|Casbar Motel and Drive-in Quesnel, BC|
About three quarters of the way between Kamloops and Prince George, British Columbia was a rather peculiar claim in the town of Quesnel.
"The World's Largest T.V. Screen" was the blaring sign over a retro-looking 1950s era establishment called the Casbar Motel. The place was not particularly run-down, but it was old looking. I knew that one day I would have to stay there.
It was in the summer of 1986 when that day came. I had decided to make reservations to stay at the Casbar following our show in Prince George. We would be wrapped up with our show by 9:30 that night so the hour or so drive to Quesnel would not put us there overly late. Staying at the Casbar was doable.
The gimmick at the Casbar was that there was a drive-in movie theater incorporated with the motel and that was the "T.V." screen. Each room had a large picture window that faced toward the screen and there were speakers in the rooms over which the film soundtrack was piped. The biggest problem here was that the motel was a ways past the last row of cars and the screen itself was rather distant. The entire set-up gave film viewers a sense of disconnect that was not particularly conducive to enjoying a film.
The rooms themselves were furnished in an incongruous mash-up of what had originally been there since who knows when and what had been scrounged up from wherever such things are found. I felt as though I were in a musty small town museum display of "this is what things were like in the 1950s". I won't say the place was filthy, but the oldness of everything reflected years of previous guests who had stayed in that place. Since I had stayed in worse places I was not particularly taken aback by the situation.
One of the films showing that night was Romancing the Stone with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. We kind of watched it, but with the screen so far away and it being so late it was kind of difficult to really get into the film. One of the problems with going to the drive-in theater that far north in late July is that it doesn't get dark until after 10 PM. A drive-in movie runs very late. After a long day of driving over 300 miles to Prince George and then back to Quesnel we were tired.
At least I got to stay at the Casbar. The prospect of "the world's largest T.V. screen was too curious to pass up. It's not a place that I'd ever go again to watch a movie, but on the other hand I doubt whether the Casbar is there anymore.