What Happen to Drive-In's?

A few years ago, I remember riding the in a car with someone and passing by an abandoned drive-in movie theater.

The place looked gray, bleak and ominous. The movie screen was all tattered and worn, and I noticed that almost all of the car speakers were missing. The snack bar was boarded up and creepy.

I felt like I was in a museum looking at some ancient pre-historic dinosaur.

I tried to recall the last time I had ever been to a drive-in movie….

As a kid, I remember it being a “special moment” when my parents took the family to see a flick outdoors.

We’d take a bunch of candy in a grocery bag, but saved the soft drinks, hot dogs and popcorn for the snack bar. We also took pillows and blankets so we could get real comfortable in the back seat, just in case we fell asleep.

The most high-tech piece of audio equipment at the time, were these little speakers that were hooked to a metal pole that you would attach to the car door window, which enabled you to ear the sound track of the film. It had a single black button on the front, that controlled the volume. The quality was actually horrendous, because it sounded as though you were listening to the film in a tin can. And nothing was more frustrating to my parents, than to pull up to one of these speakers and get all situated…only to find out that the damn thing didn’t work! They’d have to back the car up and then ride around until they found one that functioned properly.

The coolest thing, was that the all cars were positioned on a slight upward slope, as to not block the vision of the people sitting in the car behind you.

Sometimes the film would even have an intermission, so everyone could either use the restroom or take the time to replenish on more snacks.

And as a kid, my most vivid memory (and education), was being parked next to a car with people who were on a date and watching them make out!! To me, it looked like porn. I remember my parents getting very embarrassed.

My favorite movies to see at a drive-in were the SCARY ones. Because being outdoors in the night, somehow made it even MORE scary. Especially if the film was something like, “The Birds” or “Psycho.”

(or anything with Joan Crawford in it)

Drive-in movies seemed to start fizzling out in the late 70’s - and I have no idea why. I think I was a senior in high school, when I went to see my last one, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” with some friends. Little by little they all seemed to be shutting down, and before I knew it…I began to forget that they ever existed.

But for some reason, today I actually thought of them again and decided to share a simple, yet delightful memory of a wonderful experience.

Memories…light the corners of my mind….

Thank you, Barbara.













26 comments

  1. We dont have Drive In's in the UK, so interesting to hear what they were like.

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  2. Ron, I am going to share something with you if you promise not to get jealous. We have a drive-in theater about 30 miles from my house. Of course they are only open in the summer. But they always have double features. It is usually not the big, new movies, but the ones that are slightly old. You know the movies that are in between being in a real theater, but not yet out on DVD. We usually try to go a couple of times during the summer.
    But I kid you not, I never ever went to a drive in theater as a kid. I don't know why??

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  3. Morning Nicole~

    DAMN....I AM JEALOUS!!!!

    Oh, WOW...ok, at least I now know that they're STILL functioning!! Ever since I moved back to the city (and don't drive a car), I very seldom get out to the burbs to see what's going on.

    MAYBE drive-in's are slowly coming back into VOGUE again!?!?

    I'm mean...they're the COOLEST things aren't they?? A totally "different" experience than seeing them indoors. And having children...it's so neat, because if they fall asleep...you can just drive home and plop them into bed...ZZzzzzz.

    Hey...thank you for sharing this with me Nicole!

    Maybe this summer I'll just WALK to one...and stand there holding the speaker (eating twizzlers).

    It'll be a Walk-in/drive-in theater!!

    It's always so great talking and sharing with you Nicole...thanks for stopping by and have a nice Monday!

    P.S. Hey I tried the "3 column" look on the template this weekend(and it worked) but it looked too cluttered. Your's is much more spread out. I may email you later this week to find out how you did that, ok? Thanks again for the info.

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  4. Drive ins?
    wow last movie i saw in a drive in was Moon raker, the bond film..lol
    I haven't seen one in ages, They relator's must have sold more for houses than movies...

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  5. Morning Casdok~

    So nice of you to drop by and say Hi....Hi to you too!

    Hey...I never thought about that (not having drive-in's in the UK). I have another reader from the UK so she'll probably say the same thing!

    Oh, Casdok...they were SO MUCH FUN!! and I know it's something that you would have enjoyed. The whole experience was so more relaxed, compared to seeing a film indoors.

    As Nicole just told me in her comment...they still DO exist...so maybe I'll be going back this summer!

    It's like everything in this world...things just seem to repeat themselves through the ages!??!

    Music, hairstyles, fashion....

    Hey, I visited your blog again this weekend and read a great deal of your voice. I SO enjoyed myself, Casdok. Your blog has such a wonderful blend of information, humor and purpose. I emailed my friend with your link. I know she'll enjoy you too.

    So glad to have met you!

    Enjoy your day!

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  6. Morning Lady Sorrow~

    Hey, you know...I was thinking that SAME THING!!!

    There's probably MANY condo's standing where there use to be a drive-in movie!!!

