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The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Old 06-09-22, 10:02 PM
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The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

I inadvertently temporarily derailed another thread with talk about me going to the drive-in, so to avoid that in the future, I figured I'd start my own thread about it. I'll post about when I go, and I encourage anyone else to share their experiences or memories.

As I previously mentioned in that other thread, the drive-in has really started to become my preferred way of going to the movie theater. I think it has a lot to do with being able to still avoid people, antisocial to the end. Ha, ha. But there are a number of reasons. It has been a great alternative for me. I pick up dinner somewhere beforehand and get there early to make sure I get a good parking spot.

While outside food is allowed, grills aren't. Engines must be off during the movie. No sitting on top of cars. No car lights, no honking. Something came up in the other thread along the lines of how odd it was to have a drive-in playing first-run movies and not allowing things like grilling and such. I didn't have much of an answer. Honestly, I hadn't really thought about it. I just figured that's how all of them were, but I gave it some thought and actually have an answer.

I live in one of the most low-income parts of the country, but this theater gives a family the chance to pile into a car and only have to pay $10 admission per car (half price on Tuesdays) for a double feature. There are probably a lot of people there who legitimately couldn't afford to take their kids to see the latest Marvel film, as an example. This provides the opportunity to take the whole family to see a new movie projected on a big screen. I think that's pretty cool. I think it might also help explain why people tend to be more focused on the movie - or are at least quietly respectful. It's pretty crazy, though, seeing a packed drive-in, and it does get packed depending on the showing.

I believe the theater I go to has been operating since the glory days of drive-ins. Of course, it has upgraded equipment along the way. It runs a double feature every night, rain or shine. For me, one of the charms is the totally odd pairings there sometimes will be. I'm going to list all the ones I remember going to in this post, though can't promise they're in order, and will just make new posts about them here in this thread in the future.

So, do you have a drive-in that you go to? Or any experiences you'd care to share? Good or bad? I promise to be nice. I understand the vibe might not be for everyone.

Past Showings
Eternals and Antlers
Encanto and Last Night in Soho
Spiderman No Way Home and Ghostbusters Afterlife
West Side Story and First Kingsman (the place was dead for this!)
Scream 5 and Matrix Resurrections
Licorice Pizza and Moonfall
Dog and The Batman (super weird that Batman played second on its premiere night ...)
Doctor Strange 2 and Green Ghost & the Masters of the Stone
Top Gun Maverick and Firestarter


Probably not the best representation but a picture taken at Licorice Pizza.
Old 06-09-22, 10:44 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

In my junior high and high school years I live in a really small AZ town. ALL we had was a drive-in until they built a tiny walk-in theater. The drive-in was the social center of the city. It was Facebook of the 70s. The unique thing about was, while it had the usual cheapass metal speakers, they had a plug. When you paid the entry fee, they handed you a speaker. You had to hand it back on your way out. I wasn't sure if that was to cut down on theft or on people hearing the movie without paying. If you wanted to see a movie in a regular theater, you'd have to drive either to Phoenix or Las Vegas.

Before I got my own car I would take my mom's station wagon to the drive-in. Sometimes friends or classmates would pile in so we could all watch the movie together. One time this girl, Teri Brady, sat next to me. Her breast brushed against my arm and that was when I felt(noticed) the softness for the first time.

Fast forward several years. Married with children. Drive-ins were a choice. Easier and cheaper to pile the family and food into the car. But drive-ins, at least back in the day was a crappy way to see a movie. Quality was bad because projecting a large distance would degrade the quality. Especially on those humid nights in FL. Nowadays you have better digital projectors and in-car sound.


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Old 06-10-22, 12:56 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

My family still loves the drive-in and we go a couple of times a summer. my wife and I have zero gravity chairs and the kids lay down in the back of our ford explorer with the seats folded flat. We have a specifically purchased portable radio we keep to listen to the movie, my wife got it for me last fathers day after diligently searching for a model that works well for this. We had bought a couple of cheap boom boxes over the years but the tuning was not good and we got a lot of static and this radio is a game-changer. For much of the pandemic, we had seen first-run movies only at the drive-in (plus a huge treat of the Nightmare Before Xmas which rarely is seen on a big screen anymore.) We recently (clutches purse tightly) saw Top Gun Maverick and the new Nick Cage film there and loved it.

We have brought over a dozen people to their first time seeing something at the Drive-in including a child from France that was staying with us and my oldest son who is 19 is looking forward to going to the Drive-in in his truck this year.

