Monday, April 06, 2009

Vanishing America

A friend at Facebook sent along a link to this site, which I almost immediately dove into, especially the drive-in theaters. Once abundant and plentiful in the era of mobile America, the drive in theater has now gone the way of the drive-in restaurant (now they're all drive thrus). Now all that's left are the drive-in churches.(God knows where to find you because you're always in your car)

I have fond memories of the drive-in. Mom and dad packing up the kids in the burgundy 1966 Buick SportWagon packed full of snacks and fruit punch to go see Our Man Flint, my sister and I in the very back with blankets spread out, wandering to the snack bar to use the rest rooms (Where, we found out, they sold real food. Dad, can we get a pizza?)in our jammies, playing on the playground, and enjoying the cartoon, as well as the ads for the snack bar, and the clown clock in the corner of the screen that told us how many more minutes we had to go before the feature started. Or, conversely, how much time we had left to buy something at the snack bar.
But now, the drive-in is rapidly disappearing, like the Ash tree or Circuit City. Once representative of the mobile American society, the drive is as much an anachronism as the daily newspaper, both unnecessary in the age of the internet where NetFlix can deliver movies to you, pizza places exist on every corner, and news is available on demand, for free.


Dusty said...

What a great site!!!

I always went to the was the best part of my childhood, those evenings in the dark with friends or a loved one.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane Lew..too bad property values went through the roof and drive-ins were worth more bulldozed and houses built upon the site instead. :(

Tom Harper said...

Good old drive-ins -- memory lane.

As far as getting online news for free, Rupert Murdoch is trying to change that. I don't have a link but I saw an article about it several days ago. He thinks online news sites should be available by paid subscription only. I think he should STFU.

Dusty said...

I think he should STFU. ~ I second that Tom! ;p

Lew Scannon said...

It is a great site. Brought back a lot of memories for me.
I guess Rupert Murdoch doesn't have quite enough money. Greedy bastard!

Snave said...

Our town still has a drive-in theater. I think there were six of them left in all of Oregon last I heard.

Our drive-in used to have a slide and swingset right below the screen for the little kiddos who used to get bored. It used to have the little speakers attached to cords on stands that people would drive away with by accident (and bust off), but went to the FM radio signal instead some years back. People like to go there with coolers full of goodies, and hang out. It is still a fun place to go, even 40 years later since I was 12!

Recently some developers have been trying to get their grubby mitts on our drive-in so they can put in a development of single-wides or whatever. I dread the day the onwers of the drive-in decide to sell it...

In a town our size, I doubt it will become a church, at least.

One of my best memories of our drive-in is of some mischief there. A friend of mine whose dad ran a leather shop put a couple of rivets in a Cool-Whip bucket and attached surgical tubing to each hole. It made a great three-person-operated slingshot for propelling water balloons for a distance of up to a city block. We would go behind the big drive-in screen and capapult water balloons upward and over the screen into the area where the cars were until we would hear horns honking or see headlights coming on, and then we would high-tail it out of there.

Around the 1st of June, Mrs. Snave and I will be watching the listings in our local paper to see what's at the drive-in, and we will probably go there a few times this summer.

Snave said...

Heh! I thought there were only a few drive-ins left in Oregon... I looked on your link and decided I would Google "Oregon drive-in theaters". It led me to a big site called "" that showed Oregon still has 55 of 'em!

Lew Scannon said...

Wow! 55 is quite a lot. I think there's all of two on this side of Michigan, not one less than an hour's drive away.

Frogette said...

I remember my parents piling us into the station wagon in our jammies and bringing bags of freshly popped corn to the drive in. Sadly they've mostly gone in the Midwest. Those were the days.