    Damn them to hell!!!

    But I did find out, that there's a few still standing...and functioning!

    Oh well...something to look forward to for this Summer.

    Thanks for "driving-in" today Lady Sorrow...beep-beep!

    Signed,
    Bond (JAMES Bond)

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  7. I think drive in movies were only ever in the US, certainly I don't ever remember seeing one over here. If we'd had them I definitely would have gone as they always looked so much fun on the movies.

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  8. My first date with the X was at a drive-in. And, yes, I remember being a child in PJ's in the back of a station wagon on a summer night watching movies then running up during intermission to play on the swings.

    I think real estate became too desirable and drive-ins gave way to houses or condos.

    *sigh*

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  9. Morning Akelamalu~

    Yes...as you read here, Casdok told me the same thing.

    Oh my God...you would have LOVED them...because you were able to smuggle in a little VINO, by placing it in your trunk!!

    At the time I didn't drink, but all my high school pals did...so it was sip, sip, sip....giggle, giggle, giggle!!

    Thanks for stopping by, fine lady...so nice seeing you on this Monday morn!

    (or actually late afternoon for you)

    Beep-beep!

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  10. Hey Nitebyrd~

    I knew that YOU would remember this FABULOUS experience!!!

    You and I were probably the ones hanging out by the bathrooms, sneaking a quick Camel cigarette that we took from the trash can!!!

    YES, my friend...I TOO think that REAL ESTATE had bigger plans to use that space for condo's, mall's, and office buildings!!

    But there are some still around (so I hear) so I may need to revisit this awesome experience.

    Thanks for driving in you wild woman you!

    Always a treat!!!!

    Enjoy your Monday...

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  11. The old drive in movies. As many people you could cram into a car for 5 bucks. We had people in the front and in the back and in the trunk. Then the ones who were the unlucky (or perhaps the lucky) ones sat outside and watched the movie. The smell of the snack bar is one that is imbedded into my olfactory lobes. The way we washed the bug splatters off the windows and the can of insect repellant in the car to keep the mosquitos away. The hot muggy nights that never bothered us we just and sweated and had a great time. The sex education was terrific. A car full 10 to 12 hormone raging boys watching more of a show in the next car to us then on the huge screen. The jeers and the cheers as we pretended to know what the hell was happening in the Dodge next to us. Then the conversation about it afterwards. And of course someone always farted and we had to leave the car for twenty minutes to get some fresh air.
    Ah the good old days.

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  12. Sure Ron, email me anytime.

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  13. Ahh..yes, good memories there. With parents and grandparents. I had it made about Grandparents. My paternal Grandmother loved Elvis (so did I..I even tried to get my parents to name my sister Elvis). Anyway, she loaded all my cousins and I up to see the Elvis movies..we all sat in lawn chairs. She was super religious, but she would take us to those movies. Now my maternal Grandfather liked the Elvis movies...but it was the girls he liked in them So he took us too. We took lawn chairs but never sat in them because he was NOT religious...in fact, he always took a flask of whiskely with him!!
    See why I am so screwed up, religous nuts on one side and alcoholics on the other..hee, hee.

    Later on in my teen years..I was in the cars that the parents were embarrassed about.:) Though, I was forbidden to go on a date there in a van (which were really in then..my hippy days)! Like a vehicle makes a difference!

    I know of a couple of drive-ins still open, one is in Jacksonville. Sadly, the one that holds all my memories (and ghosts) looks much like you described in your post. :(
    Thank you for a wonderful "feel good" post!!

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  14. Hiya Dave~

    Oh, man…your HYSTERICAL memories have added SO MUCH to this post…THANK YOU!!

    Damn…you truly are an ace comedian!

    That’s right…I forgot that the price of the movie included how ever many people you could cram in a car. And that PRICE…$5.00????

    (compared to $10.00 NOW)

    Yes…and the summer mosquito’s and all the wonderful odors from the burnt popcorn and butter, hot dogs, and root beer!

    Your mention of the “sex education” was a RIOT! And the FARTING!!! Farting was such a big deal as a kid, wasn’t it?

    (now I just pass gas…and NEVER even notice it!!)

    THANK YOU, KID SIR…for adding MORE wonderful memories to a wonderful memory!

    Applause, applause, applause….

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  15. Ron,
    I had to come back and comment again. I went to see Nitebyrd's blog.
    OMG
    I am still having heart palpitations!
    Holy shit!
    I am trying to figure out what this says about you my friend, That was a hell of a recommendation. I am having desert fantasies...
    and visions of cardiac arrest!
    What an interesting soul you are! i feel like I am 16 looking at a hustler for the first time....
    DAMN!
    I am still laughing...
    ~ giggle~
    ~giggle~
    ~snicker~

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  16. Oh, dearest Gypsy-Heart…

    Your awesome comment here, caused me to LAUGH until I POOPED!!!

