Sometimes memories come to you, you’re not sure where they come from, they are just there, rattling around in your head. This morning I work up with the song Science-Fiction\Double feature, from the Rocky Horror Picture Shop playing in my gourd. Why, you ask, I haven’t a clue, but there is was. As so often happens, one thought leads to another and the next thing I knew I was remembering the Drive-in theatre. So lets take a moment, dear reader, and step back to a simpler time. A time when you could pay by the carload, take in a whole picnic basket full of snacks, and control the volume. Lets step back to the late night, double feature, picture show!
My earliest memories of the drive in was my father letting us sneak in, inside the trunk of the car. He had told us stories about how, as a kid, his father could not afford taking him and his bother and sister into the drive-in so he would put them in the trunk. Well to a 7 or 8 year old boy, this was just about the slickest trick a person could pull. So a few miles before we got there my father would pull over and let my brother and I jump in the trunk of the car. We could hardly contain ourselves when we would hear him tell the ticket taker “two please”. It was only many years later we learned that he was paying for the car and not how many- people in it.
Another part of the drive-in that was mind blowing to a kid was that there was two, that is right, two films, one right after the other. In Kelowna BC, my Uncle took my bother and I to see a Bruce Lee double feature, it was one of the finest things that had happened to me up to that moment of my young life. Bruce Lee!! The man was a legend, and so was I when I went back to school on Monday telling everyone about him.
To be honest I don’t think that in all of the drive-in’s I went to as a child I ever stayed awake to see the end of the second movie. But I do remember seeing Christopher Reeves as Superman, and ET flying on a bike! I remember seeing Kermit the Frog singing the “Rainbow Connection” through the rain on the windshield. I can remember the speaker that you had to attach to the window of the car.
We would be allowed to go the concession stand at the intermission between the movies for popcorn, then come back to the car and get under the blanket my mother had brought. Once we were done snaking and we were cozy under that blanket it was pretty much the end of the road, next thing we knew it would be our parents waking us up to walk into the house to go to bed.
The last time I went to the Drive-In I was probably about 17 years old. I had just gotten my license and was driving an old beat up chevet. The drive-in was quite a drive away and I remember thinking half way through the second film, how the hell I was going to find my way home in the dark. The Drive-In closed not long after that and I’ve never been to one since. That last time I went with a buddy of mine, I do not remember what we saw but I remember feeling free. My buddy died a few years later as a very young man. I miss him still and I miss the drive-in and all the b-rated charm it had.