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The way it was: Knight Drive-In movie screen, 1955

The way it was: Drive-in movie screen, 1955

May 13, 2012 - Staff

In the middle years of the 20th century, drive-in movie theaters were commonplace around the nation. Fremont County had three of them once upon a time -- the Diane Drive-In in Lander, the West Drive-In in Riverton and this one, the Knight Drive-In, also in Riverton.

The huge, curved screen, made of wood, was expanded in the spring of 1955 after the theater had been open for a few years, the better to accommodate the new wide-screen format movies that were being introduced at the time to attract moviegoers who were watching television at home in increasing numbers.

The images at a big drive-in like the Knight were the largest ever projected to a general audience, dwarfing today's high-tech IMAX screens. At their peak of popularity, more than 4,000 drive-in theaters were operating in the U.S Today the estimated number is just 350.

Raising the two side panels at the Knight was a big job, and two of Fremont County's biggest construction contractors -- Brasel and Whitehead of Lander, and Gilpatrick of Riverton, worked in tandem to get the job done with two big winch trucks as pictured here on May 10, 1955.

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