Remember Drive-In Movies?

The weather is getting warmer here in the San Francisco Bay Area.The evenings are almost always cool no matter what because of the coastal breeze.  This made me think of the few times I’ve been to a drive-in theatre.  We used to have one here in Alameda but it turned into a flea market then the entire area was sold to a developer and is now full of tract homes, a Lucky’s grocery store, CVS pharmacy, and a few places to eat.  Oh, and a really goofy 99-cent store.

I recall when I was a teenager and we hid a few people in the trunk of the car and drove in, howling at what we’d been able to “pull off”.  We’d drive up as close as we could to that metal pole with the speaker box attached to it, roll the driver’s side window half-way down and hook the speaker box onto the glass.  The sound was always a little bit scratchy-sounding, but it was so cool to be able to talk as much as we wanted without getting heckled by other people watching the movie.

Sometimes we’d take our pillows and dress in pajamas but those were the times we went with our parents.  We’d always take our own food – popcorn and candy and such – so that we didn’t have to spend money at the concession stand.

Do you have any fond memories of going to the drive-in?


Posted on July 13, 2012, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Patti,
    We didn’t have a drive in near us growing up, but there is one in Colorado we’ve taken the kids to. It was a lot of fun for all of us but the car isn’t the best place to watch a movie when you are an adult!

    • So, they do exist! I swear I’m not aware of any around here since most of them are flea markets during the week and I figured they closed down. I’d rather sit in a lovely theater with plush seats and a place for my drink than in my car!

  2. Patti, born and raised in Brooklyn, we didn’t have drive in movies … just wild crazy local movie houses. Depending on our ages … it was close up to the screne so we could throw things … or in the balcony so we could “ignore” the movie :):)

    Sounds like fun. My up state family and friends in Long Isalnd and New Jersey used to get their kids in their pj’s and go off for a night at the movies. And from what I can see many of them have been turned into flea markets.

    • This is another one of those things of “days gone by” I’m afraid. The flea markets now aren’t weekend events around here. Some of them run all week long and the screens for the movies have been taken down. I know it’s corny but I wish they were still around.

  3. The drive in theatres we used to frequent are long gone, although I’ve heard that there is still one open in the Edmonton area. We spent many Friday and Saturday nights at the drive in. Didn’t always catch the movie but it was good entertainment to go with a bunch of friends. When we first had the boys, it was a great place to take them. They’d watch the first movie, then we’d put them to sleep in the back of the station wagon and we’d cuddle and watch the second movie.

    Great memories, Patti!

  4. Hi, Patti! My family and I were just talking about drive-in theaters last week while driving home from vacation. We passed one and the memories resurrected. There used to be a local writer, Joe Bob Briggs, who kept track of existing theaters and wrote hilarious columns about movies shown at them.

  5. I can remember being a small child living in Florida and we’d go to the drive-in at least once a month. We’d play on the playground before the show and then crawl in the back of the station wagon with our pillows and watch the movie. I’m with you, Patti, I wish there were more around today!

    • Oh man, Tracy, I totally forgot about the playgrounds! I DO remember them now. I guess sometimes it was so that the adults could watch the movie if it wasn’t exactly the type of film a kid would like!

  6. Hi Patti – Last week, USA Today ran an article about drive-in theaters making their way back into American culture. Unfortunately, with the new technology in film – it’s predicted the drive-in theaters won’t be able to afford the new projectors – bummer.

  7. When I was a kid, there was a drive-in we went to occasionally. By the time I was 10, it had closed. I haven’t been to one since. I’d like to go again, but we haven’t made the effort to find one near here.

    There is a website that keeps a running list of operating drive-in theaters. This is it:

    Click on your state and see if there is one near you. 😀

  8. Oh, Catie, thanks so much for that link. You know they have a list called “dead drive-ins” and my city of Alameda is one of the first on the list! Boo-hoo. BUT, there’s one in Concord which isn’t but 40 minutes from here. THANKS so much for that. And also, I found that there’s one very near where we’re going to be vacationing in August, in southern California!

  9. I loved going to drive-ins as a kid. We’d wear our jammies and take our pillows. And I swear, they had the best concession foods. Fun times! Thanks for the memories, Patti. 🙂

  10. Yes, Patricia! I remember this. Once we stretched a kid out on the back seat of the car–and we all sat on him. I was a follow the rules girl and I felt so naughty and excited at the same time. When I was really young, my parents took us to the drive in because it was cheaper and because if we made too much noise we didn’t disturb anyone. We always wore jammies and ate greasy pop corn. A real treat! Thanks for the memory.

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