Childhood Memories – What Happened to Drive-In Movies
Childhood Memories – What Happened to Drive-In Movies: The Big Screen
One of the great adventures of my childhood was going to the drive-in movies. Many nights the Drive-In Owner sponsored family night. They charged a flat rate of three dollars per carload. A family of fourteen could afford to have a family outing at those prices.
Childhood Memories – What Happened to Drive-In Movies: Eight for a Buck
Another great childhood memory I experienced was going to a little take-out hamburger joint and getting “eight for a buck.”
“Eight for a buck” was eight hamburgers for one dollar. Three dollars purchased enough hamburgers for 14 people. My youngest siblings ate one burger while we older ones ate two. Two dollars bought two huge boxes of fries. Enough for every person in our family to get full.
Childhood Memories – What Happened to Drive-In Movies: Eats and a Movie
In 1961, eight dollars bought a double feature movie and enough hamburgers and fries for a whole evening’s entertainment. Mom usually made a two gallon jug of iced tea. We were set.
On a typical outing, we would arrive at the drive-in a half-hour before dark. Mom and my older sisters watched my younger siblings play on the playground that was situated next to the big screen. By the time the movie started the smallest ones were ready for a nap. They usually slept through the entire movie.
The rest of us could watch the movie in relative silence. On warm clear nights, Dad let some of us lay on top of the car.
Childhood Memories – What Happened to Drive-In Movies: Criminal Activity
When I was a sophomore in high school, three friends and I decided to go to the drive-in theater. We plotted to beat the theater out of some money by sneaking into the drive-in. We pulled onto a dirt road about a mile from the theater. Three of us hid in the trunk while one of my friends drove into the theater.
Childhood Memories – What Happened to Drive-In Movies: Flawed thinking
Our criminal thinking was flawed from the beginning:
First, No one ever watches a drive-in movie by himself. When my friend drove to the ticket gate the attendant asked, “How many you got in the trunk?”
My friend answered, “Uh…uh…no one.”
It was obvious he was lying.
Second, squishing three large teenage bodies into one automobile trunk is a miserable task. To add to our misery, one of my trunk mates got nervous and passed gas. Not only did we ache from being confined in cramped quarters, but we couldn’t breath. If both my arms hadn’t fallen asleep I would have strangled him.
Third, when our remedial driver paid and drove past the gate he parked right by the concession building. DUH.
Fourth, the night we chose to sneak into the theater was family night. The price was only three dollars for an entire carload of people. The driver had to pay three dollars to get into the theater anyway. We didn’t save a penny by sneaking into the drive-in.
Fifth, did I mention our driver was remedial? Anyway, he popped the trunk as the owner of the drive-in walked from the admission gate to the concession stand. The owner spied us as we climbed out of the trunk and asked, “You boys sneaking in?”
There was no point in lying.
“Would you boys come to my office?” he asked.
When we got to the office he told us, “You know that sneaking in the theater is like stealing, don’t you? I could kick you out and ban you from the theater…but I won’t if you each pay three dollars.”
We paid our three dollars and returned to the car. If we had been honest the movie would have cost us three dollars for all of us. By trying to cheat our punishment was having to pay three dollars apiece.
Childhood Memories – What Happened to Drive-In Movies: A Lesson Learned
The worst part of the evening occurred after we left the owners office. We heard the owner bust a gut laughing as he told his employees about the four idiots that tried sneaking in on family night.
My friends and I decided a life of crime was not for us.
Thinking back, I have to chuckle about our idiocy.
Childhood Memories – What Happened to Drive-In Movies: Conclusion
Drive-in movies have given me and my friends and family many pleasant memories. I hope my grandchildren and great-grandchildren can enjoy this form of entertainment in the coming years.
Copyright 2011 J-me