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The Evolution of the Drive-in Movie Theatre - for me
Coming from an English background the only concept of the drive-in movie theatre was what I had seen in the movie Grease. You know the part – when Danny Zuko is sitting like a big sap on the swing with the movie screen in the background singing to Sandy, his lost love. I can hear it now… “Stranded at the drive-in…. branded a fool… what will they say…. Monday at school….”
The movie showed that the drive in was the all-American thing to do as a teenager, but it was something I had never experienced.
Then I moved to Canada (little America, as I called it at the time). This opened up my eyes to all that was North American. Fast food in excess, bright and garish signs, obesity and of course, the drive-in movie theatre.
Initially I only dipped my toe into the phenomena that was the drive-in. I recall my first ever visit when I borrowed a friends car that had a stereo that worked and was fascinated how the movie sound came through my very own radio just by hooking a wire over my antenna. The whole joyous experience was ruined by the fact that I got eaten alive by mosquitoes though. Note to self: ask God what he was thinking when he created mosquitoes.
Still, as a family, we persevered. Having two young sons, the drive-in non-attendance option was no longer an option for us. After all, all their friends would talk about how much fun it was. So instead of fighting it, we jumped in with both feet.
Being an organized family, we organized ourselves in this area too. The result is that a trip to the drive-in is something that is fine-tuned like a military maneuver.
First thing is that we only go on cheap night. The drive-in near us has $5 Tuesdays when each person pays $5 regardless. For us that’s a $20 night out. Then the best of the best is carload Thursdays for $15. That works out at 2 (or sometimes 3) movies for 4 people for only $15. You can’t stay home for cheaper!
Next... the setup
Second is the vehicle setup. We drive an SUV, so our plan is always to get there early and find a central spot where we can back in to the screen. We lift the rear hatch up and my wife sets up the “nest” comprising of copious cushions, blankets, and sleeping bags. It’s kinda like watching a mother bird prepare the bedding for her newly hatched young. Once the nest is prepared the anointing begins. Each family member applies liberal amounts of mosquito repellant to another family member. Now, to the idle observer this could look similar to monkeys grooming each other in the zoo, but to us it enables relaxation whilst watching the movie as we laugh at others sitting around swatting at invisible tyrants in the air.
Third thing is the snacks. Now, in this area we are somewhat rebellious. They have signs that say “No outside food or drink” at the entrance to the drive-in movies. Of course that is not followed by another sign that says, “Extortionately priced merchandise available here!” so we feel we have a get out of jail free card by their own false advertising. We always take a cooler of drinks, snacks, popcorn, chocolate and whatever is left over at home that will fit in the cooler. These items are then surreptitiously sneaked into the nest area of the vehicle.
Important thing next...
Fourth thing – we go pee before the movie starts. If you happen to forget this 4th thing then check out this idea here.
Last thing is that we lay back and enjoy the movie, chat when there are dull parts and make another family memory at the same time.
If you have never been to the drive-in, I highly recommend checking it out.