In 1950s, there were over 5,000 Drive-In movie theaters that dotted the American landscape and in the province of Quebec there were none. The Catholic church labeled them pits of sin, so most of us that lived in the southern Eastern Townships crossed the border to go to the Richford Vermont Drive-In Theatre for our Friday night movies. All our neighbours and friends cars lined up while the Dads hooked up the speakers on the half closed windows and the Mothers were telling all the kids to be quiet. The Drive- In Theatre was the first time I saw Bambi and cried all the way home while watching hundreds of car lights in front and back of us also containing crying children in the backseat.
In the 60's I lived with my grandparents on Mercer Island just across the Puget Sound from Seattle and every Friday night we went to the local Drive-In. It was the first place I had a Space Burger named after the Space Needle and then watching my first risque picture called Irma La Douce with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. My grandparents warned me not to tell my father that they had subjected me to lust and hookers.
Two movies I saw that did me in for life were: The Exorcist and Jaws. I remember going to see Jaws at the Ottawa Drive- In and our 100 pound German Shepherd was in the back seat. The day before he had stolen the Easter ham off the counter at my fathers and was not feeling his best.
As the movie began I had my eyes covered and the dog began heaving in the back. At the sight of the "first kill" the dog threw up in the back seat and I almost passed out in fear. Needless to say I have never swam in lakes after that mind-numbing day.
There was nothing like being in love on a warm summer night, when the fireflies were blinking, and snuggling with someone special in your car, while enjoying a movie (if you were paying attention to the movie). It was Pepsi "for those who think young" and there was no candy hunger going on with the sweetness coming from some of those over-heated cars.
I remember the Drive-In refreshment commercials like it was yesterday with the tap dancing hot dog and fries. It left such an impression on me that during intermission at a few of my fashion shows I used to perform on stage as the tap dancing hotdog and my friend was the pack of french fries. I do not remember one dance number ever being completed because we would end up on the floor laughing. My oldest son Sky used to be mesmerized by his mothers mascot antics and he is now known as the dancing chicken as seen below.
Fond memories, the movie social scene, and sneaking people into the the Drive-Ins brought hopes a few years ago when the Chinese bought AMC they might reconsider bringing them back, but they didn't. Instead I have to replace my memories of summer nights at the Drive-In to playing Drive-In Bingo and writing about Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!
Yes! That is my oldest son Schuyleur in the chicken outfit! I wouldn't lie about something like that would I??
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