The destruction of the longstanding DeAnza Drive-In last April left yet another hole in the Tucson landscape, a hole frequently filled by new car lots, used car lots and Taco Bell.
But fear not, nostalgia buffs, as a new drive-in is still in the works, with the latest update bringing the best news yet.
Negotiations are brewing between Tucson mover and shaker Charlie Spillar, the driving force behind the preservation of the drive-in, and a guy who actually wants a drive-in on his property.
“It has a dream of his for many years,” Spillar said in an e-mail. Although the mystery man’s location and identity has not yet been disclosed, we like him. We like him a lot.
The theater that’s primed to open, Cactus Drive-In, is not new per se. It will feature DeAnza’s former screens and the original moniker of the drive-in on 22nd Street and Alvernon Way when it opened March 13, 1949.
“The property owner is very supportive of a drive-in on his property and is very happy to work with us,” Spillar wrote in a Facebook Cactus Drive-In Theater Project message. “Unfortunately there are many obstacles to overcome as yet because of zoning, neighborhood acceptance, etc. but the outlook at this time does look very positive.”
Break out the popcorn. Kudos to the property owner, and even more to Spillar, who is as tenacious as a pit bull on a rubber chicken when it comes to preserving Tucson’s kitschy history.