No grilling is allowed, prices for food are very reasonable and they make a good burger. You can bring your own food. No smoking or alcohol but red solo cups fix the latter issue if we want a beverage for the first screening. We love it and will continue to support the Bridgeton Drive-in as long as they are open. The switch to digital killed a lot of places due to the cost of equipment and short season in New England. We are lucky to have a number of places to choose from in my area, near my camp in ME as well as NH, MA and VT.
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Old 06-10-22, 12:59 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

In ME we have seen the northern lights while watching movies as well as a number of shooting stars and satellites crossing the sky. We still use the Pix ring for mosquito control and they typically are not too bad.
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Old 06-10-22, 02:39 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Originally Posted by jpcamb View Post
My family still loves the drive-in and we go a couple of times a summer. my wife and I have zero gravity chairs and the kids lay down in the back of our ford explorer with the seats folded flat. We have a specifically purchased portable radio we keep to listen to the movie, my wife got it for me last fathers day after diligently searching for a model that works well for this. We had bought a couple of cheap boom boxes over the years but the tuning was not good and we got a lot of static and this radio is a game-changer. For much of the pandemic, we had seen first-run movies only at the drive-in (plus a huge treat of the Nightmare Before Xmas which rarely is seen on a big screen anymore.) We recently (clutches purse tightly) saw Top Gun Maverick and the new Nick Cage film there and loved it.

We have brought over a dozen people to their first time seeing something at the Drive-in including a child from France that was staying with us and my oldest son who is 19 is looking forward to going to the Drive-in in his truck this year.

No grilling is allowed, prices for food are very reasonable and they make a good burger. You can bring your own food. No smoking or alcohol but red solo cups fix the latter issue if we want a beverage for the first screening. We love it and will continue to support the Bridgeton Drive-in as long as they are open. The switch to digital killed a lot of places due to the cost of equipment and short season in New England. We are lucky to have a number of places to choose from in my area, near my camp in ME as well as NH, MA and VT.
I live in south Texas, largely subtropical weather, so I sometimes forget that there are times in other areas of the country when a drive-in just isn't at all feasible.

And it's funny you mention your last viewing because I think a friend is going with me tonight for the new Jurassic World and Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. I'm really looking forward to the latter. Good to hear you enjoyed it. I'm expecting a mass migration of cars after Jurassic World.
Old 06-10-22, 03:39 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Which one do you go to?
I've been to the one in Hockley, TX once... but the screen quality was... not great.
The movie was The Vast of Night, which takes place all at night and had very moody lighting, so maybe just a bad pick for a drive-in.
Old 06-10-22, 04:38 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

There was a local drive-in I went to a few times when I was a kid.

The only movie I specifically seeing there was King Kong (70s version). I also remember them playing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for a bout a month straight. I wanted to see it, but my mother wouldn't take me to it. I think I was probably five or six.

The main thing I remember was the snack bar. It was like a little restaurant off to one side of the parking area. That was the first time I ever had a barbecue beef sandwich, so that stands out in my mind.

The theater was on the outskirts of a small city, sort of in an industrial park. It closed down when I was still pretty young, and the giant screen just stood there, abandoned, for about ten or fifteen years until they tore it down or it collapsed on its own.

Old 06-10-22, 05:29 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Originally Posted by clckworang View Post
I live in south Texas, largely subtropical weather, so I sometimes forget that there are times in other areas of the country when a drive-in just isn't at all feasible.

And it's funny you mention your last viewing because I think a friend is going with me tonight for the new Jurassic World and Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. I'm really looking forward to the latter. Good to hear you enjoyed it. I'm expecting a mass migration of cars after Jurassic World.
By the end of Unbearable weight, there were maybe 5 cars left, it was packed for Top Gun. I was surprised my wife liked Unbearable weight as it's really tongue in cheek kind of thing which is not her standard fare.
Old 06-11-22, 07:25 AM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Probably seen more movies at drive-in than indoors.

