per carload. Tickets for the this event will only be available online at lastpictureshow.eventbrite.com. Tickets will not be sold at the gate that night. Complete details are available on the event website.

About Linda Gross

Writer, photographer. Passionate foodie, lover of good books and storytelling. Lives in Globe. Plays in the historic district. Travels when possible.


  1. How do I go about ordering a poster. I wont be able to attend the show as I have a car show in pinetop the same weekend and have already committed to that?

  2. Hi Kevin: I’ll set it up on the Eventbrite Site so you can order a poster, without purchasing a ticket. Check it out late Monday and I’ll have that done. Sorry you can’t make the event! ~L

  3. Ramon Rubalcaba, Jr.

    Our dad, Ramon Rubalcaba, Sr. was one of the contractors that built the structures at the new drive-in. Our dad and Mr. Frank Hollis were quite the pair. I even remember when Bobby was born. Frank and my dad were friends throughout my childhood, growing up in Globe. Our dad did many repair and construction jobs that the two of them collaborated on. As a kid, I worked for Mr. Hollis on many of those repair jobs, I spent many weekends at the Alden and Globe theaters. Mr. Hollis would pay me with movie passes…that was awesome..growing up, I never paid to go to the movies, and even through high school. I always took friends and Frank would tell us…”buy lots of concessions,” which we did! One weekend I came home from college, and helped mix cement, move some brick for the then new drive-in. I believe my brother Abie also helped quite a bit, he was still in high school at the time. I hope I can get a ticket so I can be part of the celebration (and attend driving our 1967 Chevy Camaro..what a blast from the past…!). I will be sorry to see the end of the drive-in era for Globe.

    • Ramon! That is such great information! Do you have any family photos from those early years that you’d care to let us share with readers! Would love to have you attend in your ’67 Chevy Camaro. It’s going to a Big ’60s night of fun! ~L

      • Ramon Rubalcaba, Jr.

        I’ll check with my bother Abie and my sister Mary, when my parents passed away, we sold the house and we all live elsewhere in Arizona..but close…I remember someone having pictures of the new drive-in as it was being built…no cellphones back then…ha…ha..I do have many fond memories of the Hollis family

  4. Appreciate you looking for pics. It would be awesome to beable to share those.

  5. It is sad that the Drive-In is closing, and wonderful that you all are celebrating in such a 50’s/60’s manner! I am sorry that I will be thousands of miles away and won’t be able to attend. I’ll just have to pretend that I am in the trunk of one of your cars, sneaking in without paying. But as much as I think that “American Graffiti” is a great paean to the drive-in movie, wouldn’t it be even more appropriate to show Peter Bogdanovich’s “The Last Picture Show”? From the first time I saw it in 1971, I thought, “THERE is a film that reflects the town I grew up in!” Jacy: “Not here. I’m too old for screwin’ in cars. …. We’ll do it when it’s safe. We’ve got all summer.”

    • Hey Bob, we actually thought about doing “The Last Picture Show”, as well as “Midnight Run” which was filmed mostly in and around Globe. We couldn’t get ahold of those films! And in the end it was decided that American Graffiti, which is celebrating it’s 40th Anniversary THIS year would be a fun theme to build an event around and give all of us baby boomers a chance to re-live the ’60s! Have you checked out our Pinterest page “where were you in ’62?” I had forgotten some of the fun memories from then. Remember Rowan and Martins’ Laugh In? https://pinterest.com/globemiamitimes/where-were-you-in-62/.
      I know you said you didn’t do facebook, but take a look at the link. It will bring back memories.

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