Memory Lane: A Night at the Drive-In

One of the amenities of American life that I really do miss–and I’m sure I’m not the only one–is the drive-in movie. Wasn’t that great! Especially that somewhat horrible intermission bumper, “Let’s all go to the Lobby!”

Once upon a summer night, on one of those extremely rare occasions when a babysitter just wasn’t available, my mother and father went to the drive-in to see Psycho. They must’ve really wanted to see it, because they took me along. I guess they expected me to fall asleep in the back seat. Fat chance of that!

Yup, when Vera Miles tapped ol’ Momma Bates’ shoulder, and Mrs. Bates turned around, and she was a mummy, this dreadful ghastly mummy–Yee-ow! It just about went through the roof of the car. You can imagine how I slept that night. I was ten years old, I wasn’t used to stuff like that!

Hooked me on horror movies for life, though.

Maybe someday the drive-ins will come back. And then we can all go out to the lobby and scuttle back with popcorn in time for the next feature.

11 comments on “Memory Lane: A Night at the Drive-In

    1. Wow, Vineland: that’s about as far as you can go from here and still be in New Jersey. Still, that’s one more drive-in theater than I thought we had. Might be worth the trip. Thanks, Lisa!

  1. That’s interesting, because just this afternoon I was thinking about how much I’d love to go to a drive-in movie and wondering if any of my old haunts still were even in existence.

    There was one drive-in open in my old neighborhood as late as the mid ’90s, when I saw Jurassic Park at the drive-in. There’s something about a silly monster movie (which is actually what J.P. was) and a drive-in, that meshes perfectly.

    1. Inexpertly-edited and dubbed-out-of-sync Italian slasher movies also work. Almost as good as silly monster movies.

      Memory flash: one night at the drive-in, watching a Grade E horror movie called “I Eat Your Skin” (honest). Actually, consumption of skin of any kind never featured in the movie. Last line of the screenplay: “So much for Dr. So-and-So’s plan to conquer the world with an invincible army of zombies.” Which was the first we in the audience heard of any such plan.

      If Shakespeare had been a total blithering idiot, he would’ve written stuff like this!

      It’s awful, but I like it.

  2. I miss it too. Large groups of friends would go to the drive-in, then meet up at Ho Jo’s (Howard Johnson) for the strongest drink on the menu – milk shakes. Some of us went bowling or roller skating, at night because it was safe then. Additionally, over these 2 decades, I also miss public phones with phone books and public water fountains in the parks. I mostly miss healthy food that actually had flavor and Tootsie rolls with gum in the center and those little fudge cups with those tiny spoons. I miss finding punks on the tress and lighting them up for a fun few hours at night. My grandsons missed after school activities, music, and the arts. Funding began to go only towards sports. When I was even younger than that, I especially miss the neighbors who were always sitting outside, on all 4 streets around the block. They knew us, said hello and sometimes let us know that they actually liked us, and we were able to leave our block at night – FREEDOM. There was always at least one or more grocery stores open late, for ice cream and candy and fresh potato chips out of a large barrel and Jewish pickles, the best. I remember when mingling with different cultures was exciting and educational and friendly. Children are not born racists – it is learned as more and more anti-American illegals began flooding America, bringing with them the totalitarianism they escaped from. Oh, yes, Mr. Duigan, those were the days.

    1. Yes! “Got milk” – not any longer; pick your toxic soda or watered down juice with artificial flavors & coloring, and real chemicals or flouridated “spring”less water. And Horn & Hardarts. lol

  3. When Dad had a car, we used to go to the Andalusia Drive-In. I know it was in Jersey and we went over the Tacony-Palmyra bridge to get there. That’s all I remember of its location. I do remember a small playground area down in front under the screen a little. We played on that until it was time for the movie to begin. And I remember Dad placing the speaker in the car window and winding the window so the speaker would be secure. Those were fun days.

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