I grew up in Quad Cities. Davenport, IA. There were four indoor theaters and five drive-ins. 1960s thru early 70s.
The indoor theaters were traditional single screen. Balcony. 2000-3000 seats.
Coronet- only showed roadshow and musicals. Sound of Music. My Fair Lady. Doctor Zhivago.Ryan's Daughter, etc. These movies would play for months, even a year.
RKO Orpheum - every single UA release. Between UA releases top tier WB releaases (Bonnie and Clyde, Bullit, Cool Hand Luke)
Rocket- used to be a Fox. Still showed every top tier Fox release. Poseidon Adv. Flint movies. Blue Max,Fantastic Voyage. Between Fox releases would show a Universal/Columbia/MGM. Saw Marooned and Airport there.
Capitol-showed every Disney release. Between Disney releases would show a Universal/Columbia/MGM
Everything else was the drive-in. Horror, sci-fi, AIP, Elvis, comedies, westerns, John Wayne, European, biker, etc. True Grit, Dirty Dozen, Matt Helm, Jerry Lewis, Planet of Apes were drive-in only. New releases were double and tripled up. Often a big A list movie that had played indoors would have a second run at the drive-in months later.
Corral-specialized in biker movies. counter culture. sex stuff. The only drive-in that allowed motorcycles. Only there once because for some strange reason Valley of Gwangi played there. Right in front of snack bar was a row of parking spaces specifily for motorcycles. Had a reputation as a rough place
Bel-Air. Almost always showed horror movies
The Oasis. The Semri. The Memri were the other three.
The Memri always showed whatever UA feature was also playing indoors at the RKO. James Bond, etc. They would tack on a second feature. When RKO was showing Good, Bad, and Ugly, Memri tacked on Fistful of Dollars and For Few Dollars More.

In 1975 moved to Kansas City. Most movies played in multiple theaters, indoor and out. Drive-in exclusives I remember, Dawn of Dead, Hills Have Eyes, Rabid.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre would come around once a year tacked on to a new horror movie.
Buster and Billie was another. Took about four different girls to see it from 75-80
Macon County Line reared it's head on an annual basis tacked on to something new.

There were dusk to dawn marathons
All Nite Biker-Arama
All Nite Horror-Thon
Spend the Night with Edgar Allen Poe
All Night Frankenfest

Carload nights.
Bottle cap night. Get in with a bottle cap.
Some had fireworks on 4th of July.
If there was a theme to the program the snack bar might be decked out to match the theme. Snack bar employees dressed the part.
The Oasis had a mural on the wall of the snack bar depiction the desert and arabs on camels.
On Friday and Saturday nights cops would be directing traffic because of the line of cars to get into the drive-in.

In late 70s and 80s there were the All Nite Blowouts on Memorial and Labor Day weekends. Dusk till dawn movies like Woodstock, Blues Broyhers, Yellow Submarine, Gimme Shelter, etc. Place would be packed all three nights. Everybody is walking around drinking beer, smoking pot. Going from car to car.
Once a drive-in showed Led Zeppelin Song Remains The Same. The sound came through a PA system like at an actual concert. Loud as fuck.

Last time I went was in 1985. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome/Red Sonja
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Old 06-11-22, 08:05 AM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

I written about this several times on other threads over the years. We have a local drive-in that we love to go to on pretty weekends. It's an old theater, in operation since the 1940's. The family that owns it has made improvements over the years, enlarging the screen and going fully digital a few years ago. They do first run movies mostly, but sometimes a new film 1st and a classic as the second show. It's $8 per person for both shows. When we go we take inflatable chairs and a cooler with beer and sodas, and a few snacks from the house. Sometimes on the way there we stop and get takeout Chinese or fast food to eat. We sit out under the stars, eat and drink and have a great time. There are improvements that need to be made, like the speakers are really old and crackly, but we have little Walkman-like FM radios we use with headphones to listen over their low power transmitter that is great. And the concession stand only has the basic popcorn, candy and nachos, plus stacks of Little Caesars pizza. I've always wished they served burgers and fries and such....BUT we always get popcorn because they use an old school popcorn machine and it's incredibly good.

If we want to go to see a movie that the sound and picture are really important, like Maverick, we go to a theater, but if we just want to see a movie or 2 and hang out as a family on a clear warm night, the drive in is our Spring/Summer/Fall happy place.

Twin City Drive In
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Old 06-11-22, 01:33 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

The Mendon, MA theater is right down the street from me (now MA people have a general sense of where I live), but $10 admission? Not even close. We’re talking >$30 these days, and since I live alone there’s no real reason for me to go there.

