GET YOUR PILLOWS,
DRINKS, SNACKS AND JUMP IN WITH US! WE'RE OFF TO THE
DRIVE IN MOVIES! DO YOU REMEMBER ALL
THE FUN YOU USED
REFRESH TO BE SURE YOU GET NEW STORIES ADDED
TO HAVE AT THE DRIVE IN MOVIES?
AHHHH, WHAT WONDERFUL MEMORIES THEY EVOKE.
GET YOUR PILLOWS, DRINKS, SNACKS AND JUMP IN WITH US!
WE'RE OFF TO THE DRIVE IN MOVIES!
DO YOU REMEMBER ALL
THE FUN YOU USED
When I was a child, our family went to the drive-in at least twice a week. That was before we got our first TV, of course. Thursday nights were special at the Buckhorn Drive-In in Mission, Texas and we seldom missed it. It was Dollar a Car Night!
I'll never forget my brother and I asking as we drove what movie was on and our Foster Father, Ed, would always give us a list of western stars as a joke. I can hear him now saying, "Oh, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hoppalong Cassidy, Hoot Gibson............" and he would go on to name bunches of western stars and we would actually believe we were going to see them all! The Buckhorn was a really special drive-in. Not only did they have a super playground right up front under the big screen, but they also had wild animals from Africa caged all
along the front for you to see. The owner of the Buckhorn was a big game hunter and often brought back animals from Africa.
I usually fell asleep on the way home and my folks would have to say, "Wake up Susie, we're home". So, I'm using "Wake Up Little Susie" by the Everly Brothers for the background music you're hearing.
Then, we got our first TV and didn't go to the drive-in much anymore.
My next experiences at the drive-in movies was when I was a teenager. And what memories those are! Oh, the joys and heartaches of dating and going to the drive-in. We won't even go there, but let's just say "The playground was no longer of interest".
During that period, our favorite drive-ins were The Cactus Drive-In in Pharr, Texas and The Palms Drive-In in McAllen, Texas (the two cities are side by side, so not far to go to either) Later in life, I ended up married to the son of the owner of The Palms Drive-In, but it was long gone by that time.
The next stage of Drive In movies was when I got married and we took our children. We loaded their pillows, snacks and drinks and off we went. After playing on the playground, we would finally get them in the car and usually they were sleeping by the time the second movie started. Of course, there were the usual five trips to the concession stand before they finally settled down.
All of the old Drive Ins where I'm from are gone now. Only one remains and it just got started again a few years back. But, let me tell you they are alive and doing well in the Cleveland, Ohio area! (That's where I'm living now until my hubby retires and we move back to Texas.
I was totally amazed when we went to our first movie at the Memphis Drive-In in Cleveland. It was like we had gone back in time (with just a few changes). Everyone brought their lawn chairs, blankets, ice chests, food and drinks and the whole family joins in the fun. I just looked around and felt like I was in the 50s again. The only difference is that there are now three big screens, each with a different movie and you can tune in your radio to listen if you don't want to use the speaker. That comes in real handy on those chilly nights up here.
Also, they use the drive-ins for Flea Markets on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
The drive-ins here are shut down through the winter for obvious reasons. It snows and is freezing cold for months! Therefore, the following pictures of the Memphis Drive In here in Cleveland, Ohio, are void of people. Next spring, I'll add pictures with people in them. (grin). The pictures show the marquee, the toll booth, the concession stand, the three screens and projection booth, the playground and speakers. How many speakers did you drive off with? LOL
IT'S JUNE IN CLEVELAND, OH AND THE MEMPHIS DRIVE IN MOVIE IS OPEN FOR THE SUMMER! THESE PICTURES WERE TAKEN EARLY IN THE EVENING AND THE CROWD HASN'T ARRIVED YET. JUST BEFORE SHOWTIME, AROUND 9:30P.M., ALL OF THE SPACES WILL BE TAKEN, BUT IT WOULD BE TOO DARK TO TAKE PICTURES. :) THE MUSIC PLAYING ON THE SPEAKERS WAS "HOT ROD LINCOLN". YOU'D THINK WE WERE BACK IN THE 50'S! THE MOVIE SHOWING WAS "GONE IN 60 SECONDS" WITH NICKOLAS CAGE.
THESE ARE JUST A FEW SHOTS OF SOME OF THE GROUPS THAT HAD ALREADY ARRIVED AND SET UP FOR THE MOVIE. SOME IN LAWN CHAIRS, SOME IN THE BACKS OF THEIR UVS, AND EVEN SOME ON TOP OF THE CAR. ALL WITH FOOD, DRINK AND ALL THE COMFORTS THEY BROUGHT WITH THEM. THE YOUNG LADY IN THE LAST TWO PICTURES WAS VERY PROUD (AND JUSTIFIABLY SO) OF HER "WANTED POSTER" AND WANTED TO SHARE IT.