    ELVIS!!!!! My mother adored him (like SO MANY women did). The way he gyrated those hips! He looked like he was spinning cotton candy!!!

    Ya, know…I totally forgot about the “lawn chairs.” Now that you mentioned it, I think I remember my mother sitting on a chaise-lawn chair, eating PEANUT CHEWS!

    Your grandfather sounded HYSTERICAL!!! The WHISKEY flask made me DIE!!!

    And your “hippy days” sounded like mine!!! Bell bottom pants, a suede vest, and a THICK leather belt…woo-woo! And the VW vans!!!!

    The last drive-in I went to, was in FLORIDA. I can’t remember where…but it had to of been close to Boca.

    It’s so good to hear that they STILL exist. I wonder if they have a large audience???

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing in this wonderful FLASH BACK with me!

    I have no idea WHY I was thinking about drive-in movies yesterday…but I’m so glad I decided to post about them.

    This was so much fun!!!

    And as always…sharing GOOD energy with you, Gypsy-Heart!

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  17. Thanks Nicole...I will!

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  18. Yep---still have 'drive-in's' over here, Ron.
    Gotta travel a bit to find one, but they do still exist.

    And yep....I seem to recall going with bags of popped corn, shoved into the car in our jammies with our blankies and fallin' asleep. LOL And playing on the swings before the movie and during intermission! Ohmygosh.....I remember that!

    Gosh---betcha himself would get a kick outta a drive-in movie. Wonder if I could get him to play on the swings with me!
    Might be worth the drive! LOL

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  19. Howdy Lady Sorrow~

    Oh my, God...your comment made me laugh hysterically!!!!!

    Isn't Nitebryd THE BEST????

    And didn't you LOVE her last post??

    I knew you would enjoy her!

    She's DIRECT, HONEST and REAL...and I so admire those qualities in people.

    She also has a heart of gold. She supports and contributes to many worthy causes.

    She has so many facets to her soul. Which makes her a wonderful person to know.

    Thank you for taking the time to visit her blog. I know she will enjoy sharing with you, as much as I do!

    Always a TREAT seeing you!!!!!

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  20. OMGOSH....curiousity did me in and I 'revisited' the dust bunny gal.

    OMG!
    OMG!
    OMG!!!

    Over 18 and NOT for the faint of heart alert!! ROFL

    Wowzer dowser......chick'n n dumplin's NEVER came with desert like that when I was growin' up!
    ROFLMAO!!!!

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  21. Greeting Mel~

    YEAAAA...I'm getting news from everyone here, that they DO STILL EXIST!!!!

    You're the THIRD person who mentioned the SWINGS!!!!

    How come I don't remember them???

    And yes...I do remember putting on the "jammies" too. I think this was a way for our mother's to have one less step they needed to do, when we all got home from the movies. They could just toss us into bed and say...goodnight!

    OH...and the popcorn somehow taste sooo much better at a dive-in too!

    Hey, let me know if Himself takes you for a SWING...it might be something that NITEBYRD could use on her blog!!!

    tee-hee..

    Thanks ever so much for stopping by and for sharing your memories with all of us, Mel!

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  22. Oh God, Mel...your comment about Nitebyrd's post made me HOWL with laughter!!!!!

    Wasn't it fabulous???

    I'm SOOOO glad that other people are going over there to read her words. Sorrow stopped by too...and if you read her comment here, you'll laugh your butt off!

    When I stopped by last night to read Nitebyrds recent post...I cracked up!!!

    I SO love her honesty and sense of humor.

    Such a wonderful soul is she!

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  23. Wow, what a great blast from the past. I remember seeing "The Godfather" at the drive in.

    Thanks for the memories, it been a long time since I've been to one.

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  24. Howdy Jeff~

    WOW...you saw the Godfather at a drive-in???

    I bet you were FREAKED about the possiblity of getting "flying machine gun bullets" through your car windows!!!!

    Or maybe a horse's head in the car trunk!

    Good seeing ya, bud...and thanks for sharing in the memory!

    Sincerely,
    Marlon

    How thrilling, man!!!

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  25. Good Morning, Ron. Thank you again for the praise. It's quite an honor. I can't remember the last time I blushed so much!

    I'm using your blog to THANK! all the new friends you've sent my way. I'm visiting each one and intend to thank them all properly in my space as soon as I'm able to catch up.

    You're a funny, insightful man. I'm very glad that I know you.

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  26. Morning Nitebyrd~

    You are SO welcome, dear lady!!!

    I can't tell you how freaking happy I am to know that other people are discovering your wonderful home and having such a good time!!!!

    This world needs so MUCH humor!!!

    I can't tell you how many times in a day, I walk the city streets and look into the faces of the people around me and think, "For God sake...lighten up that TIGHT ASS of your's...and SMILE!!!!

    And YOU'RE doing that for people, Nightbyrd!

    So, GRASSY ASS!

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