It is more of a family outing type place anyways where people setup lawn chairs next to their cars and let their kids run wild during the movie.
Old 06-11-22, 01:46 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

My girlfriend and I have gone to the drive-in twice. Once in 2020 for Beetlejuice and just recently for Top Gun: Maverick. Both times were enjoyable. We’ll probably go back depending on what’s playing or if we have time (it’s around forty miles from where we live).
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Old 06-11-22, 03:43 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Which one do you go to?
I've been to the one in Hockley, TX once... but the screen quality was... not great.
The movie was The Vast of Night, which takes place all at night and had very moody lighting, so maybe just a bad pick for a drive-in.
It's the Wesmer in Mercedes. Really dark films can sometimes be problematic, but I've been very pleased with the screen quality so far. The only time I thought it was maybe too dark was The Batman, but then I saw it on HBO Max and realized it actually was pretty accurate to the film.
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Old 06-11-22, 03:57 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

We did end up going to the drive-in last night. My friend's fast food order took far longer than expected, so instead of getting there about 45 minutes early, we were only about 20 minutes early. Well, the theater was PACKED. I don't think I've seen it so packed and so early.

We ended up parking for Jurassic World way in the back. It was my first time all the way back there. It actually wasn't too bad, though there was a really tall pickup that obscured a small corner for me. This is Texas after all. Just bad luck. Luckily, the theater has become much better at adjusting and directing parking, though, so you don't have one vehicle taking up the space of two.

Originally Posted by jpcamb View Post
By the end of Unbearable weight, there were maybe 5 cars left, it was packed for Top Gun. I was surprised my wife liked Unbearable weight as it's really tongue in cheek kind of thing which is not her standard fare.
As expected, there was a huge migration after the first movie, and we were able to move up and get a perfect parking space for Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. I think we had you beat, though, with more cars remaining by the end. My friend and I both really enjoyed it. We had a lot of good laughs.
Old 06-11-22, 05:10 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Originally Posted by clckworang View Post
My friend and I both really enjoyed it. We had a lot of good laughs.
But what about the Nick Cage movie?


Old 06-12-22, 10:59 AM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

My brother and I were at the drive-in once and we both fell asleep. We wake up and the show is over, the place is closed and everybody is gone. Luckily there wasn't a chain or something across the drive so we could get out.
Old 06-12-22, 11:56 AM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
My brother and I were at the drive-in once and we both fell asleep. We wake up and the show is over, the place is closed and everybody is gone. Luckily there wasn't a chain or something across the drive so we could get out.
That happened to me once. Funny to wake up when the owner is tapping on your window.
Old 06-12-22, 04:36 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Originally Posted by TomOpus View Post
That happened to me once. Funny to wake up when the owner is tapping on your window.
Nobody bothered to wake us up. They just left us there.
Old 06-12-22, 09:20 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
Nobody bothered to wake us up. They just left us there.
My drive-in probably wanted to lock up. Or they were being nice. One time my wallet had fallen on the ground. Next day I got a call saying they had it. I guess they looked my family up in the phone book, no other idea how he got my phone number.
Old 06-13-22, 03:22 AM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Former Drive-Ins in Hawaii. Kam Drive-In Aiea, Royal Sunset Drive In, in Waipahu, Waialae Drive-In, & Kailua Drive In Kailua (use to remember about the ghost in the ladies bathroom. I grew up on Maui and remember my Mom taking us to Guns of Navarone. At the Drive-In which use to be located where Maui Community College was. Not sure what the name was.

A look back at Waialae Drive-In

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Old 06-29-22, 11:47 AM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

Some friends and I went last weekend to the drive-in to catch Jurassic World and Bob's Burgers. As I had already seen Jurassic World, I was really there for Bob's Burgers, which was a lot of fun.

But now I'm here mainly to complain because Friday's new showings are the new Minions and Jurassic World. Jurassic World again?! Ugh. This is now the fourth week in a row with that on the billing! Time for something new.
Old 06-29-22, 04:48 PM
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Re: The Drive-In Movie Theater Thread

It has been a very long while since I actually went to see a film at a Drive-In Theater, but I am just loving this thread. I do have fond memories of watching quite a few movies at the Van Nuys, CA Drive-In (no longer around, I believe), and quite the mix of films at that, Disney films, and movies like The Goonies and Lifeforce (my then best friend's mother worked in the industry and would bring movie reels from one drive in to another).

If my brother and his family were to consider a family night at a Drive-In in the Bay Area I would totally try to see if I could join them.

Again, enjoying hearing all about the films and experiences folks have when watching films at the Drive-In.

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