As you may have noticed from yesterday’s Google Doodle, June 6, 1933 marked the opening of the first Drive-in theater. For a mere 25 cents per person you could SIT IN YOUR CAR | SEE AND HEAR MOVIES . . . Wives Beware being the first.
Drive-in movies hold such grand memories. Though for me, it seems I’ve actually seen but one film from the inside of a car. Mostly we took to watching movies under a canopy of stars, sitting in lawn chairs in front of the car, or snuggled up in a cocoon of sleeping bags and pillows, in the back of a pickup truck.
My mom’s first experience with a drive-in took place in the back of a pickup as well. As a young girl, her family didn’t take many vacations. On one such excursion, however, her dad decided to give the Drive-in a try. They were showing Hang ’em High with Clint Eastwood, and he wanted to see it. But he didn’t want to pay for all his kids. So, he piled the three girls in the back of the pickup and instructed them to lay down and be still, all while throwing blankets over the top of them. So it was he paid for the three in front–himself, my grandma, and my uncle, wedged in between; and he bought popcorn and soda for the three in front. The three in back were left to their own devices (so long as they didn’t give themselves away).
Not that they didn’t have intrigues all their own, mind you. Unable to hear the speakers, they made up their own dialogue. They also took full advantage of the glass partition–mouthing foul names the likes of ‘toot-head’ in their dad’s general direction–something they’d never dare do under normal circumstances, if they cared see another day.
And he got his comeuppance. Halfway through the movie, the man running the reel was hit over the head with a beer bottle. The film broke, the show was over, and everyone was left hanging . . .
Of course, with each passing year, Drive-ins went dark–eventually being torn down in favor of apartment complexes, shopping malls, and car lots. Lucky for us, the curtain just might rise again–then everyone will have the chance to take in a drive-in movie, maybe even a few of those corny concession ads . . .
And a whole new carload of movie-watching memories shall be made!