A Night at Utah’s Smallest Drive-In Theater in Mt. Pleasant

Jun 5, 2019, 7:02 PM | Updated: 7:12 pm

MT. PLEASANT, Utah — It’s probably not on your calendar, but Thursday June 6th, is National Drive-In Movie Theater Day.

Utah still has five drive-ins in operation and the smallest is in Mt. Pleasant, where when the sun goes down on a summer night in this small town, Paul Barnes is there to welcome everyone to the night’s big attraction.

“I like people and I am the first impression — it’s my job to make everybody happy when they go in,” he said.

At the Basin Drive-In, it’s not just about the movie on the marquee. It’s the food that has the cooks busy for the hungry people lining up.

In fact, a lot of folks here come just for the drive-in’s famous burgers. And there’s something about the popcorn and butter here that no one can seem to go without.

It’s a place where people have enjoyed an outdoor movie on a summer night, for six decades now.

“I have worked in this booth since high school,” said Matt Anderson, the fourth generation owner of the Basin Drive-In.

Anderson has done everything from running the projector to cleaning up after the show.

“My memory of my earliest movie was probably ‘Jaws’ when I was seven,” he added.

The Basin Drive-In has been in Mt. Pleasant since 1959.

“You see old pictures of cars in front of drive-in screens and it still works. The technology has improved quite a bit, but it is the same experience here,” he said.

A lot of classics have played on the screen here over the years.


“It brings back memories of when Joy and I were in high school,” said Greg Pyne, a resident of nearby Fairview.

Perhaps it is nostalgia that helps people feel right at home — like it’s the good old days.

“To be able to get in your jammies and watch a movie, you’re outside, you get to bring your own blankets and pillows,” said Brianne Tinoco, who grew up in the area and enjoys returning to the drive-in.

While the value of the real estate has led to the demise of most urban drive-in theaters over the years, the drive-in in this small town is still going strong.

“As long as we have the draw, we will keep on going,” Anderson said.

And as the credits roll, even in an era of endless movies you can stream online at home, the Basin Drive-In may still be the best place to “enjoy the show.”

Utah’s other drive-in theaters are located in West Valley City, at 3600 South Redwood Road, the Motor Vu in Tooele, the Echo Drive-in in Roosevelt and the Motor Vu in Riverdale.

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A Night at Utah’s Smallest Drive-In Theater in Mt. Pleasant