Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Memories of the Open Air/ Drive-in Movies

Subject: Memories of the Open Air/ Drive-in Movies

Oh, you missed out on a lot if you never had the fun of going to a "Drive-in" outdoor Movie. We often went to the outdoor movies. There were four of them in the three towns near where I grew up. It was a popular place for a date to take you, but the place was mostly filled with cars full of parents with their kids with them. We did have 4 indoor movie places that we went to a lot. But the outdoor ones became popular when I was in High School. It was great after marriage when we had kids. No need for a baby sitter as you just piled the kids in the car and took them with you. Teenage kids loved having a blanket to sit or lay on (while watching the movie) You would place the blanket on the ground in front of your car where it was safe. Speakers were so loud from some of the cars with their windows open that you didn`t have to sit near one to hear. Little ones usually fell asleep in the back seat shortly after the movies started. On a hot summer evening it was more comfortable sitting in the cars with the windows open instead of staying home in the hot houses.

Of course they closed the "Open Airs" up thru the winters. Everyone would watch to see what date they were re-opening in the spring.The places were always packed. They had refreshment stands where you could buy popcorn, hotdogs, sodas, candy etc.. There was two movies every night and a stop in the middle where people headed for the refreshment stand or the bathrooms a little ways from the food building. Many people brought their drinks and refreshments with them from home because it was cheaper.

They had small speakers you hooked onto your car window to hear what was being said while you watched the picture on the huge screen. The speakers had a knob so you could turn the volume higher or lower. The screen was so large and high off the ground that you could see it well from anyplace in the large parking area. There were many rows of cars with many cars in each row. Each row was on a little higher ground than the row in front of it to allow you to see the screen over the cars in front of you.

We didn`t have to wonder if the movie was rated or not as all movies were the type you could take even the youngest child to. I often wonder if there might be less violence in the world today if the movies and TV never started showing such violent movies to teach our kids a more vicious way to handle their problems. I remember when they stopped all Western movies with cowboys and Indians as they felt they were teaching our children too much violence. Wasn`t long after this when they started showing a lot of Police and war movies. The biggest difference was that in the cowboy movies, the bad guy was always caught and punished, teaching the kids that if you do wrong you will expect to be caught and punished. In lots of the police types, the violence is so much more expressed and seems like they are always teaching kids sneaky ways to hide what you are doing wrong. Sometimes it seems like the good get killed while the bad get rich. What are young kids learning from them? Are they learning what mistakes the bad ones made so they won`t make the same mistakes? Is it making some think they are smarter and wouldn`t make the mistake that caused the other bad ones to get caught? Does it make some think they could do the same thing and never get caught? Are they teaching them more ways to hurt others? Isn`t all this just making it harder for parents to teach their kids right from wrong? Kids are very impressive and many believe everything they see and hear. When they become teens many are more interested in copying their friends than listening to their parents. Some kids feel as long as they don`t take part in doing wrong then they can`t be dragged into any trouble their friends get into. Parents have their work cut out for them just making their kids realize that sometimes you don`t have to do wrong, all you have to do is be there when a friend does wrong and you can become a part of it as far as the law is concerned and charged right along with the friend. Sometimes you felt you needed eyes in the back of your head to keep on top of things. OH, It was so much easier when my kids were young as all parents acted like every kids parent. If they saw your child doing something that could get them into trouble, they would phone and tell you, and they knew you would look out for their kids the same way.
We didn`t worry about our kids and their friends calling us snitches for telling. We were more concerned on raising our kids and keeping them out of law trouble. We never wanted to be considered their friend, we wanted to be exactly what we were-- Their parents. If they got mad at us, too bad, as long as we made sure they knew how much we loved them, they soon got over it.

Back to the Open-Air Movies. Some called them "Open -Air", while others were called "Drive-Ins", but they were both the same places. Years later one of the Drive -in Movies added on a second parking area and a second screen so they could start showing more than one movie at a time. Then you had a choice of which movie you wanted to see. Wasn`t long after they added the second screen, that they started showing the more adult type movies. But, they still kept one of the two places for showing just Movies you could take your kids to. The adult one would not allow any minor children to be brought in.

Today there is just one place to see the movies in my area and that one is located in the mall. So much more comfortable relaxing in your own car -over sitting up straight in today's movie seats. Even the older indoor places were much better than today's are. We stopped going when they closed up the outdoor "Open Air Movie" places. It cost the same for every car no matter how many kids you had. Would cost a fortune today to take an entire family to the movies at the Malls. I was really disappointed when they closed them all up. I went to the Mall movie just once and didn`t enjoy it that much.

