Sunday, July 1, 2007

Movies, Movies, Movies

This is going to be one of "When I was a kid..." things. While perusing the local rag this morning I picked up the entertainment section (something I rarely do) and started skimming the pages. When I got to the "Now Playing in Theaters" portion I started thinking about the theaters we had not so long ago. There was one indoor theater where we lived, for a while, it was only a block away from our house. When we moved to the other side of town, it became a 10 minute trek to get there (we lived in a real big town).

There was also a drive-in theater. What's that you ask? It was a parking lot with speakers on a pole that you hooked to a car window. The sounds of the move came into your car and the images appeared on a huge screen through your car window (some people sat on lawn chairs in the bed of a pick-up or watched through an open hatch of their station wagon). On some days you could get in with a "carload" price, other days kids would hide in the trunk of a car to get in free. Two unique elements patronized drive-in theaters. Those that watched the movie and those that didn't.

For many families, it was the only way they could go to the movies, they would pack up the kids in their jammies and take the family car (that's right, only one car per family), some snacks and something to drink and off they would go. There were 2, maybe 3 features playing with a cartoon (good cartoons, not like alot of the crap on TV today) with a short feature, the kind you never get to see unless you go to a film festival now. Those that did not watch the movie generally parked clear in the back, did not take snacks but probably had some form of liquor and may or may not have kept most of their clothes on.

To wrap this trip to the past up, what started me thinking about it all was the number of movies available to us on any given day. Back then, 3 at the most, usually only 2 and they played in the same theater, not the numerous multi-screens of today. We had movies like North by Northwest, The Magnificent Seven and North to Alaska. What played in the 2 available locations was what you had to choose from. In today's paper I noted that we can get "Sicko", "Knocked-Up", "Live Free or Die Hard", relive Noah in "Evan Almighty", tour the Caribbean and other parts of the world with a Pirate, watch 13 Oceans or go Surfing. We can even "Ratatouille".

While the movies may not be much better now, at least the selection is.


mielikki said...

Went and saw Live Free or Die Hard last night, matter of fact.
Your post reminded me of going, in my pj's, to see "The Rescuers" cartoon, and then, pretending to be asleep while Mom and Dad watched Jaws, and being horrified and terrified. Thats what I get for watching the grown up movie.

CamiKaos said...

One of my favorite memories from childhood is loading up in that old brown stationwagon and going to the drivethrough.

Never even mattered what we were watching.

Xithor said...

I remember many a brown station wagon trip. The one that leaps immediately to mind is when we went to see E.T. for what seemed like the 100th time (I think my adult annoyance at that film had an early genesis), and I started watching the cartoon that was playing on the next screen over, which turned out to be Heavy Metal.

Not the best viewing material for an 8 year old...

Bubblewench said...

there is still an old drive in here in PA, out towards harrisburg, you can even see that raatouille and Evan Almighty,

I remember fondly being the kid in the jammies with the snacks at many a drive-in... and when they switched from the boxes hanging in the window to the sound from the car stereo, man, it was almost as good as they say that iphone is...