Memory Lane: Drive-In Movies

Sean Connery in Zardoz | Considerable

Behold Sean Connery in hot pants and, I guess, go-go boots, starring in the 1974 science fiction classic–they kept saying it’s a classic–Zardoz. Good grief.

I turned to Patty yesterday and said, “Y’know what I’d like to do this evening? Take us to a drive-in movie.” Only of course that was looking back into the past; today the nearest drive-in is some hundred miles from here. All the ones we used to have–and enjoy–have been replaced by pack-’em-in housing and strip malls. Progress, don’t you know.

One night in the 70s we went to the dear old Amboys Drive-in to see Zardoz, which was supposed to be a classic. My brother Mark brought the beer. Patty watched the opening credits. “Oh, boy! John Alderton is in it!” She loved him in Upstairs, Downstairs. By the time Zardoz was halfway over, it was “Poor John Alderton!” With Mark in the back seat uncontrollably guffawing over the dialogue (“The ***** is evil. The ***** shoots seeds.”) Incredible, that Connery’s career survived this.

Every now and then you caught a good movie at the drive-in. But some of the bad ones were… well, indescribable. Like Caligula impersonating the Goddess Dawn. But if I listed just half a dozen of those and admitted I saw them at the drive-in, you’d think there was something wrong with me. Yeah, there was: I was in my early 20s.

We can’t go to the drive-in anymore. It’s been stuffed into extinction. People under a certain age have never seen one.

I call it a loss.

6 comments on “Memory Lane: Drive-In Movies

  1. Oh, yes, I faintly remember the drive in. Haven’t seen one in many years. I thought it was because I wasn’t interested in one. I did drive past a place when one used to be, about 60 years ago, and the place was turned into a taco place.

  2. Drive-ins were a big part of growing up in southern California. I remember seeing “It’s a Mad, Mad Mad, Mad World” at the drive-in and all of us in the car laughed and laughed. I saw the movie years later and it didn’t even seem funny. Environment can be everything.

    1. My folks took me along when they went to see “Psycho,” thinking I’d fall asleep before the movie started. I didn’t. In fact, it was quite a while before I ever fell asleep again.

  3. I think I went to a drive-in movie once when I was very young. It’s a little hazy.

    By the way, Sean Connery in that outfit would probably fit right in today.

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