Touch of Nostalgia (Part 2) . . .

The memories that are awakened by the sight of an object can be amazing. As I continue to scan old family photos I came across the first car I remember our family owned. There were only two photos of it that I could find (so far), but the memories of traveling in that car with my family are numerous.


Yes, that is me at about 3 yrs old

By today’s standards, this was a big car (and I was very small ;-)). It was a black Chevy Impala convertible with red and white interior. Back in those days we did not wear seat belts and mothers held their babies instead of using a car seat. We drove on the highways with the top down in the summer time and did not think much about the danger of any of that. Times were different.

One of our favorite summertime outings was taking the car to the neighborhood drive-in movie theater. Do you remember those? I grew up in St. Paul and our drive-in theater was about 6 blocks away. We lived on a hill and were taunted by the sight of the movie screen out of the living room window throughout the summer.  It was very small in the distance, but binoculars could get you a little better view (no sound of course ;-)).  It was a special treat when we got to go to the Drive-in theater and Drive-in Restaurants (which are also hard to find these days).

Packing up the car to go to a movie was great fun. We (3 kids) gathered our pillows and blankets and filled up the backseat. There were snacks, popcorn and pop. We could talk during the movie and not bother anyone. And, on a hot night putting the top down on made it even more fun. Do you remember the crackly voices over the speaker that hung on the car window?  Or, are you younger and could use the car radio?  Our theater was high-tech, concessions could be both ordered and delivered from your car if you did not want to take a walk. (Click here for more Drive-in Theater memories and history:  Intermission film clips, concession stand commercials, playgrounds, outdoor seating, etc…

I decided to share this particular car memory because of an article I read on the internet this past weekend. (Link to the article on Drive-in Theaters)   Drive-in Theaters in the United States are in great danger of disappearing completely … many of the few remaining Drive-in Theaters are being forced to close because of mandatory digital projector upgrades.

I researched Minnesota and found that out of the 87 drive-in movie theaters in the State, only 5 remain open. You can research your State’s Drive-in Theater statistics here:

We are losing an American icon of entertainment, teenage” love”(?), and the car culture.  Like many of you, I have not been to a Drive-in theater in more years than I can count .. but that is because there are no theaters around me any more.   It is sad that very soon, kids will not be able to experience a Drive-in theater.

One bright spot is a project Honda started to help save five Drive-in theaters. It is called “Project Drive-in”  (read more:  At the Honda site, you have the opportunity to vote for the Drive-In theater you would most like Honda to save. Explanation from the Project Drive-in website:

“In less than 3 months, the majority of American drive-in theaters will face closure with the movie industry’s switch from film to digital. Upgrading to digital projection costs roughly $80,000.

We want to preserve this iconic part of American car culture. So we’re taking the first step by starting a drive-in fund and donating 5 digital projectors. Your vote decides where they go.”

Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 12.20.26 PMI hope you will take some time to vote to save your favorite neighborhood Drive-In theater ..  VOTE HERE TODAY – Decisions will be made at the end of August.

Your Comments …. could you please share a Drive-in Movie Theater memory here?  Or, write your own post about it … spread the word, let’s save some Drive-in theaters.


Then stop by and check out my “Funny Old Bird” pictures at Bear in Sight.

~ by bearyweather on August 20, 2013.

10 Responses to “Touch of Nostalgia (Part 2) . . .”

  1. I remember seeing Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando at the drive-in theater. I was only 5 years old, so it’s one of my earliest memories. Our car was a Rambler station wagon. Like your family, we filled the back with pillows and blankets. I vaguely remember wearing our pajamas. Hadn’t thought about that memory in a long time. Thanks.

    • Oh yeah … I forgot about the pajamas! Wearing pajamas in the car only happened on movie night. I think it was my parent’s way of getting us home (after the 2nd or 3rd feature) and into bed without waking up. 😉
      Thanks for reminding me Judy.

  2. Oh my, it’s been a long, long time! I see that there are only 2 left in Montana. It’s a shame, but I wonder if that would even be safe today?! I remember sitting in the bed of a pickup with pillows up against the cab was a great way to watch!

    • I can see a drive-in theater being safer in the more rural areas (like most things are) … but, if you look at the map for the Honda contest, there seem to be a lot more theaters remaining in the east. I have no idea how safe they are… I think that they would have to be safe to stay open and attract customers. Times sure are different . . .

      Lawn furniture (like a reclining lounger) works well in the back of a pick-up, too. A cooler .. I wonder if they ever let people BBQ during the movie 🙂
      probably not.

      • I just remembered that in 1967 Arizona law was changed reject daylight saving time and to retain only standard time, and that a big factor in that happening was the huge drive-in movie industry down there then.

  3. You brought back some good memories of those old-fashioned drive-in theaters, bearyweather. I am not sure I can pull out a single memory. I do remember *necking* with my first real boyfriend at one of these places though! Shhh, don’t tell anyone…

    • Kathy, my lips are sealed. Are there any theaters left near you?

      • No. The last one disappeared back in the 70’s. There’s still an old falling-down sign up near Chassell. We drive by it to go to Houghton (the place where we go weekly to get organic veggies and eat out and sometimes go to Walmart, even though I’m not a Walmart fan.)

  4. I love drive-in theaters. We had one near us in Ohio, but I have not seen one here on the Eastern Shore.

  5. Hi Bearyweather, Cool Impala. My Aunt had one of that same model and year but in blue. I fondly recall going to a drive-in theater in Burbank, Califoria when I was little. We lived about 20 miles away in L.A. but that theater was the closest one. I also remember drive-in restaurants. About the only ones left are the “Sonic” fast food places it seems. I am sure there are a few individually owned drive-in restaurants. Drive-in theaters are becoming rare but we do have one here where I now live in FL. Did not win so far in the competition as far as I know. Have a great day!

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