Drive-in theaters – a tradition worth keeping



My¬†partner and I went out of town this past weekend to celebrate our anniversary, heading this time to San Luis Obispo, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s the only major city on the coast between Northern & Southern California (Fresno’s inland, and doesn’t count anyway), and I think even has an airport.

Well, not so much an airport as a landing strip for crop dusters.

My point is¬†that it’s a bit remote and relatively¬†ignored by the trends that dictate changes in other metropolitan areas. This turned out to be a nice blessing when it came to finding an activity for Saturday night.

We went to a drive-in movie.Sunset Drive In

My partner had never been, and I hadn’t either since I was about 5 years old and fell asleep in the backseat of my parents’ car after watching the cartoon intro.

It was a great trip into an era that we rarely have a glimpse into anymore. Vintage Ts don’t count.

The Sunset Drive-In was¬†showing a double feature on Saturday, and we didn’t care to see the first, so we arrived about 15 minutes before the second. We bought our tickets – a relative bargain at $6 per person, forwent the rental radio, and tuned our radio to 100.7. The sound quality was perfect, a lot better than the clunky speakers you used to hang on your window after cracking it down a bit.

You had to keep your headlights off, so we entered the theater very slowly….since we couldn’t see anything (it was dark). We crept around in our car for about 3 minutes until we found a free spot.

Around us were pickup trucks, vans, SUVs and station wagons parked turned around, so people could watch while hanging out of the tailgate. A few people planted some blankets on the ground and listened to the audio with boomboxes or wireless headphones.

We then headed to the snack bar and got nachos, popcorn, and the most vile looking piece of pizza imaginable. There were a couple of pinball games and an old-school video game inside, too.

When we got to the car, a 5 minute intermission had started. They showed a retro animation like this one to count down to the next movie:

When the movie started, we opened up the sunroof, reclined our seats a bit, dug into our crappy food and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. People ambling over to the bathrooms, cars turning on their brake lights and people giggling and laughing were all distractions we kind of found charming.

It sure beats watching a DVD at home.

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1 Comment »

  1. Congrats on your anniversary! I’ve never been to a drive in, but have always wanted to go. None here, Im afraid. Will have to wait!

    Comment by isabella snow — October 8, 2007 @ 3:39 pm

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