Driving by the Cinema 67 Drive-In down in Spencer, Indiana last week, I had my nephew in the car. In a moment of nostalgia I mentioned, “You know your uncle and I used to love going to all night movies.”
“Really?” A dose of reality hit me. My little nephew has never been to a drive-in movie. Saturday night there was an experience one could never forget. I can still picture the drive in on the Southside …. The Greenwood Drive In is now a new car sales building.
Getting ready for the drive-in took skills. Sleeping bags, pillows, flashlights, mosquito repellent all loaded into my parents’ station wagon.
My sister and I would bounce around in the back seat until the car was parked on the best ramp away from the teenagers in their ‘souped-up Chevys”. We would go to the playground and play while mom and dad stood nearby with the rest of the parents. More than once you could see cars stop and a child/person get out of the trunk…. an easy way to avoid the 75 cent admission fee.
Next stop was the concession stand. Long, shiny counters were lined with food we’d never find in mother’s kitchen. Corn dogs, crinkle fries, frozen malts and salty popcorn. The best part was we got to eat it all in the car.
As dusk fell, the huge white screen took on a glow from across the parking lot. But first a commercial on the screen of a dancing hot dog and a walking paper drink cup was to remind everyone to make one last visit to the concession stand.
The drive-in had outdoor speakers blasting dialogue across the parking lot but it wasn’t necessary. Our car was parked next to a pole with window speakers. This drive-in speaker actually would hang inside the car window.
Now in 2015 theaters is something you can go to any day of the week at almost any hour. Or you can download a movie from Netflix and watch it in your living room or yes even the front seat of the car. But it isn’t the same.
“I got a question for ya,” my nephew said. “Did my mom go to the drive in too?” I should have mentioned that at the drive-in we once watched John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the movie “Grease” and then went home and acted out the movie for days. But all I answered was “Yes, she did.”
I once had a date with Wayne Phillips at a drive-in. The movie was Star Wars. Well, that was an experience I remember vividly.
But I didn’t share any memories. Instead I said, “We’ll get a pizza and take it to a drive-in this summer.” He’ll like that.
I wonder if Wayne Phillips remembers; the drive in, the movie Star Wars, and – – me.