Saturday, July 28, 2007

Friday Night Fun...

My husband and I were lucky enough to grow up in a town where there is still a drive-in movie theater. Actually, we have two! The theater we usually go to also has the city cemetery behind it. You can imagine all the fun, teenage mischief with that!

We are keeping the tradition of the drive-in theater alive with our children. Last night, sitting by the car in our camp chairs, we saw Ratatouille and Meet the Robinson's (Ratatouille is a great movie). I love the old intermission refreshment screen. The hot dog does flips and then jumps into the bun... too funny! A few pictures to share, perhaps they will bring back fond memories of time's past.

A little history of the Drive-in theater for you...

On June 7, 1933, the world's first drive-in movie theatre opened in Camden, USA. Within twelve years the number of Drive-In's increased from 100 to 2,200 locations. Australia followed suit (the first one in Australia opening in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood), and Drive-In Cinemas appeared everywhere. People enjoyed being able to go out without having to dress up.

Drive-in's did have some problems early on, including obstructed views and poor audio. These were remedied by tiering and spacing the grounds and placing individual speakers on each car window (and later, attaching a cable to the radio antennae of the car).

Few other countries were exposed to the Drive-In phenomena because of their climate -Britain certainly never got one and they were very rare in Continental Europe.
Television and its mass popularisation by the mid-1960s took its toll on the trade of Drive-In theatres, which led the Drive-Ins to what many consider their darkest hour in the mid 70s - The time when they ran regular dusk-to-dawn programs of sex and/or violence to get the crowds in.

It worked at the time but the Drive-Ins soon realized that by running these programs they were alienating their traditional audiences - Families who would take their kids to the Drive-In in their pyjamas and dressing gowns.
Sadly for many Drive-In theatres, this realization came too late and many of them were sold to be redeveloped as shopping centres or car parks, or worse still, just closed and left to rot.

A relatively small number of Drive-In theatres remain in the US and Australia (many of them now operating as 'twin' theatres with two screens and reduced car capacity). Most of the in-car speakers have been replaced by a 'Cine-Fi' system which runs directly through your car stereo.

But while many things have changed (not necessarily for the better) in the entertainment and film industry since the hey day of the Drive-In movies, some things have remained constant.

The snack bar menu is virtually unchanged at most Drive-Ins, kids still run around in their pyjamas, and young lovers still nestle up tight to one another in cars with steamed-up windows . . .

The Drive-In is possibly still the only place that provides both a family-oriented recreation opportunity and a place to drink with your mates and lose your virginity.

(Info found on Fun site-check it out)

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