Apache Drive-In Theater


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Huge Drive-In Theater Will Open Thursday

May 08, 1955
Arizona Daily Star

Billed as the largest theater in the southwest and sporting a new innovation in screens, the Apache Drive-In theater, a half mile east of Park Avenue on the Benson highway, will open Thursday.

J. Harry Agron, president of the group that owns the new drive- in, has listed the theater as the biggest one he knows of in the southwest with a car capacity approaching 1,200. The owners are especially proud of the huge 70-by-100 foot screen, "the biggest in Tucson."

But it isn't the size of the screen that has excited owners Agron, Sam Raymond and Isadore Prell--it is the all-aluminum light reflecting factors of the structure.

Agron, who knows of only two other such screens in the U.S., said it was developed in co-operation with Manco corporation of Los Angeles.

"It will give front-row vision in the very last row," according to the president of the theater. More specifically, he pointed out that the reflection qualities of a screen are what count. "This will return two and one-half times the light that an ordinary screen reflects, according to the manufacturers," he said.

In exact terms of reflected light, as measured by lumens, the aluminum screen records four and one-half lumens as compared with the one to one and one-half for the ordinary outside screen.

Any type of screening such as cinemascope or vista vision can be handled by the new screen, according to the owners. Other features of the new drive-in are a tremendous holding area where 600 cars can be lined up before entering the theater and still be off the highway; a snack bar with four separate entrances and exits; the latest in projection equipment and complete rock-oil composition paving.


Seizure of Theater Delayed

Oct 01, 1955
Arizona Daily Star

Sheriff Ben J. McKinney was ordered yesterday to seize almost all property at the Apache Drive-In Theater on the Benson Highway except the screen and buildings.

However, legal counsel for the Valley Drive-in Corp. asked the action be delayed to allow the operators of the theater, the Benson Highway Theater Corp. headed by J. Harry Agron, to reach a settlement with the plaintiff in a pending case.

The Valley Drive-in Corp. filed suit in Superior Court Thursday asking to recover equipment from the Benson Highway Theater Corp. The suit alleges that the Benson Highway Theater Corp. failed to fulfill the terms of a promissory note and conditional sales contract on which property valued at $38,851 was sold to it April 6, 1955.

The plaintiff stated payment of $1,339 for the months of August and September have not been received.

The equipment in question was purchased from National Theater Supply of Los Angeles and on Sept. 21 the promissory note and conditional sales contract were turned over to the Valley Drive- In Corp.

The sheriff's civil division said that the writ of replevin ordering it to confiscate and seize the property will be delayed to at least Monday Afternoon.

Equipment that would be seized includes approximately 1,200 loud speakers and 600 stands, 165,000 feet of underground cable, projection equipment and equipment used in the snack bar.

Representing the Valley Drive-In Corp., of Los Angeles, Calif., is the law firm of Udall and Udall and Jack Marks.


Theater Seizure Halted

Oct 02, 1955
Arizona Daily Star

The Apache Drive-In Theater on the Benson Highway south of Tucson will continue to operate as scheduled.

Superior Court Judge Lee Garrett yesterday signed a temporary injunction asked by the theater to restrain mortgage holders from seizing all equipment. The Judge set Oct. 8 for a court hearing on the temporary restraining order.

Show schedules at the Apache have not been disrupted, although Friday nights movie was an hour late in starting. The delay occurred when electricians replaced high tension wires in a complex projection system which they had just dismantled.

That action provided a real life comedy. Capt. William Reed of the sheriffs civil division--acting on a court writ of replevin ordering seizure of about 1,200 loud speakers, 600 stands, 165,000 feet of underground cable, projection equipment and snack bar equipment--hired some electricians to take apart the electrical system.

As they started the job Friday evening, a theater projectionist showed up, told the electricians the union would frown on a job that only a union projectionist is authorized to do, Reed said. Reed then asked the projectionist if he'd do the dismantling. The projectionist said he'd be glad to--if the sheriff's civil division hired him to do it. Reed said, "agreed."

