Whatever happened to drive in theatres?
Some of my fondest childhood memories involved going to the drive-in movie theatres with the family. We would pop massive amounts of popcorn, fill the cooler with drinks and sandwiches, gather pillows and blankets and off we would go for a night of watching movies at the drive-in.
The movie wasn't always the main attraction for us kids. Most drive-in movie theaters in my area had massive playgrounds. The sound of laughter from the kids at the playground and the smell of food from the refreshment stand would hypnotize us into wanting to watch the movie from the playground area. My parents usually took lawn chairs and would indulge our desire to hang out at the playground area with the other kids. It was euphoric for us . . . it was such a festive atmosphere buzzing with people everywhere.
How about those intermission clips featuring dancing popcorn and soda? I loved those intermission clips! I can't believe that we loved that nasty pizza from the refreshment stand . . . it was more like cardboard with tomato sauce and melted cheese!
My parents didn't have to deal with not being able to take us to R-rated movies . . . they didn't exist. It was an innocent time and we were able to be kids without having sexual innuendo in our face 24/7. It was simple family fun and we went often. The only problem we had was keeping the mosquitoes away!
As I approached high school age, the drive-in movie theaters were the big hang out on the weekends. Seems like we kind of chased the families away and took over. There was a theater in particular that we shared with three other high schools as the cool hang out. Those were great times!
Movies started changing and became sexual where it didn't have to be, in my opinion. A good story is a good story without the sex. Those movies embarrassed me . . . especially since we hung out in mixed company. Not that I'm a prude or anything, but I was so very innocent . . . but you know, I feel like most of the time it is just not necessary, even now. The movie makers love to shock us, although we have become desensitized and are no longer shocked. I would not like to be a kid growing up in today's time . . . this is their "normal".
Little by little, we lost interest in going to see movies outdoors . . . and during the 70's and 80's, thousands of drive-in movie theaters closed. Malls became popular and the single movie theaters turned into multiplex theaters. I guess with lowered attendance and revenue, drive-in movie theater owners found that they could make more money by selling the land to developers and get out of the business.
It is sad . . . I often think of those times and how cool it would be to see a movie outdoors and relive those times for just a night. However, in my area there is only one left that I know of and it is in a bad part of town . . . but I don't think I would feel safe in a drive-in movie theater in these crazy times of high crime in the best part of town. The times have drastically changed since those simple, innocent times that I loved so much.
What are your memories of drive-in movie theaters?
Do you still go to them or would you go if they were available in your area?
Learn more about the history of drive-in movie theaters,
find a theater in your area and much more . . .
Photo credit: Date: 8/19/1961; Artist: George Hughes; Title: Drive-In Movies; Copyright: 1961 SEPS. All rights reserved.