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The Great American Drive-In

 The American Drive-In Movie Theater by Don and Susan Sanders    Posted July 14, 2016

Drive-Ins? Huh? Some of you may be wondering why I’m reviewing a book on drive-ins – well here’s the low-down.  If you’re over 50, then you probably remember when drive-ins were quite “fashionable” – the special hip place to go for “family entertainment.”  And in thinking back, you probably have some fond memories of the excitement of a drive-in movie theater outing.  I know as a family, we sure did.  I remember watching Elvis movies (mom’s favorite), action movies (dad’s favorite), and later in the 70’s – going to the Hillside Drive-In in Maryland with a date almost every Saturday night to see some of the most offbeat, cheesy, sometimes scary movies to ever hit the screen. I’m talking about flicks like Superfly, House of Dark Shadows, Roger Corman monster movies, bikini movies and a bevy of kung fu kick-ass movies (loved those throwing stars — they fit so well in my purse!).  And for any full-blooded American male, this was your chance to take your date on an “all-nighter” and blow your paycheck at the concession stand.

This is a nice size coffee table book.  At 10 ½ x 10 ¼”, it’s not too large and not too small.  It’s loaded down with both color and black and white photos of “back in the day” drive-in theaters all across the country.  Just flipping through the photos is fun, but the wealth of fun facts and a look at how the American automobile and newborn motion picture industry paved the way to this new form of entertainment is both light-hearted and interesting.

The first theaters go back to the 1930’s – with the drive-in heyday really rockin’ out in the 50’s.  Even Elvis dug going to the drive-ins.  It was hard getting out in public without being recognized and mobbed, but he found that there were 6 drive-ins in Memphis and could hang out with his friends, completely unnoticed in the privacy of their car.

And here’s a “shout-out” to anyone in Pennsylvania, my original home state:  Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theater in Orefield, PA is the world’s OLDEST OPERATING DRIVE-IN!   Yup I checked it out, tonight’s double bill is “The Secret Life of Pets” and “BFG.”

So take another stroll down another memory lane — it’s a perfect coffee table book to leave around for everyone to enjoy!   First published in 1997, this book is still easy to find online.