Then the projectionist turned to the bewildered electricians, who had been momentarily jobless, and sub-contracted them to do the dismantling. The theater projectionist, county-hired, then told the county's electricians, whom he had just re-hired, that he though they would be more constructive replacing the partially dismantled electrical system rather than proceeding to tear it up.

Reed was stymied. He shrugged, left for his home to try to figure out how it all happened and what he could do about it.

Meanwhile, the Benson Highway Corp., headed by J. Harry Agron, which operates the Apache Drive-In, obtained the injunction from Judge Garrett. Now, neither side can make a move, and the show goes on.

However, the Valley Drive_in Corp. of Los Angeles, Calif., represented here by the law firm of Udall and Udall and Jack Marks, indicated it would fight the restraining order.

The Valley Drive-In Corp. filed suit in Superior Court Thursday for recovery of equipment from the Benson Highway Theater Corp., alleging that the Apache owners haven't made payments totaling $1,339 on a $38,851 mortgage.


Box Office Money Taken Under Writ

Oct 21, 1955
Arizona Daily Star

$548 Seized at Apache Drive-in to Satisfy Suit Filed by Calif. Film Distributors

The sheriffs civil division seized $548.87 from the Apache Drive-in Theater box office and snack bar Wednesday night, Chief Civil Deputy Capt. William S. Reed said yesterday.

Reed said a writ of attachment was issued in Superior Court ordering the seizure of money to satisfy a suit of $5,filed against the Benson Highway Theater Corp. and Harry Agron, theater operator.

The suit was filed by Loews, Inc. a California corporation which distributes movies. The distributing company states it rented a movie, "It's Always Fair Weather," to the Benson Highway Theater Corp., but never received payment.

Reed said the theater received the movie but decided not to use it. He stated the theater failed to pay the movie rental fee, according to the lawsuit. The contract price for the movie, Loews claims, is $5,050.

Earlier Wednesday Judge Lee Garrett handed down a memorandum enjoining the Valley Drive-In Theater of Los Angelas from taking movie and other equipment from the Apache Drive-In. The Valley Drive-In group alleged the Apache Drive-In defaulted on two monthly payments of $1,339 due on a $37,000 chattel mortgage.

The sheriffs civil division said it doesn't know whether any other money will be seized from the Apache Drive_in. The law firm of Boyle, Bilby, Thompson, and Shoenhair filed the suit for Loews.


Owners of Drive-In Declared Bankrupt

Nov 05, 1955
Arizona Daily Star

Debts Are $111,145; Assets, $26,007

The Benson Highway Theater Corp., which operates the Apache Drive_in Theater, 1600 East Benson Hwy., was declared bankrupt yesterday after it submitted a voluntary petition to Stanley A. Jerman, referee in bankruptcy.

J. Harry Agron and Ruth Agron, both of 3342 E. 1st St., were listed as president and secretary respectively of the corporation. The petition said the drive-in opened May 12 of this year.

The largest single creditor listed was National Theater Supply Co., of Los Angelas, which is due $37,511.94 for movie and snack bar equipment. Recently the California firm sought to foreclose on the chattel mortgage, but James J. Silver, the drive-in's attorney, obtained a writ of injunction from Judge Lee Garrett in Superior Court here to restrain the supply company from foreclosing.

Total debts, according to the petition, are $111,145.91 with assets of $26,007. Real estate estimated at $24,5000 comprised most of the assets.

Isadore Prell was the second largest creditor. The corporation had issued him its promissory note for $32,000 in July, the petition said.

The petition, which indicated it was originally prepared in October, was evidently withheld until yesterday when the referee came here from Phoenix to hold hearings.


Theater Creditors Are Given Voice in its Affairs

Nov 10, 1955
Arizona Daily Star

A committee of the creditors of the Apache Drive-In Theater, 1600 East Benson Highway, now in receivership, was appointed yesterday by Stanley A. Jerman, referee in bankruptcy.

