Show will likely go on

Saturday, 20 February 1999
By Bonnie Henry
The Arizona Daily Star

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Photos by Chris Richards,
The Arizona Daily Star
Generations of car- and movie-loving Tucsonans have enjoyed outdoor films at the DeAnza drive-in since 1951
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Movie fans enjoy some of the comforts of home along with their feature presentation.
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They may not know his name, or really care all that much, but it's projectionist Larry Lerew, above, who makes it all possible.

Denver man has a deal to rescue DeAnza drive-in

By Bonnie Henry
The Arizona Daily Star

Forget the epitaphs. Tucson's last drive-in picture show may not be closing after all.

Denver drive-in owner Jim Goble confirmed yesterday that he has ``struck a deal'' to buy the DeAnza, Tucson's last drive-in movie show.

What's more, the 11.3-acre property near the southeast corner of South Alvernon Way and East 22nd Street will remain a drive-in.

For months there has been speculation that the property might become yet another shopping center.

Since 1951, outdoor movies have flickered on one screen or another at this location.

Earlier this week, the property, which is owned by the Los Angeles-based DeAnza Land and Leisure Corp., went into escrow.

Though Goble said he was ``optimistic that this will happen,'' he cautioned, ``We've still got a ways to go.''

He would not confirm a selling price.

If plans fall into place, Goble said he expects escrow will close about mid-March.

He then plans to immediately close the four-screen theater for about a month's worth of renovation, reopening in mid-April.

``We'll upgrade the projection room and put in brighter picture and sound,'' said Goble, 51.

He also plans to bring down a motorized ``kiddie'' ride from his Denver two-screen drive-in, the Cinderella Twin, which he owns with two Denver partners.

Goble is also the sole owner of a Wichita, Kan., drive-in, which he bought last March and also renovated.

For the last four years, said Goble, he has been trying to build or buy a drive-in theater in a year-round climate.

DeAnza has been open to offers for its Tucson location - the only one it still owns in the state - for some time, said Ewart Edwards, area general manager for DeAnza.

Edwards, 65, plans to retire no later than June 30. But if this deal goes through, he'll retire at the end of escrow - marking the end of a 37-year career with various Tucson drive-in theaters.

DeAnza still owns five other drive-in theaters in California, Utah and Georgia. ``At one time, they had 37 drive-ins,'' said Edwards.

Goble has no new name as yet for the theater, though he does have a Las Vegas partner, Scott Zimmerman, who he said ``will be the Tucson hands-on manager.''

Eventually, said Goble, he, too, hopes to move to Tucson - at least for the winters.


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