On March 15, 1956, the Rocket Drive-In screened its first family-friendly movie, offering the community a healthy, affordable entertainment option. No matter the flick showcased below the Purple Cliffs, adults paid 50¢ for a double-feature movie night, while kids under 12 watched for free. Besides popcorn, the Rocket also served its famous cheeseburgers open-faced with the ketchup, pickles, and mustard arranged in the shape of a smiley face.
The giant screen went dark in 2004, but the Rocket neon sign, donated to Fort Lewis College by the Scales family in 2008, shines on at an iconic restaurant located on the top floor of the Student Union at Fort Lewis College. In Spring 2021, FLC’s Rocket Grill received a makeover led by Art Director Anna McBrayer and Student Marketing Team intern Lillian Meador (Communication Design, ’21). Meador created three retro posters to hang above patrons as they dine on the Rocket’s tasty tater tots, crispy salads, and, of course, cheeseburgers.