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At-The Drive-In: More Movie Memories

Updated on January 16, 2013

Friday night

Friday nights, the work week is over, well at least for some and the weekend has finally arrived. Some years back this meant that if it was a pay week, I had a few bucks in my pocket, at least enough for a tank of cash, and the price of admission for two to the drive-in theatre. Snacks are a must for a drive-in is simply not a drive-in without food.

The first was to see the movies; well that was the cover story anyway.

The drive-in provided the privacy of being in your own space with your companion which was very important when you were still living at hoem with mom and dad and had little personal space.

Even when I was first married we still made regular trips to the drive-in. there was simply something special about the whole experience.

When I was in my early 20s in southern Ontario, there were 2 drive-in theatres within a 30 minute drive of where I lived.

One was only 10 minutes away but it was finally closed as the new Toronto Airport, now known as Pearson international Airport grew. I remember planes flying so low, the drive-in was on a flight path that they seemed to almost touch the screen. The sound drowned the audio for a few minutes.

That theater closed and we traveled a bit further to the next one. It was at that time we discovered a third drive-in about an hour away from hoem which we visited less often.

At least we still had a choice although what was playing was often a secondary concern. There were double bills and some Friday nights they would have a triple bill, three movies for the price of admission and the snack stand stayed open later.

The food, a foot long hot dog, a hamburger, fries and a large coke that was the regular fare. If I had of known then what I know now I may have not eaten so much, but then that was half the fun.

In order to avoid standing in line for too long I’d leave the car about 10 minutes before the picture ended, get the food and be back before the break between flicks. I could watch the film as I walked to the stand.

We often went with another couple but in separate cars. Often we’d get there early so that we could park close to the snack stand but not so close that there was a regular stream of people walking by or the intrusion of the bright lights on the stand.

I also got quite good and getting out of the theatre before the lien up got too long and you sat and sat in your car waiting to exit.

The weather sometimes worked against us. One evening we had gone to see Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark and about 30 minutes into the film the fog rolled in so heavy that you could not see the screen. We sat there waiting for it to lift but no luck. It was a challenge to navigate our way out of the drive-in and find the way back home but we were young and it was all an adventure. We went back the following weekend and saw the film.

The drive-in were I began a long standing relationship with Dr. Who. The first movies on this particular night was Dr Who and the Dalecks with Peter Cushing. It was low budget quirky but struck home and I enjoyed the TV series for a number of years.

I do not miss the drive-in today mostly because I do not drive or own a care but still look back on those days with find memories.

The Drive-IN

courtesy flickr/phil schatz
courtesy flickr/phil schatz


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  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick


  • profile image

    Christopher Stone 

    10 years ago

    The Fresno drive-in, on Fresno Street, south of Shaw Ave., was the Starlite.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    11 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks SB, I remember the playground a great way to keep kids busy until the movie started.

  • Shadesbreath profile image


    11 years ago from California

    Fun hub! I remember drive-ins so well. There was one in Fresno called the Star Light drive in that had a playground at the bottom of the screen. We'd get there when there was still light out and my parents would never let us go play, lol.

    I remember the old Sinbad claymation shows the best. Man those were awesome. And I loved when a new Disney movie came out. I can still remember seeing 101 Dalmations and the Rescuers when they premiered.

    Fun hub man, very fun.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    11 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for sharing your memories.

  • ctmovieworks profile image


    11 years ago

    I'm a huge drive-in theater fan. I grew up during their decline but had the opportunity to view some 100 movies on the big white screen before they all became extinct. I live in Connecticut and they saw the fastest decline of drive-ins around the US. And in 2000 only two drive-ins remained out of the 20+ theaters we once had in the state. Since most of the drive-ins were sold off for real estate the ones that do remain are a american icon with memories that will last a lifetime. There was nothing like going to a drive-in with your family and friends, visiting the snack bar, viewing the old style concession ads, and the whole outside experience. I will always cherish the memories I've had while at the drive-in. It was a awesome experience. Cheers

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    12 years ago from New Brunswick

    Hmm, drive-in hot dogs, good memories and fun times, thanks for stopping by.

  • marisuewrites profile image


    12 years ago from USA

    I loved those simple cheap entertainment drive in movie nights!! That ol' squaky speaker in the window and sometimes sitting on the hood to watch while Mom and dad strained their necks to see around us...always giving us the best seat choices. Popcorn was cheap and the cokes were dogs the best!

    Great fun, for all! nice memory trip here, Bob!!

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    12 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks solar, the times did seem simpler then, glad you stopped by.

  • solarshingles profile image


    12 years ago from london

    Bob, I loved to read your fond memories about drive-in movie theaters. Nice company, safe warm place of your own car, delicious simple food and drinks, big movie screen...oh, how I miss that, these days.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    12 years ago from New Brunswick

    Sally, thank you for the added lnk, and your comments, who can forget the dancing popcorn boxes.

  • cgull8m profile image


    12 years ago from North Carolina

    Wait until Dark is a great movie. I wish there were more Drive-In theaters, it is great for families and friends.

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    12 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    Your readers might like to know that there are two motels in the US that feature drive-in movies.  One is in Colorado and the other in Vermont.

    In the late 80s, driving from Pennsylvania to California with my young daughter, I planned our route carefully with advance reservations and sight-seeing stops.  From the AAA tour books, I found a motel in Colorado where you could watch a big screen drive-in movie from your motel room!  My daughter and I had a blast.  We had a fabulous steak dinner at the motel's restaurant, packed our excellent cheese cake dessert in a doggie bag, and then retired to our room to relax in grand lounge chairs in front of an enormous window which looked out on the drive-in movie screen.  We watched The Terminator and listened to the action over real 50s audio boxes which were mounted under the giant window of the room.

    Here's the link to this incredible preserver of the drive-in movie: 

    I could go on and on about the nostalgia of drive-in movies, much as you and your commenters have.  Let me just say that I was crazy about the concession food, too (remember the dancing popcorn buckets?), and when I was a kid my mother gave me a bath and dressed me in PJs before we got in the car to go.  She wasn't the only one.  The playground in front of the big screen was full of little kids in their night clothes.

    Thanks for a wonderful Hub!


  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    12 years ago from New Brunswick

    If there was a drive-in near me, I bet even consider getting a car but i'd passs on the snacks. :)

  • rmr profile image


    12 years ago from Livonia, MI

    The drive-ins are among my favorite childhood memories. So sad, that they are mostly gone. I mourn the loss, often. Sometimes, when a new movie comes out, I still think about how good it would be on a massive drive-in screen.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    12 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    12 years ago from New Brunswick

    Ana Louise, thanks for visting and I am pleased it was a pleasant memory.

  • Georgiakevin profile image


    12 years ago from Central Georgia

    Drive In Movies were quite an experience. I have lived in two places in recent years that still had them but never was able to bring my four kids to them. Am sorry that this is a memory i could not share with them.

  • profile image

    Ana Louis 

    12 years ago

    Wow...this hub took me down memory lane. My parents took us to the drive-in movies often. We would arrive early...while it was still light and my sister and I would get to play on the swings, merry-go-round, etc. before the movie. It was great fun. I never liked the speakers though. They would be hung on the front windows and the quality was not the best...or they would not work and we would have to move the car to another spot. In the winter we would take a blanket and pillows and fall asleep on the way home...those were great days.

    Thanks for reminding me.


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