Sunset Drive-In

Myers Avenue and Orchard Way,
Myers Flat, CA 95554

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Sunset Drive-In

The Sunset Drive-In was opened on June 22, 1957. It was owned by a Mrs. Jennings in 1963. Capacity was 200 cars.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

NYozoner on December 7, 2016 at 8:39 pm

Myers Ave at Orchard Way
Myers Flat, CA 95554

The ramps are still vaguely visible in 1968 aerial photos.

MichaelKilgore on May 15, 2020 at 7:19 am

The Sunset opened on June 22, 1957, per an ad in the Humboldt Standard of Eureka CA the day before.

An article above the ad noted that the screen was 40x80 feet, made of half-inch marine plywood, and erected on a welded steel framework. It held 250 cars on five acres “furnished by Mrs. Mattie Myers Nelson,” and its concession / projection building included a room with indoor seating.

Sunset Drive-In Grand Opening ad (Myers Flat)Sunset Drive-In Grand Opening ad (Myers Flat) Fri, Jun 21, 1957 – Page 6 · Eureka Humboldt Standard (Eureka, California) ·

MichaelKilgore on May 15, 2020 at 7:39 am

As the ad above indicated, Roy Cheverton was one of the owners of the new Sunset. (His wife ran the snack bar.) In a political ad in the May 31, 1960 Humboldt Standard, Geo R. Cheverton wrote, “With the help of Ted and Vada Jennings and Mrs. Nelson, we built the Sunset Drive-In Theatre at Myers Flat. They have since purchased our interest”

The Jan. 16, 1965 issue of the Standard ran a lengthy tour of flood damage along the Eel River, which encircles the town. “The Morrison-Jackson lumber mill is deep in silt. To the west, a beautiful new house lies under a leaning torrent of trees, sticks, and somebody else’s household. The Sunset drive-in theatre has set in a muddy Pacific.”

MichaelKilgore on July 6, 2021 at 5:18 pm

The Showmandiser section of the Aug. 17, 1957 issue of Boxoffice ran the full origin story of the Sunset. Here it is, in full:

A raincheck idea is given credit by G. R. Cheverton for a steady increase in business at his Sunset Drive-In, which he opened last June in Myers Flat up in the giant redwood country in Humboldt County, Calif. Cheverton has a double bill policy, but reverses the order of showing each night. “In this land of the redwoods,” Cheverton writes, “people get up early, and the cannot stay up late.” Sunset patrons may see the first attraction one night, ask for a raincheck then see the other picture on the bill early the next night. Cheverton reports this system has caught on and business has increased ever since he started it. The snack bar at the 250-car Sunset is showing a 50 per cent of gross take.

Thus Cheverton’s finances are looking up once more after he met disaster in the northern California woods in December 1955. At that time Cheverton owned the Maribel Theatre in Weott, a few miles down the river from Myers Flat. Then the floods struck, forcing evacuation of the town. Cheverton returned to find his life’s savings and nearly all his family possessions literally had gone down the river. There had been 15 feet of water in the theatre, and all was ruined.

Cheverton was discouraged but not beaten. He contacted Mrs. E. M. Nelson who owned a small piece of land at Myers Flat, and soon Cheverton was at work. He and his son-in-law Ted Jennings formed a company. They cleared the land, leveled and graded it with a borrowed grader, built a 60x60-foot snack bar and dance hall, welded and raised a metal screen; then after a year of hard work, they opened the Sunset Drive-In.

Were the fearful of themselves - of the motion picture business? Cheverton answers: “All the work was done by two men who had lost everything in the flood, and all they had were a few tools and lots of faith in the theatre business!” The Cheverton-Jennings family operates the Sunset without payroll. Cheverton runs the machines, Jennings polices the place, one wife is cashier and the other operates the snack bar.

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