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You Know That Your Theater is in Big Trouble When . . .

Updated on April 5, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth has been a member of HubPages for five years. He is retired from a 23-year career in the weekly newspaper business.

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Yummy!

Movie Theater Plaza Theater in Atlanta serves popcorn with nutritional feast for vegan visitors.

Man, What a

time we had back when we were first introduced to the drive-in theater. I can see it in my memories and even remember the smells of freshly-popped popcorn, coffee, hamburgers, hotdogs, it almost drives me nuts, near nirvana, when I dwell on this perfect time in our lives.

The economy was booming, bursting at the seams, and America was great. Kids back in my time respected their elders (pretty much), stayed in school, and went to college then to teaching, research, military positions and some chose to get a job on the assembly line up North in the auto plants and have families.

The weekend was special back in my day. We all looked forward to Friday evenings, quick dinners, a quick bath, grabbing the car keys and heading to either our walk-in cinemas or drive-in theaters. Either one gave us a great night with lots of fun and memories to talk about in years to come.

Wellfleet drive in theater.
Wellfleet drive in theater. | Source
Park Theater downtown  Walden Colorado.
Park Theater downtown Walden Colorado. | Source

Before Moving Forward

let's look at both venues, the walk-in cinema and drive-in movie theater.

Walk-in Cinema Pros:

  • Protection from the rain, cold, and hot summer nights.
  • Easy access to the bathroom facilities.
  • Seats in a walk-in sat so well that a lot of us fell asleep if the film was boring or our date was not responding, or both.
  • No having to negotiate small hills with your car whereas in a drive-in, you had to find a good place on an elevated place to get near a speaker pole.

Drive-in Theater Pros:

  • More seclusion if you were with a hot, pretty cheerleader or majorette.
  • You could literally disrobe in your car or truck without anyone calling the cops.
  • You could smoke all of the cigarettes that you wanted. Not so in a walk-in cinema.
  • You could talk as loudly as you wanted to anyone you wanted as long as their driver's side window was rolled down.
  • It was a bit more sexier for us to be ladies men at a drive-in than a walk-in cinema.

Cinema cafe downtown Urbana, IL.
Cinema cafe downtown Urbana, IL. | Source
Ticket booths at  Skyline Drive-in  1957 South Wales.
Ticket booths at Skyline Drive-in 1957 South Wales. | Source
Vintage 35 mm  drive-in movie projector.
Vintage 35 mm drive-in movie projector. | Source

Do you prefer a cinema walk-in or drive-in theater?

See results

I Personally

do not have a preference of which of the two I prefer--the walk-in's or drive-in's. If pressed, I would say the drive-in, Ford Drive-in, located on highway 278 east, Hamilton, Ala., to be exact, because it was here that guys (our age) learned the taboo's of life, secrets about girls, and how to smoke cigarettes. What a great time to be alive. Note: I was more intrigued by the secrets about girls than learning how to smoke. Writer's note: this paragraph was the truth. Kenneth.

Last week I was dwelling on both the walk-in and drive-in theaters for some mysterious reason, and I had this idea surface: You Know That Your Theater is in Big Trouble When . . .

  • On opening night (big premiere) of the nation's most-advertised film, audiences are having arm wrestling matches in your viewing area.
  • Audiences are having inside yard sales in the aisles of your theater viewing area.
  • People find it easier to grab a long nap in your theater than to nap at home.
  • Each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night, audiences storm the projection room taking it over to show their vintage stag films which are more popular than the selections you have made to show in your theater.
  • Boxing matches are common place down in front when it's time to show your latest film purchase, but you are the boxer who "Teddy 'Bear' Taylor," a retired Golden Gloves heavyweight boxer is beating up in the night's matches.
  • Your theater makes a perfect place to showcase local talent in your hometown. "Rowdy J.W. Jones," cowboy singer is a crowd favorite.
  • Shadow puppets take the place of "Another Star Trekk," film you lost your behind on when it was released. But it's not all your fault. You didn't see the spelling 'Trekk' that kept the film's producers from being sued by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg who made the real Star Wars.
  • Local factory employees who work the second shift (3 p.m. to 11 p.m.) use your theater seating area for breaks and dinner time. Local cops find a certain restfulness and quiet when they all pile into your theater.
  • You have a brilliant idea. You leak a fake story to the local newspaper, radio, and television stations about a gang of foreign terrorists who have taken over your theater and you thought that this brainstorm would stir up public interest, but it only backfired when the local police, F.B.I. or Homeland Security never bothered to show up to arrest these blood-thirsty heathens.
  • You threaten to shut your theater down by placing an expensive full-page ad in your local newspaper and no one complains or disagrees with your decision.
  • You are now growing frightened by the weekend for your theater losing lots of money on poor films, but what really made you blow your top was the weekend that a traveling rodeo company took over your audience area and held a national bullriding competition in your theater.
  • You are at your wit's end. You try to sell your theater to get back the dough that you sunk into the business that the former owner said was a gold mine. You advertise your theater for sale in your local paper and even put it on every billboard outside of your town.
  • Then as a last resort, you change your ad to "Free! One walk-in theater to the first person to show up at 8 a.m. in the morning."

Sadly, now years later, you are still waiting.

Good night, Yuma, Arizona.

