Monday, December 15, 2008


Over at Born Again Bourgeois, Patrick reported the top 24 things that will soon be extinct in America. The list included the obvious...Yellow Pages, classified ads, dial-up internet, and film cameras...

But this one really hit me between the eyes:

"6. Drive-in Theaters

During the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still operating. Exactly zero new drive-ins have been built since 2005. Only one reopened in 2005 and five reopened in 2006, so there isn't much of a movement toward reviving the closed ones."

This is a darned shame! Some of my best memories as a kid were Drive-In Saturday nights. When I was a little kid, I always knew when we were going to the Barksdale Drive-In Theater. About 4 o'clock, Momma would start popping popcorn and making tea. She would start loading up the Kroger sack with popcorn one pot at a microwaves back then.

Daddy closed the store early on Saturday (5 pm instead of 8 pm), and it took about two hours to get enough popcorn popped for all of us. Daddy & Mom & us four kids would drive the 1/4 mile to the Barksdale Drive-In in the Ford Station Wagon, and just have a big old time! It was just $1 a car...pretty cheap entertainment, especially since we had Momma-made popcorn & tea for concessions.

After Daddy got a new El Camino, us kids would sit in the back on lawn chairs and watch whatever film was showing...fighting, throwing popcorn and tea at each other...all the while Momma & Daddy sitting in the cab smooching...oblivious to the havoc they had wreaked on the least for a couple of hours on Saturday night.

A tornado came along and destroyed the Barksdale Drive-In.

When I was a teenager and could drive, we still had "The Don Drive-In." I was dating the future Mrs. Andy then, and we saw a lot of really good movies there...well, I guess they were was good for me! A really bad tornado came along and destroyed The Don Drive-In.

But we still had The Joy Cinema 4! Yep, 4 screens on one huge plot of land in Shreveport! We sure enjoyed all those good movies at the last remaining Drive-In in our area. One night we were really badly in need of "watching a movie," so we drove out to The Joy. It was closed...that was a bad Saturday night. There is a mini-storage, and a church there now.

I loved the Drive-In. If you never had the experience, you aren't a complete person.

When we lived for four years near Durango, CO, I was thrilled to find out that Durango had a Drive-In. It was "The Rocket." My boys had never been to a Drive-In. It was so cool to take them there. They loved it, and it was almost like old times (except The Mrs. & I couldn't quite enjoy the movie like we did as teenagers...if you know what I mean).

The Rocket in Durango is gone I guess. I found this on the computer: The Rocket Drive-In opened in 1957 with a capacity for 300 cars. This drive-in closed in October 2004, and is scheduled to be demolished and replaced by new condominium development, on which construction is set to begin in about a year.

That's a shame...but time marches on. I've been thinking about a business that will take me into retirement...something I'd enjoy doing. I don't care for the films they make now, but I'm thinking about opening up a Drive-In outside of town somewhere that land is cheap. I'd just show family films...maybe PG-13 after might be fun to introduce a new generation of families to how much fun a Drive-In Saturday Night is.

1 comment:

  1. Saturday night was also our drive-in night. Mom would pack a picnic supper and us kids used to go in our jammies. Some of my happiest memories.


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