Flicks, fries and Fido. What do these three things have in common? You can find them all at the drive-in movie theater!
Although the numbers of drive-in movie theaters in existence across the United States has dwindled with the advancement of technology, the demand for “watching a movie from the car” is popular, economical and dog welcoming!
When first developing the idea of a drive-in movie, or “drive-in,” as affectionately called by frequent patrons, Richard Milton Hollingshead, Jr. could not have imagined the iconic thumbprint he would embed on American pop culture. By 1957, 3700 drive-ins existed across the United States. Affordability coupled with concessions at the ‘snack bar,’ such as hot dogs, sno-cones, candy and soda set the mood for a fun night out with family, friends, and of course, dogs!
Don and Susan Sanders, authors of the book The American Drive-In Movie Theater, report that about 400 drive-ins are still operational today. “Dogs help us to meet people. People take their dogs to the drive-in and socialize with others who have a pet.”
Cindy Deppe of Becky’s Drive-In of Berlinsville, Pennsylvania knows this first hand. Her parents, William and Alice Beck, started the drive-in in 1946. “More and more patrons are bringing their dogs with them. When the entire family is there and the weather is nice, you just can’t beat it. Bring your blankets and chairs, and sit outside. Fido can relax next to their owners instead of staying home alone,” she said and continued, “Hopefully, patrons will always want to attend the drive-in to relax and take in a double feature with the entire family.”
A sense of family togetherness, whether that family is shared by the two- or four-legged variety, is a tradition passed down through the years. Drive-in theater owners are accustomed to change, from the distant memory of the speaker pole to the dancing hot dogs during “intermission.” One thing that doesn’t change is the sense of together under the stars.
Take a stroll down memory lane and/or create some new memories, all from the comfort of your car. Price wise, this is truly Bowser on a budget. Folks need not worry about a cell phone going off, someone’s head in the way, nor stepping on a sticky mess in a movie theater. Head outdoors and see the stars on the big screen as you cuddle up next to your dog under the night sky.
Dexter and I frequent the drive-in movies a few times a year, and we've made friends with several folks who return year after year. It's a great way to socialize your dog and have a good time as well. Bring the bug spray and blanket!
Do you have a drive in in your area? Wondering where the closest drive-in is in your area? Log on to driveintheater.com to find out.