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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Projected into a career: Grandson of first female projectionist continues family business in Midland

"I was probably made at one, born at one, my mother almost went into labor with me at one, I grew up in one."

MIDLAND, Texas — The stars at night are big and bright, and so are the three screens at Big Sky Drive-In Theater that illuminate the West Texas skies off Highway 80. 

365 days a year, once the sun sets, the projector screens come to life and play movies for thousands of people in the Permian Basin.

Big Sky movie theater is more than just an outdoor movie, it is an experience.

"We like to call ourselves a high-tech, redneck, mom and pop, drive-in movie theater,” claimed David Furlow, Big Sky Theater General Manager. 

Furlow has been the manager at the theater since it opened in 2005, but the big screen has been a presence in his life since the beginning.

“I grew up at movie theaters my entire life," Furlow said. "There’s a lot of jokes about what happens at movie theaters, I was probably made at one, born at one, my mother almost went into labor with me at one, I grew up at one.”  

David’s connections with theaters run far deeper than his own past, they're in his blood. 

Hope Furlow, David's grandmother, is a trailblazer of the industry, creating a movie theater in Odessa during the 1960s. 

“My grandma actually has a letter from John F. Kennedy for being the first female projectionist ever," Furlow said. "Nowadays we don’t even go in the booths, it’s all automated, it just starts on its own."

And as technology has evolved and grown, so has the Permian Basin. 

“When you’re really busy and you have between 2,000 to 3,000 people, that's 1-2% of the entire population, woof, yeah there can be some issues,” Furlow said. 

For Furlow, the hustle is worth it. 

“I just love it," Furlow said. "I mean it’s the worst thing is the heat." 

He went on to say that seeing families filled with people of all ages bond makes things special.

"Everything from kids playing on the playgrounds, to fathers and sons throwing the football with one another, to seniors playing card games," Furlow said. "It's just fun."

And if you have yet to make it out to the big screen, do not worry because Mr. Furlow is not going anywhere anytime soon. 

“Been here forever, gonna stay here forever,” he said. 

The pet-friendly drive-in movie theater opens at 7 p.m. Tickets are $9. For more information on the theater click here.