Stranded at the Drive-In...

...branded a fool. What will they say...Monday at school?" (Come on, sing along with me. You know you want to.)

"Saa-andy...can't you see...."

by Joss Ware

This is my first post at Pop Culture Divas (a group that I'm delighted and very honored to join), and when I started thinking what I should write about, the idea of drive-in movies popped in my head. Since I'm an organic writer--meaning I usually have no idea where any of my ideas are going to go--I went with it.

I used to love going to the drive-in with my family when I was younger. And think about what a deal it was--pack as many people into the car (trunk, whatever) and pay a flat fee to get in. What a bargain! Sneak in your own snacks, or buy something at the counter. A hot summer night or a cool, after-rain evening, sitting in the open air eating popcorn and watching a movie.

And for us kids, there was even a playground to play on while we waited for the sun to go down and the movie to start.

What could be better?

I was too young for the social aspects of going to the drive-in: the bopping from car to car to see people, the meeting at the rest rooms or in the back of the lot, the make-out sessions with the windows rolled up--forget the speaker dangling from its cord.

Alas, all of the drive-ins are gone (at least in my area). What a shame to have lost that aspect of our culture.

But I've noticed a new form of movie viewing taking center stage: the outdoor screening.

More and more communities, at least in my area, are putting up a big screen on, say, Saturday nights, or during an art or summer festival, and showing a movie outside on the grass. Usually it's free, and usually it's more of a family movie than a, say, grip-your-date horror flick or a sink-down-in-the-seats and make out chick flick, but at least it's a step in what I'd say is the right direction.

I like it. It's not the same, but it's the 21st century version of the drive-in, and I'm going to go with it. Although I'd love to see a real drive-in make a come-back.

One of my strongest drive-in memories was one day late in the summer, it was hot and oh-so-humid. My brothers and I were playing in the backyard, and suddenly my mom came out and said, "In the house! Now! There's a tornado coming!"

We ran in the house, and I remember being inside and in the basement for a long time (probably not so long in real life, but it was long enough for the nine year old that I must have been).

At last the storm blew over, and it felt like it must have been late at night...but the sun came out and it was still daytime. And shortly after, my mom did something she never did: she said, "Pack up your stuff. We're going to the drive-in tonight."

Wow! A tornado and a drive-in in one day? Yippeee!

I wish I could remember which movie we saw. Probably a Disney movie--it might even have been one of the Witch Mountain movies. But I can't remember. So that part is faulty. But the rest of it is true.

So, tell me, what's your favorite drive-in memory? A scene from a movie or your own experience?
Joss Ware writes a paranormal romance series set in a post-apocalyptic world. The first book will be released in January 2010, and is titled Beyond the Night. The next two books will follow in February and March.

Joss describes the world of her books as "
Lost meets Heroes meets I Am Legend--with a lot of sexy romance." She's thinking she might have to have a drive-in movie scene in her fourth book, which she is currently working on.

More information at her website. Sign up for her newsletter for updates and chances to win advanced copies. Or stick around here. You never know.


  1. Great post, Joss!!! Sure brought back some memories!

    I also loved going to the drive in--but my family never went to see kids movies. My folks would have us run and play and exhaust ourselves, then by the time it started to get dark (around 9pm on summer nights) we'd get to watch the opening cartoons only.

    While the main show was on we were bundled in the way back of the station wagon supposedly asleep.

    Of course my brother and sister fell for it but I didn't--so I first saw Tora, Tora, Tora! and Mrs. Robinson and Three Days of the Condor as *silent* movies, lol!

    Welcome to the Divas!

  2. Eek! You sound so calm talking about tornado alerts, but I'd totally freak out. Either you're brave, and/or I'm a freaking wimp who clearly has never lived in Tornado Alley ;-)

  3. Welcome to the divas, Joss! Great post. I loved the drive-in as a kid, and later as a teenager... sitting under the stars with the boy of the month, watching a great flick (or not!). Two drive-ins still exist in central PA, in Dillsburg and Newville (the cows love it too). I'm glad festivals and civic groups have begun the outdoor screening. Everything has to change but it would be a shame to lose that altogether. I may have to bring my hubby on a date night now. :)

  4. great post! There ARE drive in's in my area and I need to take my boys to one. But i remember them vividly from my childhood, like you I loved going down to the playground. The playground took on another element being that it was usually pretty dark while you were playing which seemed exciting. Your memory made me smile, because it's those spontaneous days that we seem to remember the most. I try to keep that in mind while raising my boys.

  5. My very first movie was at the Gratiot Drive-In in Mt. Clemens. My parents took us to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. We packed up our pillows, snacks and jammies into our nice big Chevy. It was the scariest movie ever. I hid my face in the pillow when the witch was in the forest. Whew! I'll never forget that. The last time I was there was with my then future husband. We saw Star Wars and he tried to put the moves on me. Now that we are married for 22years he STILL tries to put the moves on me. Thanks for bringing back the memories!

  6. Wow, Jeanette M - When I was little I lived in Royal Oak MI and the first drive-in movie I remember is also Snow White! And I was scared stiff of the wicked Queen.

    Joss - 'Wow! A tornado and a drive-in in one day? Yippeee!' - LOL!! Loved your first post. It's funny how people want to share an event like a film together in a theatre or an open-air event, even when home theatres are getting so amazing these days. I'm someone who will always want to see a film with an audience. I like listening to everyone react to everything.

  7. Julia and Jeanette: Wow! My drive-in was a little one in Canton, Michigan!

    How cool!

    Thanks for the welcome from everyone too. I look forward to lots of fun here at PopCultureDivas!

  8. PS We never actually saw the tornado; we were down in the basement and I don't know that there was ever an actual funnel cloud. But the storm was bad enough!

  9. What a fun memory! I have this vague memory of being packed into a station wagon (another familiy's) and going with them to a drive-in... but i was too little to see over the parent's heads, and I think we kids spent the entire movie hanging out at the playground area. Somebody beat someone else up, there was a swing incident, and I distinctly remember wearing KoolAid home that evening. I have no clue about the movie, though!

    They are starting to do the big open air movies here in Baton Rouge in a couple of different places. You've now made me want to go check out what they're showing! ;)

  10. Hi Joss! Welcome to the Divas! Great post! I don't think I ever went to a drive in movie - (shocker!) when I was a kid. My parents were immigrants so there were a lot of North American past time stuff that I didn't part take of when I was a kid. Funny because they loved going to the movies back in the old country (Italy). - just that everything kind of changed when they immigrated to Canada. So that being said I more than made up for it when I was older. And I had one of the best ever outdoor movie experiences one year at the Cannes Film Festival - they were broadcasting an old movie - I think it was an Italian film (yay) on the beach. All I can say is WOW! It was magic. :D

  11. LOL If you come with Colleen when she possibly comes this way next month we can still go to the drive in... Sunday nite is fill a car for $15 plus pop and popcorn are unlimited refills for 25 cents... LOL We just went last weekend and saw Ice Age 3, Harry Potter and the Hangover.,.... great combo... :)


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