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Things We Miss And Don’t Miss About The Drive-In Theater


Things We Miss And Don’t Miss About The Drive-In Theater

Nowadays, there are new norms regarding movie-watching. It has become incredibly convenient to relax and enjoy your favorite film in the comfort of your living room with just a few clicks. However, it wasn’t always like this. Not too long ago, streaming services didn’t even exist.

Even before the rise of popular movie rental agencies like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, there was primarily one way to catch a new movie while it was still fresh: going to a movie theater. While most people have experienced going to a theater, not everyone has had the opportunity to visit a drive-in theater. Just mentioning the concept brings back a sense of nostalgia. It often provided a refreshing change from the regular theater experience.

Over the years, watching movies has become increasingly effortless, which has led to a decline in drive-in theaters across the country. Nowadays, there are only around 300 drive-ins in the United States, compared to the over 4,000 in the 1950s and 1960s. Whether you have fond memories of drive-ins, still frequent them, or have never been to one, there were both advantages and disadvantages to enjoying a film in that setting.

Here are seven reasons why we miss drive-ins and seven reasons why we don’t. We’d love to hear from you: what was your favorite and least favorite aspect of the drive-in theater?

We miss: Affordable snacks

The allure of perfectly popped corn, drenched in melted butter and sprinkled with salt, was reason enough for many to arrive early at the drive-in. Nowadays, the high prices at theaters make some people opt out of buying snacks altogether. In the 1950s, drive-in theaters were at the top of their game, offering affordable snacks for everyone in the car, often cheaper than the cost of a single movie ticket today.

We miss: Being outdoors

Attending a drive-in was already a fantastic way to spend a summer night, and the fresh air wafting through the open windows made the experience even better. Being outside meant you could stretch your legs, walk around, and escape the feeling of being confined or worried about stepping on someone in a crowded theater.

We miss: Greater comfort in the car

While it may not compare to the comfort of curling up on the couch under a cozy blanket, at least you could sit in your own car seat instead of a small, hard theater chair. The ability to recline the seat added an extra level of comfort to the movie-watching experience. Nowadays, there are luxury movie theaters with expensive recliners, but in the past, when theaters were the primary way to watch a film, you had to be prepared to sit in the same position for hours without any reclining options.

We miss: Adjusting the radio dial

There was something satisfying about tuning the radio dial to the perfect frequency, ensuring crystal-clear audio for the movie. Unfortunately, except for the remaining few drive-ins across the country, this method of audio transmission is nearly extinct. Once you found the right FM station, you were ready to enjoy your movie. It’s a piece of the drive-in experience that we wish could make a comeback.

We miss: Double features

Nothing beats getting two movies for the price of one. Most of the time, a single ticket granted access to a double feature. Why settle for watching just one movie when you could enjoy two? It was a fantastic way to spend the entire evening with friends, family, or a date.

We miss: Avoiding the crowds

While you still had to navigate the parking lot in your car, you didn’t have to sit right next to people like in a traditional theater. You could stretch out comfortably in your vehicle and didn’t have to worry about being quiet. It was a great opportunity to discuss the plot of the movie with your friends without disturbing others nearby.

We miss: Sneaking in

Let’s admit it, at some point or another, everyone has attempted to sneak a snack or drink into a movie theater. Well, at the drive-in, it was much easier for obvious reasons. There were plenty of places in the car to hide your snacks! Some daring individuals even tried to sneak people into the drive-in through the trunks of their cars. Did you ever manage to sneak into a drive-in?

We don’t miss: Slamming doors

While at a regular theater, it can be irritating when fellow movie-goers talk or constantly get up. That’s one of the reasons why many people prefer drive-ins. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t ways to disrupt the movie, such as the sound of car doors slamming. Depending on how frequently your neighboring cars’ occupants went to get snacks, there could be a lot of “thuds” and door slams that might start to annoy you.

We don’t miss: Horn honking

Honking the horn was a common practice at drive-ins to show appreciation and applause for the movie once it ended. However, it became tiresome when the honking didn’t stop. It wasn’t uncommon to hear the occasional horn at the beginning and even throughout the second movie of the double feature.

We don’t miss: Lack of drive-in etiquette

Perhaps this issue became more prominent as drive-in theaters declined across the nation, but we all likely remember a time when another driver’s actions bothered us due to their lack of common sense when it came to attending a drive-in. Examples include having their headlights shine directly into your eyes through the rear-view mirror or leaving their engine running during the entire film, just loud enough to drown out the audio in your own car.

We don’t miss: Drive-in car speakers

You would pull up to a pole and grab a speaker to listen to the movie. It was a good concept, but many times people experienced frustration when the speaker didn’t work properly, the cord got tangled, or, in some cases, the speaker was missing altogether. Even if you managed to get a working speaker, the audio quality often left much to be desired, making it difficult to fully enjoy the film.

We don’t miss: Car battery dying

If you went to the drive-in after the era of window speakers ended and you weren’t well-prepared, there was a chance your car battery could die. While you were supposed to keep your car off at the drive-in, you often had to rely on your car radio for audio. Picture yourself fully engaged in the movie on the big screen when suddenly the audio cuts out, and the realization hits that your car battery has died. Experiencing this once was enough to never forget to bring a portable radio and extra AA batteries again. And don’t forget the jumper cables, just in case!

We don’t miss: Getting stuck in the mud

Perhaps you were fortunate enough to avoid this situation, but for some, getting stuck in the mud after a movie meant one of the passengers had to get out and push while the driver splashed mud all over them. While it was likely a rare occurrence for most, caution was necessary when parking in grassy areas. Did you ever experience getting stuck after a movie?

We don’t miss: Traffic in and out

Earlier, we mentioned how one of the things we missed about drive-ins was the absence of crowded spaces. However, navigating the traffic in and out of the drive-in lot could be a challenge, especially if you were there to see a highly anticipated new release. The parking lot could quickly fill up, leading to queues, horn honking, and frustrated expressions through car windows. Some drive-in theaters had employees to assist with a smooth exit, but in certain locations, it could turn into a race to the exit as everyone tried to leave at once.

This article is inspired by MeTV.

#Entertainment #Stories #Vintage



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