Intermission Revisited

Hi Folks I posted a bit about this a year ago. I thought I would research and develop it a bit more…. ah the memories.

Its Saturday night in late August, the sultry summer sky is tinged with oranges and reds  as evening approaches and I am doing everything in my power to make sure Mom and Dad remain in a good mood. You see, they have hinted that going to the Drive-In’s may be on the agenda tonight.

Owen Sound Drive-in Theatre

Owen Sound Drive-in Theatre (Photo credit: Explore The Bruce)

Do you remember going to the drive-in? I guess there are still a few out there and I haven’t been in years. I do remember as a child thinking it was such a thrill and a treat… you know putting the blanket out next to the car, maybe with a friend you had somehow cajoled your parents into bringing along. Perhaps throwing the Frisbee around with Mom biting her nails down to the nub worrying about who we may inadvertently decapitate or how many times we narrowly averted certain pancakeitis, (perhaps a future Bizzaroword) from reckless running between the cars.

The first Drive-In Movie Theater was the brain child of a young sales manager named Richard Hollingshead of Camden, NJ. His father owned Whiz Auto Products, and young Richard was looking for a way to combine his love of cars and great Movies. He tested his idea in his driveway by mounting a 1928 Kodak Projector on the hood of his car and nailing the screen to some trees in his backyard. He placed a radio behind the screen for a sound system.

The driveway posed an early problem as cars parking directly behind one another impeded the line of sight to the screen, so Richard began trying various ideas such as staggering and spacing of cars as well as blocks and ramps  to raise the front of the car to improve the view. On May 16th 1933 Richard was awarded a patent for his idea and on June 6th 1933 with an investment of 30 dollars Richard opened the first drive-in, in Camden NJ, charging 25 cents for each car and 25 cents for each person.

Over the years things changed  as the old metal speakers that we used to hang on the car windows were replaced with wireless sound systems that could be transmitted to the car radio. Of course there were a distinct group who never used the speakers anyway as the windows were rolled up… and fogged up.

For us kids the highlight of the evening wasn’t what movie was playing, but the dual joys of staying up past bedtime and intermission. Let’s face it popcorn and ice cream have always tasted better at the drive in.

By the end of the evening we were exhausted, covered in a conglomeration of greasy foodstuffs and enough mosquito bites to pass muster in a measles convention. Yep those were the good ole days!





About JT

I am a happily married man with 6 children and have an autoimmune disease. I hope to share my story and explore others' stories and perhaps together both of our lives will be enhanced.
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2 Responses to Intermission Revisited

  1. Thanks for the research on drive-in history, which I have yet to google. It has been decades! The last drive I went to was in Stockton, with friends, as a 20-something. The first feature was fun – cowboys battling a tyrannosaurus that got loose in Texas and was eating too many cows. The second one, the “main feature,” was a slasher movie, not really clear from the title, so we left. Hmmm – now I remember why I never went back….

    Fonder old memories of drive in eateries. As of a few years ago, there was still an A&W on a rural highway in Oregon, where you could take a break from your drive with a root beer float and a pretty good burger. I guess the cost of the extra servers is what makes such places prohibitive. Now that is a shame!

    • JT says:

      Oh, I used to love the A&W’s the last one I saw was in Massachusetts and it closed some 30+ years ago. With the way Retro ideas seem to be sprouting, i wonder if that would be a lucrative venture to bring them back?

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