ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

My Favorite Drive In Movie Experinces

Updated on July 29, 2011
Drive In Theatre
Drive In Theatre

Sadly, the days of the Drive-In Movie Theater have faded away. In a time not long ago, it was common for several Drive-Ins to be located in or near a major city and every decent sized town had at least one Drive-In to call their own.

My connection to Drive-Ins is a personal one, when I was a senior in high school I worked the concession stand at the 11th Street Drive In, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For nine months I saw sold popcorn, cooked hot dogs, threw ice at my fellow employees and got to see such “classic” films as John Carpenter’s “The Thing”, Chuck Norris’ “Good Guys Were Black”, Cheech ‘n Chong’s “Nice Dreams” (a big hit by the way), every cheap Bruce Lee imitation films known to man (not starring Bruce Lee mind you, but a series of guys who sorta looked like him), and finally the biggest hit film we had, running jam packed full of cars for six weeks, the Kenny Rogers’ classic “Six Pack”. Never heard of “Six Pack”? Hey, it had Diane Lane, Anthony Michael Hall in early role in their film career…and Kenny Rogers, too.

Oh well, the 11th Street Drive In closed down in 1982, but my memories of the good ‘ol drive in days goes both before and after that. I’ll admit that most of them were pretty mundane, although at the 11th Street when “The Thing” would play, I would run out from the concession stand when the head of one of the characters sprouted legs and scurried across the floor and scream, “Step on the bug! Step on him before he gets to the children!!”…hey, I was young then.

During the premiere of “Men in Black” for example, there were so many bugs that they clogged the projector, causing the film to break and 45 minutes of waiting for the poor projectionist to clean out the mess and re-start the movie. Or perhaps the time we watched “Anaconda” (yea, I paid money to see “Anaconda”) during a 60+ mile per hour windstorm.

Here are three experiences (all sober mind you) that I had at the Drive-In. I hope you enjoy them and maybe for some of you out there, it will bring back a few drive-in memories of your own.

True Grit (1969)

My parents…or should I say, my Dad was and still is a certified John Wayne fan. When I was a little kid we would go to the drive in (usually the 11th Street, but sometimes the Admiral Twin, which was featured in the film, “The Outsiders”) once or twice a month and catch the latest family-type film or more usually the big John Wayne western.

On this occasion, the film was “True Grit” and I was packed into the back seat of our navy blue 1965 Plymouth Valiant, Mom had made us some popcorn and we were off to the movies. Normally, I would jump around a bit in the back seat, pay attention to five minutes or so of the film, then fall asleep.

This time around, I was captivated, even though I was barely 5 years old. I knew that John Wayne was an icon, perhaps the symbol of the American western hero. Bigger than life and never to be messed with, this time Wayne was playing an older, grumpier, and far more vulnerable version of a hero than I was used to seeing. So I stayed up and watched the entire movie, standing up on the back seat while resting my chin against the back of the front seat.

My two big memories were Wayne taking on four bad guys and the final, sweet ending freeze frame catching John Wayne jumping his horse over a four rail fence. I may not have understood all of what was said, but I enjoyed what I saw and that began my lifelong “obsession” with film. Of course, I did fall asleep on the drive home and remember waking up on my Dad’s shoulder as he carried me into the house. Those memories are priceless.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Fast forward my life to the small town of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I was working at the local university and there was a small Drive-In located about 3 miles north of the town. If the feature drew my interest, I would go and see the film. On this occasion, my good pal “Easy” (how he got his nickname would take another hub) and his new bride Katie and a couple of her friends joined us at the Drive In.

Now, the weather in Oklahoma cooperates about as long as it takes to say, “cooperates” and before the movie started the rain began coming down. Katie and her pals stayed in the van while “Easy” and I came prepared. Both of us were sitting on lawn chairs, “Easy” wrapped in his poncho, I in my waterproof blanket complete with umbrellas for us both. The rain was steady, but about the time Jodie Foster’s character broke into the rented garage, a line of thunderstorms passed a few miles away behind the screen flowing from left to right, adding considerably to the atmosphere of the film.

This was a unique moment in watching a film for sure…or so I thought.

The Fifth Element (1997)

It was spring, it was warm, and we knew something was going to happen. This time out, the van was the same, but filled with college girls and my good pal Mike. We didn’t bring the lawn chairs for some reason and stuck it out in the van. About 2/3rds the way into the film, a thunderstorm which had filled the sky with rain, thunder, and lightning collapsed into a massive hailstorm so thick we could hardly see out the windshield, much less the screen.

The hail ended rather quickly, so I took the opportunity to run to the bathroom which was behind the concession stand, slipping around quite a bit on the hail that had fallen. And when I came out, the theater screen was filled by the image of a blue-skinned alien, the “Diva” if you will, and she began her long, slow opera song. As she began to sing, steam started rising from the ground creating a surreal, fog-like effect that surrounded the vehicles and gave a glossy, eerie sheen to the image on the screen.

The combination of the song and fog was something I’ll never forget.

I hope you enjoyed reading these memories as much as I enjoyed telling them. Perhaps you can share your memories as well from the bygone days of the Drive-In movie.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      You know, my memories of the drive-in pale in comparison to yours. All I remember is watching the movies. I have never had to contend with thunderstorms or hail that created a setting for the movie. Then again, there wasn't a whole lot of drive-ins (or at least my family didn't go) when I was growing up.

      However, my husband is from Riverside, Ca and they still have an active drive-in. We went to see Cars 2 because of the kids. My memory was when in between the movies someone elses battery died. My husband said we had nothing to worry about because we had a new battery. Suddenly, 15 minutes before the movie ended, so did our battery. Ironic cause we didn't have jumper cables. Apparently 90 percent of the movie goers don't either. We eventually found someone, but it took awhile. I still love the drive-in though! :)

    • Luna B. profile image

      Luna B. 

      7 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Great hub! There are still a few drive-in theaters keeping these memories alive. I remember seeing a double feature of Lilo and Stitch w/ Men and Black at the Spud Theater in Idaho when I was a teenager. Great theater and it's still there! :) I say, a drive-in theater is the absolute best way to see a movie. Bar none!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Definitely dating myself but I clearly remember the $1 a car load days at the Drive-In and double features. The Bay State Drive-In, the Middleboro Drive-In, the Raynham Drive-In, and the Seekonk Twin Drive-In were my haunts. Thanks for bringing back those memories with this hub.

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      I bet 'The Fifth Element' was great at the drive-in movies! That would definitely have been my pick if I had a choice out of your experiences. We have a drive-in movie theater about an hour away from where I live, but I've only been there once. I like to be able to discuss what I'm watching, so drive-in theaters are fun in that regard. I voted this up and useful!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)