Well, the good news is that’s my village’s big (and only) claim to fame. Shankweiler’s is the oldest continuously operating drive in theater in the U.S. (only in summer, though). They still have the playground in front of the screen to get the kids tired out before the movie starts, the audio boxes on poles that you hook onto your half-opened window or just turn up if you’re sitting in your lawn chair next to your car, double-feature first run movies, and a snack bar that would be more orgasm-inducing to true roadfooders than the activities of the local teens in the last couple of rows.
The bad news is that unless you go at least an hour and a half before the first film starts, it will be sold out. Classic car clubs all over the Middle Atlantic states converge on weekends to experience the flavor of an old time drive in movie, complete with dancing soft drink cups luring them to the snack bar at intermission. So locals have to go during weeknights.
Yup, I still love going to the drive-in too! I just wish my local d-i (Fayetteville, AR) had decent food. And they actually have security people there now — never saw that before. So now you have to hide your beer. [;)]
I heard the one in Mendon, Mass actually has good food, and quite a big menu.
The one in Fairlee Vermont is cool — it’s next to the Fairlee Motel — the rooms all have picture windows facing the movie screen, and there are speakers in all the rooms so that you get to watch 2 free movies in air-conditioned comfort when staying at the motel. And you get to watch what the people in the cars are doing.
Remember buying those green mosquito coils to burn on the dashboard?
This website is cool — http://www.driveintheater.com/index.htm
You can look up the closest drive-in to where you live, and there are links to the d-i’s websites.
Perhaps the joys of the drive in theatre will never be known or enjoyed by the younger generation. It was more than the ambience of the evening, the popcorn, the cold beverages (your choice), the hot dogs. It was the joy of the excitement after the first 15 minutes of the show beginning with putting your arm around your girl friend, then moving her a bit closer and then [?][?][?]. Yes it did happen more than once. Not from me you understand, but many times I glanced over to the next door car, noticed the windows fogged up which I was certain was due to the bad heater in the car until I noticed the shock absorbers were weak and detecting a mild earthquake in the area due to the ancient automobile moving violently around. Never did understand why[8D]
Ah! the joys of sneaking your friends in via the trunk[8D][;)][}:)]
Paul E. Smith
Drive Ins……..Pop Corn, Hot Dogs, and Hamburgers, with the "fixins bar" was my first time getting to decide alone what I wanted on my Hot Dog. My Dad just let me do it all by myself. I remember the movie "Hard Days Night" with the Beatles. First Night out with Dad by myself. I can’t remember the year but, I was born in 1960. So I was still a little guy. What a great memory. I have taken my Family to the Drive In, but I don’t know of one left in the Los Angeles area anymore. They are all Swap Meets Now!
Our newspaper just ran an article this week on a drive-in located in Orefield, PA. It’s called Shankweiler’s, and it’s been there since 1934. I’d love to take my kids sometime, but it’s about 60 miles from the Ben Franklin Bridge, the span which links south Jersey with Philadelphia. From where we live, it’s probably a little too far for an evening excursion (75 miles). Sounds interesting, though…
As a point of information, the world’s first drive-in was opened in Pennsauken, NJ, by Richard Hollingshead on June 6, 1933.
I really, really miss the drive-in theatres. I think my teens are missing out on a lot of the fun we used to have "at the show".[:(]
The Sky-Vue Drive-In Theatre is still alive and well in Lamesa, Tx!
Great site, Ed! Thanks. I love old landmarks, and I’m a nut about the "Mother Road". I’ve traveled various sections of it, but someday I want to start at Grant Park in Chicago and end up in Santa Monica, all in one trip!
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