I remember going to drive-ins as a kid, when it was one of the few public places we could go to late at night. Instead of a short jaunt to the theater, the drive-in would take up the ballance of the evening, and thus would feel like an event.
As I got older, I realized the full outdoor cathedral-to-the-cinema experience that the drive-in is. I'm fascinated enough by indoor theaters. It seems peculuar whenever a movie theater building is converted for other uses because the experience of seeing a movie is so powerful that I can't imagine the building being used for something else. Yet, drive-ins provide a similar experience with the barest of surroundings.
I was only ever taken to three drive-ins as a kid: the Midway, the Valley and the El Rancho. Most of the rest of them I could see shining away as I rode past them on the way back from some late-night social event or the other. That's another thing about drive-ins and the '70s: most operators built their screens to face away from the road, but more often than not, freeway builders built the freeway on the land behind the drive-in, opening up a great view for the more heavily traveled route.
Historical drive-in sites also mark the forgotten routes of U. S. numbered highways in the Seattle area and elsewhere. The peak of drive-ins in the '50s marked the peak of auto culture that could only be answered, and demystified, by the Interstate Highway System.
The drive-ins left today are special. If drive-ins weren't already established in more nurturing times, they wouldn't likely be introduced now.
Acknowlegments/About this Web page
arthurallen (aT) earthlink.net
(Yes, I know how to make a mail link, but spammers know how they work too. Putting "Drive-in" in the subject line also reduces the chances that your messages will be deleted.)