Helena's First drive-in, 1949
Site of the Sunset
1955 aerial photo over recent satellite image
by E. R. "Chub" Munger (1900-1999), the Sunset opened
on July 12, 1949. It was located on the southwest corner of
N. Montana Ave. at Custer, on land purchased from St. Joseph's
Orphanage, which was located across the road. It was demolished in 1983 to make way for large retail stores.
screen was constructed, in part, using timbers from the old Gould Mine operation west of Helena.
announced its new wider CinemaScope screen in 1955. Also in
that year, plans were made public to build an 850-seat indoor
theatre adjacent to the drive-in. That theatre was never built
(see this site's feature "Two Theatres That Never Were"
Sunset Mailer, April 1952
KENNON BAIRD COLLECTION CLICK IMAGE FOR A BIG VIEW
IN A NEW WINDOW
Views of the Sunset, May 1962
Many thanks to Darcy O'Dell
OF DARCY O'DELL
of the Sunset Drive-In Theatre, seen from Montana Avenue, May 1962.
Note the Montana National Guard tank parked beside the theater driveway.
It was a promotion for the movie "Armored
Command", which was coming to the theatre.
Theatre Entrance, May 1962
OF DARCY O'DELL CLICK IMAGE FOR A BIG VIEW
IN A NEW WINDOW
E. R. "Chub" Munger lived in the large house on the
left side of the photo.
A bit of non-theatre
photo trivia: the "Truck Route Detour" sign was in place
because of the construction of a new overpass over the Great Northern
Tracks on Lyndale Ave. That overpass, and the older one adjacent
to it, have now been demolished.
Snack Bar Ad
One of Helena's
two drive-in theatres played this western-themed snack bar advertisement,
but your editor can't recall which one it was. If anyone remembers,
please drop me a line.