Visit our concession stands

August 12, 2009

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The Christian Science Monitor has a story about a phenomenon known as “guerrilla drive-in” — referring to a fad in which movie buffs or people out for a good time are setting up ad-hoc outdoor movie sites.

In one sense, the full-blown outdoor movie — the drive-in — had two practical advantages that the indoor theater couldn’t match. One was the opportunity to make out in relative privacy — or so I’m told; the other was the opportunity to take kids to a movie regardless of how they behaved.

There were some disadvantages, including poor sound systems, mosquitos, susceptibility to bad weather, and rowdy patrons. Apparently these outweighed the advantages, because the number of drive-ins in the United States has dwindled from about 5,000 in the 1950s to 383 ( including the Delsea in Vineland, here in New Jersey) according to the Monitor’s story.

My strongest memory of the experience is of taking the kids to a drive-in one steamy summer night and being stuck with the choice of being eaten by the famous Jersey Mosquitos or rolling up the windows and suffocating — unable to see the screen through the fogged-up windshield.

carshow2 (1)But I also remember going to outdoor movies in a less formal way when I was a student at Penn State. Every Friday night, a screen was erected on one of the campus lawns, and we could sit on the grass and watch several slightly dated films, plus cartoons. That was almost 40 years ago, and I can’t remember whether we paid an admission. What I do remember was that, because we were seeing them outdoors, we enjoyed the movies almost regardless of their quality. I guess it’s the same effect as eating a dirty-water hot dog on a street corner in Manhattan.

The Monitor’s story is at this link:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0810/p17s02-almo.html

You can make your own drive-in movie marquee at this link:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.redkid.net/generator/drive-in/basesign.png&imgrefurl=http://www.redkid.net/generator/drive-in/&usg=__bDNz8UD3lAaW4BfCyFuvkjqV1TA=&h=324&w=441&sz=218&hl=en&start=3&sig2=iMS4QtFFc1akwdxXGK4OPA&tbnid=aF3kDHkv1hQiaM:&tbnh=93&tbnw=127&prev=/images%3Fq%3Ddrive%2Bin%2Bmovie%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den&ei=LjWDSoaJMo-ImwPFjb3mCw

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