If you’ve experienced a late night at a drive-in movie, you have participated in an American pastime. When I was growing up we had two local drive-ins that were happening places to be every Friday and Saturday night.
My parents would load my sisters and I into my Dad’s old Chevy pickup along with plenty of pillows, blankets, and a brown grocery bag filled to the brim with popcorn. It was so fun to sit out there in the summer night air and stay up way past our bedtimes. Back then you didn’t listen to the movie through the car radio like you do today-instead, you pulled up next to a pole with a big funky looking speaker on it that you hoisted onto your vehicle. I can still hear the crackle of those old speakers. My Dad would sometimes let us ride in the back of the pickup on the way home which was the way to end a perfect night for three young silly girls.
To this day, I am a big fan of a good old drive-in movie, and I take my own family there every summer. My Dad gave us his last old Chevy pickup this year and the first thing we did was take it to the drive-in for old times sake. We watched Despicable Me 2 under the stars and the boys and I rode home in the back, lying on our backs, snuggled in blankets, staring at the black sky.
Did you know that America and the world over may lose drive-in movies forever really soon? It’s because the movie industry is switching from film reels to digital. Many drive-in movie theaters can’t afford the type of projectors needed to run the new digital films. These projectors cost around $100,000 which would take the average drive-in at least a decade to off-set.
Drive-ins must make the switch to digital by the end of 2013 or it’s lights out for them. I can’t believe I may have already had my last night at the drive-in.
Honda Motor Co. recently ran a program called “Project Drive-In”, which allowed Americans to vote for their favorite drive-in to receive a digital projector. Two of the winners have been announced, and the other three are to be announced in the next few days. You can still support this cause by pledging to visit your local drive-in, or by contributing funds to the project. Right now, there are about $36,000 in contributions pledged. Visit projectdrivein.com to make your pledge or contribution.
The world changes so continually and sometimes, that can be a real shame. As much as we all depend on technology to open up our world and bring us new experiences, it seems ironic that it could put an end to this beloved tradition.
If you live somewhere warm and you have a drive in near by, pay them a visit and make a memory with your family. This might be your last chance.
This is a photo of Chad and our boys at the Motor Vu Drive-in this summer in the old Chevrolet.