I want to thank Linda Ferris for inspiring me to build this page. I received the story of her drive in experience in an email. It brought back such memories that I wanted to share it with you and she was generous enough to let me use her story on this page. Please read her wonderful memories:
THE BIG SCREEN
I was the oldest of five children back in the 60's.
We lived in a nice little three bedroom bungalow in Lincoln Park,
Michigan. Mom and Dad worked so hard, yet always found the time to spend
with us. My mother always laughed when she said "we were an especially
active bunch" and the only place they could take five active children back
then, where they could also find time to be alone, was the "drive-in"
We always looked forward to going to the drive-in! Mom would fill a
big brown grocery bag, with homemade, hot buttered, popcorn. We would put
our pajamas on underneath our clothing, gather our pillows and blankets,
hop into our nine passenger station wagon, and off we'd go.
On the way there, Dad would make a special stop at the penny candy
store, where we were all allowed to fill a little brown bag with all kinds
of penny candy. We were so excited, as we carried our treasures back to
the car, knowing we couldn't eat it until the cartoon began.
We would get there early, so that we could play on the playground,
right under the BIG screen -- all the time having great anticipation for
the movie projector lights to flash on. We kept a constant watch.
As soon as it started to get dark, the screen lit up, and we would
race back to the car, tearing off our outer clothing right down to our
pajamas. The car was filled with commotion, as we giggled and squirmed,
filling our bellies with candy and popcorn.
There were always two cartoons playing before the movie back then,
great ones, like Felix the Cat, The Coyote, and Tom and Jerry. But what
was just as exciting was the ticking clock advertisement for the
refreshment stand, with dancing hot dogs, candy and ice cream. That came
on right before the movie. It was all that five rambunctious kids could
hope for, and by then, stay awake for.
Yeah, Mom and Dad were pretty clever. For they now had five children
all in their pajamas, exhausted from playing in the night air, appetities
satisfied, and fast asleep BEFORE the two feature films were even showing.
As I got a little older I would watch a little of the movie before
giving in to sleep. And as the others slept, I felt comfort in watching
Mom and Dad, as they looked at each other and smiled, his arm around her,
enjoying the peace and quiet.
We would get home around 2am -- pretty late for us -- as Mom helped us
drag ourselves and our pillows to our beds and as dad carried in the little
I was disappointed the day they closed the last drive-in in our town.
It will always hold special memories for us -- those days of penny
candy, pajamas under our clothes and station wagons.
Once when i was a
teenager in Youngstown Ohio, my friends and i were at the drive-in being obnoxious and
doing what teenagers are best at. The place was packed and all was going well when out of
nowhere (well actually out of the woods that lined the drive-in parking lot) a trouble
making skunk (a real actual stinks spreading skunk) made an unexpected appearance and darn
near emptied out the entire place. I don't even remember what was playing, but I do
remember that it wasn't worth battling that stinky fellow over.
The drive-in movie is an American icon that will bring back hundreds of fond (and not so fond) memories.
I really enjoyed this page Sue. Keep up the good work.
Waaaaaaay back when in the mid-60's our favorite drive-in was the Wes-Mer located between Mercedes and Weslaco, Texas. There was one movie that we went to see about 4 times and for one reason or another (shhhhh!), I never saw the whole complete movie! Even funnier now is that I don't remember who I was with....Chuck Lockhart or my later (and now ex) husband to be, Robbie Adams! I think the movie was Valley of the Dolls. Oh well....what fun we had battling the mosquitoes and fogging the windows...LOL!!
I remember well the drive-in
movies. The first time I ever attended, I went with my grandparents to see Ma and Pa
Kettle in the Ozarks. What a hilarious time we had.
Though Mom and Dad worked hard and didn't have much money, a couple times a year Dad would load us all in the car on Buck Night (the whole car load up to 6 people got in for a dollar) and take us to see Ma and Pa Kettle, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry or some other famous personality that could be enjoyed as a family.
In my teens, I went to the same drive-in with my fiance. Every Friday night the drive-in was our regular date.
Too bad that this marvelous medium of movie showing has all but disappeared. There is only one in all of Southern Ontario and it is a 2 hour drive from me. Needless to say, we don't go anymore. I wish they would make a come back. The drive-in certainly is an icon of past days as well as the drive-ins where we went to eat afterward.
