Last Saturday, I was driving south on Wilmot Road when I saw another piece of my childhood come tumbling down.
The Buena Vista had been closed for ages and had not been a theater for years, so I knew its fate was either a major remodel or death by excavator. And there is was, an excavator parked in the back, and most of the back wall going down in a heap of bricks. Along with those bricks are these wonderful memories going to the movies with my cousins--Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever (and its terrible sequel), Grease, and a few others from my coming-of-age decade.
I'm not in denial. I knew something would happen with that empty building, but I think I'm just a little sensitive since the fate of the De Anza Drive-In was recently discussed in the local dailies. When the drive-in's possible closure was first announced last month, I instantly went back to the days when my cousins would sneak me in via the trunk of one of their cars (I am the youngest and shortest). I also got to see movies my mother would never have allowed. The two that came to mind was a 1978 double feature of Midnight Express and Cheech and Chong's Up In Smoke--both viewed with my cousins at the De Anza. I was in 6th or 7th grade.
There was some good news in Anne Denogean's column on May 30--it seems the developers can't find eager tenants to occupy a proposed retail development at the De Anza site. In this day of soaring gas prices and economic recession talk, it just makes more sense to keep a drive-in==a better entertainment bargain for most families, recession or no recession. A better bargain than another retail development. In Tucson we seem to have enough retail, but only one De Anza.