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Drive-in movie theaters have started to make a comeback in recent years, and in light of the coronavirus outbreak, it could be a good thing. They were the brainchild of Richard Hollingshead. The idea caught on, and drive-in theaters popped up all over the country. Their popularity spiked after WWII and became an icon of American culture and a typical weekend destination

Susan: Music to my ears when I was a child. We’d put on our pajamas and grab our pillows because it was going to be a long night. Daddy and Mama always went for the double and triple features. During the summer it got dark so late we’d be there most of the night.

I can smell the popcorn now! A cool summer breeze, the smell of the hot dogs on the grill, the crunch of gravel as cars pulled in. If we were lucky, we might get to go to the playground located in front just under the movie screen.

The advertisement for the snack bar flashing on the screen made my mouth water. (Too expensive, Daddy always said so we brought our snacks with us) The concession stand sat in the middle of the lot, along with the restrooms (which we avoided like the plague because Mama had a thing about germs).

When my husband was a teenager, he’d go to Floyd’s Dairy Bar (5 burgers for $1.00) and buy a six-pack of soda on his way to the show. He also told me the story of parking behind a kid who sneaked in a trunkload of friends (must not have been Bargain night)

My fondest memory is the time my uncles took a carload full of kids to see Cat Ballou. They took us to the snack bar and let us get ANYTHING we wanted. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! It’s a wonder I didn’t make myself sick.

I remember Cool Hand Luke, The House on Haunted Hill, Planet of the Apes, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Shenandoah, and a whole lot of John Wayne movies. I saw a whole lot more, but those stick out in my mind.

Ann: Well, Susan, my parents never took us to the movies…drive-in or otherwise. And, once I was old enough to date, I wasn’t allowed to go to a drive-in.

However, I remember two exceptions to the rule and they stand out in my mind. Not because I was at a forbidden place, but because something memorable happened.

Drive-in visit number one: I went with a friend and her mother. I don’t recall what movie we saw, but I do remember the Lunar Eclipse that night! We spent our time watching it instead of the movie.

My second experience was the first date I had with the boy I would later marry. We’d gotten special permission to go…a one-time-only deal. Again, I don’t remember the movie, but I remember what I was wearing—a purple and white seersucker full skirt and sleeveless top. It was summer and even seersucker didn’t help.

Tom, my date, had a church hand fan in his car. Remember those?  To my surprise, you can still order them as promotional products. They’re about the size of a sheet of typing paper mounted on a paint stir stick. Most of the time they had a picture of Jesus on them.

Well, Tom, being a gentleman, gave it to me so I could stir the air…which I did. But my hand got tired after a while so I laid the fan in my lap. When I raised it to fan again, it caught on the hem of my skirt, and pulled it over my head!

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