I wish everyone had gotten a chance to go to the Open Air movies. Just thinking about it brought back lots of happy memories. Car front seats were all one long section, no two bucket seats like most cars today. So easy to sit together with your head on his shoulder. You could laugh out loud at the funny parts-- didn`t need to be quiet like in the inside movies. Could joke and laugh with others in the car with no one complaining or saying quiet I can`t hear. I even saw some teens laying on top of their cars to see the movies. Some trucks would show up with lots of kids, no one cares. The only rule that sometimes had to be carried out was if some brought beer with them and got loud mouthed and were asked to leave. Alcohol wasn`t allowed there, but I saw many who brought some and as long as they caused no problems, no one cared. Those were the good old days.

Thanks for the memories is how I feel after remembering some of these happier times so long ago.
Hugs to all my Children, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren and any other relatives who might be reading this some day. I love you all .


I remember going to the drive in and I remember going to the last showing aswell to everyone we had here.
We had 5 drive in theaters here in town and it was a perfect place to go on a date when we were kids.
All we needed was one friend with a car and 6 of us could go. and watch movies until midnight.
I remember the double and triple bills.
It was more fedtive aswell when 10 of us would go in a couple for cars and yes we brought beer in.
Then there was the intermission when we all ran to the concession stand and then spend an hour looking for the car LOL
Those were good times and memories.
Thank Dot
Oh, Walker,do I ever remember those times hunting for the car in that dimly lit parking area. I was usually the one who went to the concession stand, while Walt stayed in the car with the smaller kids. I often had one of the kids go with me to help carry the food.
As soon as Walt saw me looking for the car, he would blink the parking lights on and off a couple times to show me where the car was.
But, I also went to the Drive-In for years with dates before I married. Next to one of the Drive-Ins was a mineature golf place. A brother and I often drove the motorcycles there early and played Mineature Golf until it got dark enough for the movie to start. Had a date who owned a motorcycle who often went with us. Sometimes one of my girl friends and I would double date so there was the 4 of us in the car. Sometimes on a date,we would go out for supper, then play mineature golf and end up watching the movie and make a long night of it. It was often as late as 11 PM to midnight or a little later by the times we were heading home. Boy, were they some good times. But the best times were when we went as a family.
hello dot.
yes, i was there to see those movies many times. i remember even putting a person in the trunk and my fathers 56 chevy bel air that i borrowed was full of my friends inside. it cost a dollar a car load. then one day they asked for a buck a person and every one was mad for getting charged so much. if we only knew it was going to cost over 10 dollars a person. we would never have beleived that though. good post dot. have a good day and i will talk to you again.
I've only seen the 'Drive-ins' in some old Hollywood movies and read about them in the old time books. They always sounded fun to me. Too bad they don't have them any more.
Dotm..I remember going to the drive thru movies In Michigan .It was so much of fun.I was single and had a lot of friends, we use to sit on the hood of the car.also remember the heaters and audio that used to hook on to the side windows.Thanks for taking me back.
drive memoirs are penned in a delightful way.... Valiyammomme...
You come to chennai we have one drive-in restaurant....
Mr Haney, I only rode in a car trunk once- in a small coupe with a rumble seat. There were too many Senior Girl Scouts to fit in the front and the rumble seat, so three of us rode to Mt. Marcy in the trunk.
But, I do remember seeing 1 or 2 climbing out of the trunks at the open Airs. I had forgotten that till you mentioned it.
Those sure were fun times. All the best to you and the Mrs.
hillgrandmom, I wish you had had the chance to go to an open Air. They were so much fun. There were people from all nearby towns and cities there with their vehicles (some filled with families)-- like one big neighborhood all enjoying the same movies together. Nobody got upset if a baby started to cry, or a small kid should start yelling because the audio cases were right on their car windows so movie voices were never drowned out by the noises in other cars.
Starrynights, You reminded me of all the people who sat on their car hoods when it got too hot inside the cars. You sure did see better from there.
I even remember some bringing their lawn chairs to sit in either in front of their vehicles or beside them. Just another thing I had forgotten till now. Those were the good old days. Too bad they stopped them.
neermathalam. This valiyammomme says Thank you.
Yes, we also have drive-in Restaurants here. The closest one to my home is a Mac Donalds and a KFC (Kentucky fried Chicken place), but there are others a short drive from where I live. I Haven`t been to a drive-in restaurant much since my Husband passed away. He loved going to KFC.
Thank you Dot for sharing such wonderful memories....It was indeed a treat to read through this post.....keep sharing
hope you are doing fine....
hope you are doing fine....
Thank you Geets. It`s nice having friends to share my menories with. I hope someday my grandchildren and great grandchildren might read my blog and can learn a little about what it was like in my day. I am printing everything off to save for them. Thanks for dropping by. Come back anytime.
Neermathalam, I am doing much better. My shoulder has healed enough so today I was able to start building my new standards to hold my Earth boxes that I grow my veggies in. The old standard had rotted and I needed to make new ones.
Thanks for caring.
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