Fox Theater Atlanta, GA.
Fox Theater Atlanta, GA. | Source

© 2017 Kenneth Avery

Comments

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    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, Robert,

      I see that you, Randy, and MizBejabbers are on the same wavelength about drive-in memories.

      Yours talked about you having two drive-in's and taking your date with the best one; the food was better and always getting a hickey as a trophy to prove Saturday night was no fluke.

      I loved your comments as well as EVERYONE on this hub.

      I mean it.

      Everyone please keep in touch with me.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      MizBejabbers,

      I have to tell you the truth, you, Robert and Randy, on this hub comments, should get your ideas together and either write a series of hubs about drive-in's or a novel.

      I know that millions of folks would love reading the priceless memories such as you telling about rolling down the window to get the heat going to defog the window--memories like that. These are what books are made from.

      At least give it some serious thought.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, Louise,

      You don't have drive-in's in England? May I ask why? This point you wrote about intrigues me when we had a vast amount of various drive-in's with such glamorous names that will live in forever.

      I am still praying that a drive-in comeback is on our horizon.

      Hey, Louise, you can fly over to where I live and I will pay your way into a movie entitled (just a suggestion) "The Monster That Ate New Jersey," how about that one?

      Huh?

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 8 months ago from Southern Georgia

      That's a fine idea, Kenneth! And that guy, he's still around....

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Randy,

      LOL! Some funny drive-in memories, for sure. I loved them all. But THE one that was purely classic was the naked guy falling out of the backseat.

      Wonder where he went off to?

      I do wish that you would put your keyboard to a novel about drive-in's and I mean really work on it with a vast list of photos you can get online from theaters in most states.

      You would be rich beyond your wildest dreams.

      I am serious.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, whonunuwho,

      Yep. Sign of the times. Hard times, I might add, when our drive-in's disappeared.

      I was hoping for a comeback of REAL drive-in theaterdom in our country when the DVD, VHS, Blue Tooth market ever fades away, but I get tired of waiting.

      Maybe you and I can build a time warp. What do you think?

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dearest Sakina :)

      A Sincere Thanks to you for filing your sweet comment. Oh, to relive such years as we had in the hey day of drive-in's and walk-in theaters.

      Fun, snacks, kissing, and well, life itself. I think that we have missed a lot about these entities.

      If I were Bill Gates, I would open a long string of drive-in's in the U.S. and so what if I lost money? What a tax shelter!

      But what a great time.

    • kenneth avery profile image
      Author

      Kenneth Avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, John,

      I loved your comment about differences between U.S. drive-in's and British drive-in's and I have to tell you that (depending on my age level at the time) the "new" about drive-in theaters had worn off a bit and there was not as much gangland fights in the concession area and mugging people who wanted to only be left alone and enjoy a movie and a girl.

      The high percentage of these gangland ventures led to a rise in hiring of our policemen who drove by frequently to keep an eye on such thugs.

      Keep writing, John and write me soon.

    • faith-hope-love profile image

      John Ward 8 months ago from Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

      Enjoyed this a lot Where I grew up we did not have drive ins. We did have walk ins though and they were utilized a lot. No Privacy. Remember the old saying "No Sex Please, We're British". But this did not kill our curiosity. Good. John W

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image

      Sakina Nasir 8 months ago from Kuwait

      Great hub Kenneth, my dear friend. :) I really enjoyed reading it and I love the humor added. LOL. Really nice. God bless you! :)

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 8 months ago from Southern Georgia

      There were also air-conditioned drive-ins in my day, Kenneth. Where the regular hook-on speaker was there was also an air vent which fit snugly into the window with little adjustable sliding seals. In the winter warm air was pumped in and cold air in the summer. Who'd a thunk it!!

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 8 months ago from Norfolk, England

      We don't have drive-in theatres here in England, but wish we did! I do like going to the theatre though.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 8 months ago

      Great memories, Kenneth. We loved the drive-ins as a family. Kids under 12 got in free. I was such a tiny person that I always got in free with my family and didn't have to pay until I went with a date. After that they knew me because it was such a small town. There were a couple of bad things, though. It was stifling hot in the summer time, and sometimes the mosquitoes feasted on us. In cold weather, it got cold and sometimes we had to roll up the windows and start the car to run heat. Not good. I do miss those small-town theaters, both drive ins and hard tops. This was a goody, dear friend.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 8 months ago from Southern Georgia

      Yes Kenneth, the drive in was the thing. Those fogged-up windshield nights remain fondly in my memories. I remember one night when an unidentified stranger--it wasn't me I tell ya--and his date fell out of the backseat of a car buck naked. Naturally everyone's headlights were turned when we....er...they were scrambling around trying to get back in the car. And the food was good too. :)

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 8 months ago

      Ahh Kenneth great memories! We had two drive in picture shows and my favorite to take my date. Back in the day the movies were pretty much G rated but sometimes the previews bordered on what is porn now. Popcorn tasted better and there was always bingo, toot your horn to signal bingo and the prizes were usually pretty good. Lots of necking and petting and waking up Sunday morning looking in the mirror and finding a hickey on you neck and embarrassed when you ma asked what happened to your neck! Those days are lost only to those who never experienced living in the best times of our history.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 8 months ago from United States

      The sign of the times my friend. Always changing, it seems.I too, remember special times when just a kid and we had a family night trip to the Drive-in. Those were the days. Many blessings to you and family. whonu