Saturday, October 05, 2013

Drive-in movies …

How many of you remember those days? I guess there are some outdoor theaters still in existence but I doubt if they have the same appeal that they used to.
My husband and our three children moved to a very rural area of New York state in 1962 and one of our favorite things was to take the whole family and head for the drive-in.

This may not have been the best way to watch a movie. The speakers that you placed in the window of your vehicle were anything but high tech. The driver could probably understand what was being said but that wasn’t always the case for the rest of the people in the car. It made little difference to our children, however, because their favorite way to watch the movie was lying on their tummies on the top of our old station wagon.

The movie couldn’t start until well after dark and in the summertime this could be as late as 9 o’clock. We wouldn’t want to get there too late because all the good spots would be taken so we’d take a picnic supper and, if the kids behaved, they could have a treat from the snack bar as dessert.

I’ll never forget the night that we all went to see the movie “Patton” starring George C. Scott. I think it was in the early 70‘s. As usual the kids were on top of the car and my husband and I were seated inside and thoroughly engrossed in the movie. We were at the point in the movie where General Patton reams out a soldier who is complaining of his nerves and how he can’t take the shelling anymore. Patton is calling him a “God-damned coward” and it’s just about then that we hear some moaning and crying overhead. The boys jump off the roof and tell us that our daughter is grabbing her stomach and “looking white as a sheet”.

One look at her and we knew that she was terribly sick and we turned on our lights and headed out …amid cat calls and boos from the cars that we had to maneuver around. To make a long story short we made it to the closest ER and she was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and rushed to surgery.

We never did see the end of the movie and I finally rented it on Netflix about two years ago. I enjoyed it immensely but watching it in the comfort of my living room couldn’t compare to the ambience and fun of the old drive-in !


Blogger Syd said...

I remember going to the drive in when I was in elementary school. It was fun. And, I stayed on the top of the car too.
Glad that your daughter was okay.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, that was a scary time. Glad she was OK.
I went to drive ins as a teen as a make out place.
Today, there really is an active drive in movie theater in my tiny town. It is the only theater. Sadly I haven't been yet. Think it has to do with mosquitoes.

6:51 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

When I was a child, we went to the drive in every Friday. I loved it but I don't think I ever stayed awake through the entire movie. We are so accustomed to wonderful sound systems that I wonder how we managed with those squawk boxes at the drive in.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We never had drive-in movies here in the UK as far as I know, but I saw them in American movies and always wanted to go to one. The first time I visited the USA was in 1976. I drove around quite a bit looking for one, but all I found were deserted ruins. Now in the UK you can't move for 'Drive-Thru' fast food joints !

6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The movie ends sadly. Happy your daughter survived her problem. I remember seeing the 'road' films at the drive-in movies with my parents.Dianne

1:57 PM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

We did the same thing with our two boys. Popcorn was the big hit with them. I recall Kirk Douglas in Sparticus as my favorite drive in movie...:)

12:02 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Wow--what a dramatic "ending" to your movie night out.
Oh I am glad you finally got to see the end of "Patton"--I thought it was a most informative and entertaining movie. And then a couple of years ago, when we visited the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, we saw where Patton is buried. I was struck by the fact that even though he died after World War II had ended, he specified he wanted to be buried with his troops, the soldiers who had fallen during the Battle of the Bulge.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I do remember the drive in theatres. When I first moved here 32 years ago there was one in our small town as well as a regular movie theatre. Now we have neither although we do have a "drive in theatre road".

When I was dating, post divorce I thought it would be nice to take my date and her two kids to a drive in. I made my hatchback into sleeping quarters for her two girls and my son figuring they would fall to sleep soon. Well no they fought. It was a terrible evening. There would be no quiet romantic time in the front seat. A few years later I thought that could not have been as bad as I remembered. I tried again. I am not sure if it was with the same woman or another one. Well it was as dreadful as I remembered. Never again! I have not gone to a drive in theatre since. There are a few still around.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Growing up I. Plainfield, NJ, the closest drive in was around the Somerville area, I remember my parents taking my brother and I there a few times. Later as an adult I returned before the theatre ceased operation, but it wasn't't the same as when I was a child. Glad your daughter was OK and bet she always remembered that night.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I have never been to a proper drive-in, just a church one (movie not service) when the kids were young. We listened over the radio.

12:51 PM  

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