I don’t remember how old I was when I went to my first drive-in theatre, but I do remember the experience. I was probably broaching teenager-dom, and the trip was made by myself, my mom, and my aunt out to the big field where the Twin Drive In called it’s home – and as the name would suggest, it was a big twin drive in (hey, you didn’t have to be clever, you just had to have the screens, right?). I know it was a double bill, but I only remember Waterworld playing. Despite the fact that the movie wasn’t much good, the actual experience of it stuck with me. The drive, the crappy boxes on the windowsills, hoofing it to the immense line up at the concession. Everybody honking when the hot dog jumps into the bun (and only vaguely being aware of why). It was pretty fucking awesome.
It wasn’t too long after The Twin closed, and then The Stardust (the other drive in in the area) shortly thereafter. I believe the location that The Twin was located in is now part of a large highway. Thumbs up for progress.
When I moved to the coast I was thrilled that there was still an operating drive in in Langley, and we made the trip out, loud obnoxious almost twenty-somethings, loaded into the car, sneaking in some beer, and this time the hot dog jumping into the bun wasn’t nearly as much of a mystery for me.
Everybody has their thing. That one thing they would do if they won the lottery, or had a rich unknown distant relative kick it and leave you their vast fortune.
My thing would be a drive in theatre. The trick being, I’d be immensely wealthy, so who the hell cares if it looses money? Because having your own drive in would be fucking awesome. But the dream doesn’t just stop there – having a drive in alone isn’t good enough.
Fact of the matter is, I’ve spent far more time than I’d freely care to admit, coming up with extensive theme nights, and what the line up of movies would be. When I say drive in, I’m not talking about just getting any old movie, new releases, or even second tier releases. My drive in would be way more awesome than that.
You’d have your nights that centre around an actor or creator: H.G. Wells night, Lon Chaney Jr. Night, Ray Harryhausen night, Jamie Lee Curtis night (pre-1985 of course). Then you’d get some of your more esoteric nights: deep sea creature night, giant bug night, voodoo zombie night (that’s what we call bringing it back to where we all started). Oh, I have tons of them.
But, since I don’t play the lottery, nor do I have any rich distant relatives the drive in theatre will remain a pipe dream. I know it, and I’ve come to terms with it.
However, I can’t stop obsessing over my theme nights, and while they may come to some kind of fruition in spring by way of a back yard theatre (my house my be small, but a huge flat back yard makes up for it), what’s really fun – besides watching the movies – is coming up with the feature nights. So, since it’s my damned blog, I’m going to pretend like I have a drive in theatre and pick my theme nights, choose the movies, then showcase them here.
Because it’s fun, and I might as well get some enjoyment out of the process now, when the back yard theatre is still months away, and the drive in will forever just be a dream.
But I guarantee you some of these will end up making their way into the back yard theatre. Hopefully the neighbours won’t complain (I don’t know how well a Herschell Gordon Lewis night will go over).