Drive-In Movie Memories

The weather is (Finally! Finally!) turning a corner and getting a little warmer…and movie fans know that with warmer weather, drive-in season is on its way.

That is, if you are lucky enough to live near a drive-in.

These nostalgic bulwarks standing against the easy-to-be-cynical-about multiplexing of movies have been an endangered species for decades now—but they became threatened with total extinction anew with the advent of digital projection. With studios ceasing even the production of celluloid film prints, all-digital presentation of new movies is no longer the future, but the present, and any drive-in unable to foot the bill for a digital conversion will soon have to be shuttered.

(I’m relieved that Shankweiler’s, the drive-in most convenient to me, successfully made the switch)

Let’s hear from Irv now about some of his own favorite drive-in memories:


Now share your own recollections of drive-in visits from the distant (or recent) past—and when you’re ready to hunt around your region for a drive-in to visit, go here:

  • Butch Knouse

    Here in South Dakota we lost 5 out of the 7. About the first of the year one of them was purchased by locals who are reopening. The former owner already owned the local indoor and couldn’t afford to buy 2 digital projectors. The good news is, none of the closed DIs are in areas where land is booming, so they could be reopened if the price of the projectors is lowered technology or if the ecomony experiences an ACTUAL recovery.

    • Butch Knouse

      Replying to myself, I’m happy to say in of all of the gloom and doom of last fall, all but one of the D-Is in South Dakota remained open. The four more were all in towns of 1300 to 5000. Small town America is alive and well.

  • stsparky

    John Carter of Mars!

  • Suitsme

    The last movie I remember was, “Wild in the Streets” a “seemingly ridiculous premise: an unbelievably handsome 22-year-old millionaire singing idol (Christopher Jones)–who can make his own LSD!–helps a congressman (Hal Halbrook) become senator on the platform of lowering the voting age to 15, through sheer charisma gathers thousands of youths to rally in both L.A. and D.C., eventually wins the office of U.S. President as a Republican (!) and then forces anyone over 30 into a “paradise camp” to be forever happy on LSD so that they are incapable of causing any more trouble”. I didn’t like the movie but loved the drive-in. Honestly, this was a real movie but the end for Christopher Jone’s (Ryan’s Daughter) career.

  • linda

    I will never forget a warm night in Albuquerque when my friend’s parents and I went to the drive in to see How the West was won. We were laughing about the different scenes and in the car next to us the wife was telling the man what was happening and we were trying to listen to her and forgot to watch the movie for awhile. The places that certain scenes were filmed are no where near each other and we had seen a lot of them for real. We sure had a good time. I hate to think of all the theaters closing.

  • Carolyn Ferrante

    I remember my parents taking me and my sister quite often to those wonderful drive-in movies. Nowadays it’s too dangerous at night to even think of going to one. I remember being forced by my aunt in Massachusetts to go see “Dondi.” My favorite was with my parents: “Stalag 17.” Those were the nights!

  • Tsagiglalal

    -I will never forget my mother taking me to a double feature at The Starlite Drive-In in The Dalles OR of “The Birds” and “Psycho” when I was about 12. I’m in my 60′s now but will never forget that night.

  • Frank Petrone

    I married my childhood sweetheart, we both have great memories of going to the ‘Drive-In’. She and I lived on the same street, In West Babylon LINY. We’d go to the ‘Sunrise Drive-In’ in my first car a 1951 Mercury. On those hot summer nights, it would be bumper to bumper traffic on ‘Sunrise Highway’ the sight of those neon lights on the back of the giant screen, could be seen for a few miles on the highway. Its too bad that the kids of today won’t have that wonderful ‘Drive-In’ experience.