Friday, May 18, 2007

And the good news is...

This is the best news I've heard in ages.

No, seriously. You can read it for yourself in the L.A. Times: Southern California is getting a new drive-in theater. It is called the Star-Vu (a worthy name for a drive-in), and it opens tonight on one of the parking lots of the Orange County Fairgrounds, thanks to what the Times article calls "four baby-boomers" with a newfangled French inflatable movie screen. It is slated to operate all year round, except for during the run of the OC Fair, which will need the parking spaces.

Now, you've got to understand...I've had a long relationship with drive-ins. Starting when I was just a baby, my family had a long-standing tradition of going to the drive-in every Friday night. Later on, when I was in high school, my first job was working in the snack bar of a drive-in at the Sunday Swap-Meet. I love drive-ins, and I miss them dreadfully. Locally the last one closed a few years ago so that the money-men could build a Costco. Personally, I think they robbed the community of a cultural treasure. The drive-in I worked at closed even before that, and now up-scale houses stand where I once enjoyed all the James Bond movies before anyone worried about whether they were suitable for younger viewers and where I once shopped for books among the swap-meet stalls during my breaks from work.

Forty years ago, there were 107 drive-ins in Southern California (and I'll wager that I attended a good number of them at one time or another). Now, with the opening of the Star-Vu tonight, there are ten. I sure hope this marks the beginning of a new trend.


The Sword Maiden said...

We had lots of drive-ins as well. Just like you, it was usually a Friday night or the Sunday midnight horror movie.

Not so good on a cold wet night, as the car windows tended to fog up. And what about those 3D goggles which we had to use to spot the ghosts with!

A great loss, especially for those who could not afford to go to the cinema. All taken over by the big 8 screen movie giants. Still, we do have happy memories of that time.

lma said...

Having grown up in Southern California, there weren't too many cold wet nights at the drive-in, even though they were open all year. Once in awhile the windows would get fogged up, though, and I can remember having all kinds of fun drawing pictures on the back window when the movies would get boring (which they didn't, usually). I don't remember any 3-D goggles, though. But they sound like fun.

Now, the times I miss the drive-ins the most are on warm summer nights, when I open the window over my bed and somehow the gentle breeze coming in feels and smells just like those nights at the drive-in. Sometimes, at those times, I can find a radio station playing old music like they used to play over the speakers before the movies and during intermission, and then I can close my eyes and almost believe that I'm back there and then. The illusion is almost perfect sometimes.