Friday, May 22, 2015

Retro Movie Going - Drive-In Theatres

If you haven't been to a drive-in movie theatre lately (or ever), you are completely missing out!!  When I think of them, I remember being a kid and the entire family piling into the station wagon.  Decked out in our pajamas, we'd bring snacks, pillows, blankets, those old mosquito coils, the dog, and even the cat.  Some of the tastiest burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, and french fries I've ever had were had at the drive-in!

Though there are few who still have the original speakers (that always seemed to have a tinny sound) some do and it's a joy to see.  Most only have the poles sans speakers.  You just tune your radio to the station listed at the entrance.  The poles remain simply as a parking guideline...if they actually even left the poles.

Back in December 2004, I was ecstatic to find out that a three screen drive-in theatre had opened in Ennis, TX which is only 20 miles from Dallas.  My children and I went often and so did our dogs!  Galaxy Drive-In has since expanded to six screens. 

While looking for things to do in and around Joplin, MO, where I recently decided to visit, I found the last surviving drive-in movie theatre on the famous US Route 66, 66 Drive-In, in Carthage, MO.  Since I was pulling Shantilly and planned to find someplace to park for free in the area, I emailed the drive-in to find out if I could bring Shantilly in with me.  I received an immediate welcoming response!  I, however, couldn't stay overnight.  That was fine by me so I found an overnight RV friendly Walmart in Carthage and planned my route once the movies were over.

This is a very popular theatre even though it offers only one screen.  I was informed that people come from all over the world!  I couldn't get over the lines waiting to get in and it wasn't even full.  There were cars parked and waiting for entrance as early as 4pm!!  The gates didn't open until 7:30pm and the movie didn't
Barely made the driveway!
begin until 8:30pm!  I arrived about 6pm and was the last to make it INTO the driveway!  The teens and children played various games on the lawn while waiting.  I took photos, facebooked, talked to neighbors, and just people watched.  Everyone fired up their engines once the owner and his son showed up at the gates.  Just at that moment, an off-duty police officer, Derrick, approached and told me to drive straight to

the back once I was in and go to where he'd be standing to park.  I was actually pleased to be in the back, grassy area so that Lillie wasn't freaked out by people running by and could wander around.  Nor was I scrutinized between movies when I went into Shantilly to make a sandwich. 

I do have to say that being so far in the back does take away from the experience though.  During intermission, Lillie and I walked up to the front where children were in the playground directly in front of the screen.  The other movie goers were sitting in their lawn chairs with blankets, their truck beds, or in the
vehicle cabs.  However, the activity level and the sounds were multiplied!  So many speakers in close proximity truly adds to the festive atmosphere and movie experience! 

It was 2am before I arrived at the Walmart parking lot to sleep as we waited on most everyone else to leave.  If there is one in your vicinity, you should load up the family and pets and get there EARLY this weekend!  Here is a list of drive-in theatres to see if there is one near you!!

They are renewing the sign on the back of the screen.

That's just from ONE direction!

Missing speakers!

Fantastic moon!

Play area at intermission.

Drive-In food!

Retro commercials at intermission!

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