Attys. Morris Udall and Jack G. Marks, who represent National Theater Supply Co. of Los Angeles, largest single creditor, and Elmer W. Courtland, representing Isadore Prell, second largest creditor, were appointed to the committee.

Last Friday, the drive-in, under its official name, Benson Highway Theater Corp. was declared bankrupt and Mrs.Myrtle Bowen appointed reciever. The theater is still in operation.

The committee was appointed at a conference with the Phoenix bankruptcy referee. Notice of the first meeting of creditors has not been made. The bankruptcy petition listed debts of $111,145 and assets of $26,007.


Offer for Apache is Rejected

Dec 31, 1955
Arizona Daily Star

Agron Gets 2 More Weeks On Claims

Creditors of the bankrupt Apache-Drive-In Theater (Benson Highway Theater Corp.) voted yesterday to give stockholder J. Harry Agron two more weeks to satisfy their claims and turned down a $100,000 offer for the drive-in that would have given them approximately 50 cents for each dollar owed by the Apache.

Other developments evolving from the first meeting of the creditors before Stanley A. Jerman, federal bankruptcy referee were:

  1. Valley Drive-In Theater Corp. can seize speakers, projection and snack bar equipment on which the Apache has failed to make payments and still owes approximately $38,000.

  2. The impending sale of Los Patios Apts., located in back of El Rancho Shopping Center, may indirectly provide Agron with funds to satisfy creditors.

Valley Drive-in, a Los Angeles firm, was in the position of a creditor, and prospective buyer yesterday. It had offered $100,000 for the Apache and also submitted a petition for the reclamation of the equipment on which the Tucson drive-in had failed to meet payments. As a creditor, it objected to the refusal to buy. William Oldknow, president of the California corporation, withdrew his offer to buy when it was refused.

James Silver, Agrons's attorney, told the creditors and observers who jammed the grand jury room of the Federal Building that Agron was "In the position to satisfy each and every creditor outside of Oldknow." He recommended that Jerman grant the petition to the Los Angeles firm and let it reclaim the equipment. "We have other equipment we can purchase and install," he said.

Silver also said that some of the other creditors had already signed claims over to the Apache, including Isadore Prell, who holds a promissory note from the corporation for $38,550. Merchants Finance Co., approximately $3,500 and Tucson Pavers, approximately $8,500.

"Mr. Agron went to Kansas City to raise funds to save the original investments," Silver said. When the creditors clamored for more specific information on how their claims would be settled, Agron introduced Atty. William Gordon, who read from a letter and produced a $9,000 check concerning the proposed sale of "Los Patios Apts. to Sarah Horn." She is believed to be the former operator of a Tucson dress shop, but was not identified as such.

Gordon indicated that on a thorough check of the books for the apartment corporation, the property might be sold, but stressed the offer to buy was not binding. He mentioned a sale price slightly less than $100,000 and an actual cash transaction near $57,000--"down to the mortgage."

When Agron said that upon this sale he would have more money to satisfy his creditors, he was asked if he held any stock in Los Patios Apts. Corp. and he answered "No," He added that his wife held one share and the stockholders were "my people."

The drive-in intends to operate during the next two weeks although it may have to install new equipment that Valley Drive-In will reclaim Wednesday at 10 a.m. It could be that the Los Angeles firm will sell it or put it up for bids before being removed.

If it is removed, there is a possibility that some of the paving will have to be ripped up to obtain underground wires, included in the conditional sales contract as part of the equipment.

After the creditors had decided to stick with Agron and turned down the offer to sell the bankrupt drive-in, Jerman cautioned them not to complain to him in the future. "You can get back half of your investment now or wait and maybe get nothing. Although I personally think this is a good offer, I'm going to follow the rule of creditor control," he said.


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Last Updated Mar 01, 1999 GWC