|The Great American Drive In's and Movie Theaters Tribute
by Mark S. Orr
|Death of the Drive In
The coming year (2013) will mark the 80th anniversary of one of the
greatest venues of entertainment of the 20th century, the drive in
theater. Since it's beginning in 1933, the drive in theater has been
the source of many wonderful memories for thousands of people of all
ages for several generations.If you've never watched a movie on a
giant screen, beneath the summer stars,in the comfort of your car,
with your family, a date or just hanging out with friends...you have
missed a piece of true film Americana.
In their heyday, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in the U.
S. That figure is now estimated conservatively at about 350 theaters
still operating. The local drive-in theater of this writers home town, the
Skyvue drive-in, located in New Castle, Henry County, Indiana, U.S.,
closed it's doors last year (2011) for good. Truly the end of an era.
The biggest loss is not the fact that movies are less available. It's the
fact that all the great things associated with drive-in's are lost. Things
like packing your car, and sometimes trunk, full of people to see a
new movie in the great outdoors. The sound was piped into your car
through metal speakers that attached to your window, the concession
stand was only a few steps away with some of the greatest American
junk-fast food ever! Buttered popcorn, hot dogs, pretzels with cheese,
real “fountain” cokes and a plethora of every kind of candy
Intermission was the time to grab some snacks and meet up with all
your friends. Some of my best drive-in movie memories are of
watching great horror flicks on the huge screen. Midnight showings,
dusk to dawn, special attractions and guest appearances by creepy
Indiana's creepster was 'Sammy Terry', part ghoul, part vampire and
a TV and public appearance superstar. I am saddened to think that it
is now a thing of the past. You haven't really seen “Creature from the
Black Lagoon” until you've seen Roicou Browning in that monster wet
suit on a 40 x 50 foot screen. Or the great scene in 'Jaws' when
Captain Quint becomes shark food.
Even the sound seemed better at drive-ins, with the reverberating
echo provided by hundreds of speakers hanging from car windows.
“You're going to need a bigger boat!”, “Here's Johnny!”, and the
famous line in almost every great, campy horror movie....”I think we
should split up”.
You knew people were about to get picked off one by one by the
monster duJour! You could hear the groans of incredulity from movie
goers in every car in the lot.
Indoor theaters are great and I've even viewed a few movies online,
but for my money...if you want the real experience....you're going to
need a bigger screen.
Please help our drive-in theater re-open by visiting the following site
and showing your support!
Mark S. Orr
March 15. 2013
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