For the Love of the Drive-In Theater – A Brief Photo Essay

Massachusetts, circa 1950s

I can’t help but think this would be a good idea right now.

As I write this, we’re in the the middle of social distancing, with its “six-foot rule” for essentials, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s forcing us to think about how we do everything…even how we watch movies. Yes, we can stream right now, thank God, and studios are opening movies on streaming services, but wouldn’t the drive-in be a great fill-in for all those closed theaters right now?

Six-foot social distancing: check. Self-isolation in the car: check. Food delivery to you in the car: check.

Just a thought…

I used to love going to drive-in theaters when I was a child. It usually meant two movies, staying up past my bedtime, pajamas in the car, lots of hot dogs, popcorn and candy we’d never get anywhere else. (I look back at that part now and think, “geez, my parents hated us!”) It was fun for a little girl like me! In my hometown, they tore the last drive-in down and built a trailer park in its place decades ago while I was still a child who loved going to the movies there. It devastated me. After I grew up and moved away, I found a few drive-ins here and there, but for the most part they had disappeared.

Even though there’s a few still open, I wish they’d make a come back.

Dixie Drive-In Theater on 14601 S. Dixie Highway, Miami. source: Miami Herald
From the Everett Collection on Shutterstock. Location unknown.

By all means, I’d want these pole speakers you sit in your window, NOT the radio-tuned to the right station. Sheesh! (Remember, nostalgia rules in this brain.)

Drive-in in Chicago, circa 1951, showing the cartoon, Spring Fever.
Westbury fly-in drive in in New York, circa 1954

A Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum movie seems like the perfect thing to see at the drive-in,…

Sundown Drive In of Whittier, California on opening night in 1954.

…so does a Robert Taylor movie.

Scarboro Drive in, Scarborough, California
84th and O Drive In, Lincoln, Nebraska, circa 1950s.

I wonder how it got that name.

Big Sky Drive In, Dane County, Wisconsin 1974. Source: Wisconsin Historical Society.
Source and place unknown.
Star Drive In, Montrose, Colorado. Date unknown.
Sky-Vu Drive-In, Monroe, Wisconsin. This is the last drive-in I went to back in 2005-ish, and we had a long drive to get to it.  The movie was Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman. The Sky-Vu is still open.

What’s the last movie you saw at the drive-in?

I’d like to think going to the “outdoor” as we called them, would meet the requirements of social distancing while still enjoying a movie on the big screen. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but it’s a nice thought.


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