By Jeff Salter
We’re blogging about experiences at Drive In movies and whether we miss them. I had quite a few experiences … and, frankly, I don’t miss them at all.
This time period was very late 1950s and possibly into the very early 1960s. The only drive-in my family frequented was somewhere along the Mandeville Highway, south of Covington LA. At one time, it was initially the Park Drive In and later became the Jet Drive In.
My dad seemed to like drive ins because he could get all five of us in for less money than the real theaters … and we could bring the popcorn (or maybe other treats) my mom had made at home.
What I most remember (a lot more then the content of any of the films we saw) was the discomfort — poor vision from the back seats of our Plymouth station wagon, scratchy and/or un-adjustable audio speakers, and (owing to the warm weather) incessant mosquito bites.
Yeah, there was a swing set up near the screen where kids could play before the feature started. But one time my brother and I were playing there right as the movie began… and the film was Horror of Dracula, which opened with a very scary image. We ran so fast that I’m surprised we even stopped at the family Plymouth.
I recall visiting the snack bar – especially before the show and during intermission – but don’t remember any particular favorite treat. When we had any money to purchase items there, we probably had to stick with things already packaged, because my mom likely would not have approved of their hotdogs and other edibles prepared on-site.
It’s possible I went to movies there as a teen, though I don’t recall doing so. I’m told (by acquaintances in Covington) that particular drive-in closed in about 1973-74, but I was in California during that timeframe, so I wouldn’t know.
I do remember there was still an operating drive-in somewhere in Hammond LA in about 1970. Its big draw was that they showed ‘R’ rated films which were considered too raw for the local theaters to feature. Kids from the small college and local high schools kept that place hopping.
Here in Somerset there is still a functioning drive-in. My wife has taken the grandkids several times and assures me everything I disliked – from 50+ years ago – has significantly improved. I’m not convinced… and I’m not actually interested enough to go see if she’s right.
To me, drive-ins are one the several things from the “good old days” that I do NOT miss.
How about you? Any good memories of drive-ins? Would you go back if there was one nearby still operating?