Reviving the Drive-In

Discussion in 'Movies' started by paul_v, Aug 14, 2003.

  1. paul_v

    paul_v Second Unit

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    Hope the movies section is the right spot for this article. I thought the subject is appropriate. Here is part of the article:


    From http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/local/6529931.htm

    LUBBOCK - What time and twisters didn't do to tumble Texas' drive-in theaters, developers and big-box retailers did.


    "There used to be 450 drive-ins in Texas," said Jennifer Miller, co-owner of Granbury's Brazos Drive-In. "Now, that's all there is in the United States."


    The first drive-in opened 70 years ago in New Jersey; by the 1950s, the theaters had won the hearts of American families seeking affordable entertainment and the affection of postwar teen-agers craving privacy.


    Suburban sprawl doomed many of the theaters in the '80s, and several closed when business was still good, according to Jennifer Sherer, co-creator of the Web site drive-ins.com.

    But the count will rise by two screens when a new twin drive-in lights the night outside Lubbock. The Stars & Stripes Drive-In is slated to open Tuesday on 24 acres along U.S. 84 northwest of town.

    There's room for 1,000 vehicles and space for a third screen if business warrants.

    The owner is Ryan Smith, a laconic 25-year-old Southern Methodist University law school dropout. He is staking $750,000 to $1.5 million -- he won't say exactly how much -- in loans and family savings to convert a patch of dusty West Texas cropland into what he hopes will be a field of greenbacks.

    "I grew up always hearing about the drive-in," Smith said. "It was just a proud part of our family's history."

    Smith will shoot for the family crowd with double features such as PG-rated Freaky Friday and G-rated Finding Nemo. He'll also screen PG-13 fare such as S.W.A.T.

    "If this guy is building one from scratch," said drive-in movie columnist Joe Bob Briggs, "that's an amazing story."

    Smith isn't the only entrepreneur trying to draw moviegoers out of the air conditioning.

    Sherer knows of at least 426 operational American drive-ins. Thirty-seven have been built since 1990; 14 of those have gone up since 2000.

    New drive-ins have also been built in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

    New technology has replaced the heavy, metal speakers that patrons once hung from their windows -- and sometimes drove off with. Sound systems now allow customers to listen to the movie soundtrack on their FM radios. That's what Smith will use.
     
  2. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    More farmland getting paved over, huh? [​IMG]

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. I don't think they will make it. I think that if they should then we'd have a lot more in the country.

    I did read somewhere that there is a DVD out/coming out with an alternate soundtrack on it. All of the sound comes out of the left front speaker, and is messed up so that it will sound just like a drive-in speaker of old!

    That must be one with all of the drive-in commercials on it.

    Glenn
     
  3. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    A few other things helped to doom the Drive-in such as the same kind of competition that closed theaters and the almost universal adoption of Daylight Savings Time.
     
  4. Chris Dugger

    Chris Dugger Supporting Actor

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    Glenn...

    Actually, ELITE has released 2 Drive-In Discs....

    They feature a double bill and include the opening Snack Bar ad's, policy trailers and previews... between features you get the countdown clock and more filler trailers.

    On top of that, it has 2 audio tracks.... Track 1 is the standard mono soundtrack... but track 2 is a 5.1 track that add's all the sounds of activity surrounding you as it would a regular drive.... from the movie soundtrack coming out of the front left speaker to your friends talking in the back seat to others walking around the car, honking horns and other interesting concersations.... It is darn right k00l!

    Played from beginning to end, it feels like and sounds like a night at the Drive-In....

    Dugger
     
  5. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    One drive-in here in Augusta used to have air-conditioning hoses that you could run in through your car window. Unless this guy is supplying those as well as the improved sound, I'd rather not sit there and sweat all the while swatting giant skeeters.
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    But they were so ... Americana! I have so many fond memories of drive-ins. It was mostly about the experience of enjoying a summer evening under the stars. And I just loved the atmosphere. The concession stand buildings were so fun. Great entertainment on the cheap.
     
