Growing up in the era of the Drive-In, you would think my mind would be whirling with memories of that magical time of loading the whole family into the 52 Chevy to see the latest picture show. Because my family was a little different than most, with parents who didn’t like to go to the movies and most certainly didn’t like to sit in their cars to watch a movie, I don’t recall going to movies much as a child.
There were two Drive-In Theatres locally. One was located in the flood plains of the Missouri River. A summer trip to see a favorite flick most certainly meant returning home with arms and legs covered with mosquito bites.
The other Drive-In was located off “the boulevard” in town and featured the racier movies of the day, although I’m sure they were very tame by today’s standards. The Dairy Queen was situated on a hill across the way from the movie screen. As teens, a typical Friday night would find us sitting on the hoods of our cars, licking an ice cream cone, while trying to catch a glimpse of some skin. I guess the theory was that no sound was needed when the movie consisted of making out and prancing around almost naked.When I was six or so, dad loaded us up to see the movie Shane. Mom stayed home – no mosquitoes were going to feed on her tender flesh! Preparations for going to the Drive-In included popping corn and filling a paper sack with it for each of us. There was no money for frivolities like the concession stand. I was giddy with excitement at the thought of going to the Drive In. Unfortunately, at age six, I remember little of the experience. I’m pretty sure I ate my popcorn, was confused over the story line of the show, fell asleep early on, and remember the line “Shane! come back!!” If memory serves me correctly, I was rubbing sleep out of my eyes and the movie was ending.
During our dating years of the late 60’s and early 70’s, Jim and I would often go to the Drive-In. Mostly, I have no recollection of what we saw. Imagine that!We had very little money and often couldn’t afford the cost of two tickets. The solution was that I would crawl into the trunk of the Karmann Ghia pictured below and Jim would Drive In alone.
Sneaking friends into the Drive In was a trick older than Moses, and checking trunks of cars was routine. However, nobody would consider checking the trunk of this little car. The back seat folded down and I’d crawl from the trunk into the car without anyone ever the wiser. It never occurred to either of us that what we were doing was wrong!
Since the Karmann Ghia had no heater, we’d borrow Jim’s dad’s Studebaker when the weather turned frigid. I remember well the night that we steamed the windows to the point of freezing them shut. When it came time to remove the speaker, no matter how hard we tried, we could not roll the window down. Finally out of desperation, we cut the tube. I was scared to death alarms would go off or something! Craziness.
Research indicates there are still Drive-In Theatres in operation in Missouri, but none close to where I live. I’m more into watching my movies in the comfort of my home or occasionally going to the indoor Cinema. My drive-in days are over.This whole treck down memory lane was inspired by Intenseguy's post entitled The Old Drive In. It is a good read, with a good dose of history included in the memory.