Drive-In Theaters

I remember when as a kid we’d go to the drive-in movies! I loved those outings! Me, my brother, and sister would all get dressed into our pajamas because mom and dad knew we’d be out later than our usual bedtime.

I remember before the movie started, how all the kids would go play in the playground, which was located at the base of the large movie screen at the front of all the cars tat were parked. I remember being outfitted in my ‘onesies’, which I loved and playing without a care in the world in the sandy playground. There was a slide and swings and the kids that were there were all just having a good time.

Drive-in movie theaters at that time were quite typical and frequented. A family could take a carload of kids for what I assume would be a very reasonable price. The drive-in movie theaters were something magical to me. We would always get to the drive-in while it was still light outside. There would always be time to play before the movie, and there were ALWAYS two cartoons that would play before the main movie.

Yes, main movie as there were always two that played. Often the movies were an ‘A’-movie, being that it was the Main Feature, and an older, or ‘B’ movie that never really won big at the box-office at the onset.

I can’t think about any movie that I was at the drive-in that was actually a ‘big blockbuster’. I remember seeing a number of Dracula movies which always scared me. There was all of the original Planet of the Apes movies, Rollerball, space/alien movies such as The Blob, (The Green Slime stands out), Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Dark Shadows movie too. I guess my parents were really into sci-fi/horror at that time. I also remember seeing a number of ‘Bigfoot’ movies which always intrigued me, and of course many, many westerns and any/all John Wayne movies.

Going to the movies was always such a fun treat, just because. My family would all load up in our station wagon, take our favorite blanket, and mom would pop popcorn to eat once we arrived. For whatever reason part of the comforting mystique was that I always fell asleep before the end of the second movie, perhaps even before the second movie began.

The crappy car speakers that you’d hook on to the car window, the campy cartoons and movie lead-ins. It was all so ‘old-fashioned’ at the time and I didn’t even realize that it was. That thought alone is cool, to be a part of historic nostalgia. Growing up, I thought I missed all of that old-fashioned stuff. I was wrong, I was living in it without even realizing my involvement.

Childhood and nostalgia (in relative terms), both are far away yet the memory is always comforting. Those days were powerful to me in my life, and I remember many of those days with such innocent affection. The Drive-In Movie Theater is missed, but sadly not missed by those who should be missing it now.