  7. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Jack, living in Manhattan in my formative years I never had the opportunity to go to a drive-in. However a movie theatre near me, Loew's Paradise, had a ceiling made up of twinkling stars. Does that count? [​IMG]
     
  8. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Never been to a drive-in, but I used to visit this outdoor theater that had a 100-ft screen. Good stuff [​IMG] Saw "Pretty Woman" there for the first time, one of my fondest memories. And I snuck into my first R-rated movie there (Almodovar's "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down"), since there were no walls to stop me :p)
     
  9. Ryan FB

    Ryan FB Second Unit

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    One channel (I think it was Speedvision) used to have a "The Lost Drive-In" thing where they would play old car movies with short segments of Bruce Dern lamenting and ranting on about death of the Drive-In before commercials. Think Joe Bob Brigg's Monstervision for racing flicks. I don't think it's been on since FOX bought it and changed it to the NASCA...I mean Speed Channel. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    I loved the drive-in! Saw many monster movies there, both with the family and with friends in high school.

    Unfortunately, I'd be wary of going to any drive-in in the Los Angeles area. I know we used to have some, don't know if they still exist, but the ones I saw were in pretty dicey areas.

    Jan
     
  11. Karl_Luph

    Karl_Luph Supporting Actor

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    We used to have one that on Monday nights during the Summer they only charged a dollar per vehicle for the show. Needless to say, we'd pile in as many people we could get and find a choice parking spot up front. As the years went, by they started charging a dollar per person(by that time it was they late 70's and the drive in was trying to survive the inevitable). It was a place for teenagers back then to meet and hang out and sometimes get into trouble .One thing for sure though, at least we were somewhat contained, lol!
     
  12. David Singleton

    David Singleton Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm very proud of the drive-in just west of my hometown in Waverly, TN.

    Built in 1967, the drive-in is so well maintained that it looks brand new.

    Here is link via drive-ins.com:

    http://www.drive-ins.com/theater/tnvall

    David
     
  13. TomK

    TomK Stunt Coordinator

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    I have very fond memories of going to the drive-in with my parents and brothers in the 60's. We had 4 in my hometown of Rockford, IL but they are all gone now. I need to take my children to one of the open ones here in NH so they can experience it. I fear that the experience may not be the same for them but we should try anyway.

    Tom
     
  14. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

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    I remember growing up in Anderson, IN, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, this town of 60,000 had TWO (!) drive-ins!

    One on the north side of town and another on west 53rd street, I believe.

    I remember seeing CLASH OF THE TITANS on the west 53rd street theater, and INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM on the north-side.

    Drive-ins were great!
     
  15. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    Drive-In movies were great when I was in high school. That was about the only place you could go with the girlfriend and get away from parental supervision for a few hours. We didn't watch too many of the movies though, hehe.[​IMG]
     
  16. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    The Union City Drive In was (AFAIK) the last remaining Drive In in the metro SF Bay Area, until some 5 years ago..
    It is now a 25 movie plex, a Walmart, an OfficeMax, a BestBuy, a Chiles, a Chevy, a Texas Roadhouse BBQ, an IHOP, an Albertson,.., y'all get the drift.[​IMG] .
     
  17. Michael Warner

    Michael Warner Supporting Actor

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    Word here in Detroit is that they're turning the parking lot of the now empty Silverdome into a drive-in theater. It's a nice gesture but I don't think it will work out all that well.
     
  18. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    I have the greatest drive-in memories. Well, except Red Dawn, a bottle of Jack Daniels and a convertible VW bug. Every location that once existed is now home to a Wal-Mart, Target or patch of condos.
     
  19. Jassen M. West

    Jassen M. West Supporting Actor

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    Seabiscuit, Bruce Almighty, American Wedding, I'm going this weekend to my local drive-in, Northfield Drive-In. Back the VW Beetle into a spot open the hatch drop the back seat and there's a nice cozy recliner just big enough for me and my G/F. I love doing that for the looks we get, like "you're not going to fit 2 people back there"...lol
    Next weekend they are having a dusk til dawn marathon, Daddy Day Care - Freaky Friday - S.W.A.T. - Tomb Raider 2 - 28 Days Later...,, could you imagine seeing 28 Days Later after about 7-8 hours of movies at 4 or 5 A.M.
     
  20. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Yeah, but nobody watches movies at drive-ins anyway!

    Regarding DST and those of us old enough to remember, would you prefer that your child stay out an extra hour at a drive-in or keep the same curfew time knowing that there was a lookout point nearby?

    Glenn
     

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