Thank you for this memory.
~Mary Alward, Ontario Canada~
I remember when I was a
little girl, on a warm summer night, daddy would load us all into the back of the old
pickup truck and we would head out for the Drive-In. Usually it would be on a Tuesday
night because that was dollar night. All you could haul in one automobile for a dollar.
Mama would spread out a blanket and we would all lay down and watch the movie. Daddy would
try and park close to the consession stand so we would't be out of eye sight for the
Later, when I was a teen ager, the Drive-In became our favorite hang-out . One of the girls would pick us up in her car. By the time everybody was packed into that one car, the driver could barely drive. I remember some good times with the gang at the Drive-In.
After my husband and I had our sons we started taking them to the Drive-In. There we didn't have to worry about the noise they caused or the popcorn and drinks they spilled. If we got there early they could go and play in the childrens park beneath the big screen. One summer the owner set up a small train that would take the children around the entire Drive-In. Our boys had so much fun and to this day remember it.
The Drive-In was still there when they were teenagers.I'm sure they spent many a night out there with their friends just like I did.
A few years ago the Drive-In closed. It had been run out of business by the video stores. Recently a private citizen bought it and had a dozer to come in and clean it up. He built a beautiful home on the spot where the concession stand had stood. I knew this man and I know that he too had many memories about the Drive-In.
Now when I drive by and see where our memories had been born, I have to smile. I wonder if at night, when the homeowners are in bed and the night is quite, if sometimes they hear a horn honk and someone yell, "Turn off the headlights."
I remember when Interstate Theatres
built the Cactus drive in in Pharr, TX. I lived only a block away, and when the wind was out
of the east, I could lie in bed and listen to it and hear every word clearly.
The year I was eleven (1951), only a few months after it was opened, I was hired as the flashlight boy. You remember, the guy with the flashlight who vainly tried to direct traffic to open spots, only to have most of the cars drive past on their way to the tenth row! It was also my job to go around with the flit gun, and offer to spray for mosquitos. A lot of people on the tenth row were quite surprised when I came knocking on cars that were rocking!
I also had to walk around to every damned last speaker on the lot and turn the volume down at the first intermission, and after the last feature.
A year or so later, I graduated to the ticket booth where we did both mosquito spraying and windshield cleaning while collecting the money and passing back ticket stubs. And still later, I was elevated to the concession stand and made responsible for the fountain cokes and popcorn sales.
John Connelly was the manager for the first few years at the Cactus, and he tolerated teens and sub-teens working for him without many problems, but as time went on, child labor laws and a new manager by the name of Agnew came along, and I retired from the drive in. I later wound up as the assistant manager (at the age of 15) of the Rex Theatre in San Juan, and still later, the projectionist at the Rex and at the Plaza in Donna.
And where did I go on dates in high school? Why, to the Cactus, of course, although I remember a couple of steamy sessions at the Wes-Mer, where nobody knew me and I could enter incognito.
The last time I actually went to a drive in movie was in the early seventies. I was teaching Spanish at Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas, and went to see a few Cantinflas movies at the drive in in Mission.I think it was the Buckhorn, but by the mid-seventies, all the remaining open ones show only Spanish language movies down here, and the animals were gone.
There is a vacant ex-Walmart building and a strip mall where the Cactus used to be. Some of the others are now sites for fleas markets.
I remember the animals at the Buckhorn, but mostly I remember the monkey cage at the Cactus. There was a female chimp named Betty that I was half in love with. Is that why my kids have such big ears? Nah, they got it from me.
Drive-In Theatres, ah what memories it brings
we always called it the Outdoor! We used to pile everyone in the car,
always took our own snacks, as the concession stand was tooo expensive
and crowded. Speaking of crowded, what about the restrooms! Yuck,
usually weren't that great. But, ahhhhhh, that playground was a source
of great fun. There were no parks in the area where I grew up, and the
only time we had slides and swings was at the Outdoor! (Except school of
course, but they never seemed to be empty when I wanted a turn!) Got to
admit, we drove with our share of speakers out of the lot with them
still in the window! Usually sat outside on our own lawnchairs too, or on
the roof of the car! Ahhhhh, what bliss. Then on the 4th of July,
there were always fireworks. In GreenBay, WI...where I grew up,
we always had firework displays over the bay, and that was truly
a site to see...but loved that bonus of fireworks at the Outdoor!
Surprisingly I never went to the Outdoor as a teenager, but one time
strange huh? By then we opted for the indoor theatre in our downtown
district....one whole 'main' street of shops and one theatre!!