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Went to the Drive-In... 
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Post Went to the Drive-In...
The father-in-law was kind enough to watch our kids on Saturday eve and (even) offer to get up with them on Sunday morning. The wife and I took him up on this and had a (long overdue) "date night". (Thanks Wayne!!) Our date night took us to the local Drive-In theater. It has been a number of years since I've been to our local drive-in, so I'd forgotten the magic...

Many of you wax nostalgic about drive-ins, but for me it has been a reality, a living remnant of the past, for my entire life. Our theater, the Gemini Drive-in (Lat 44d-50'-51", Long 91d36'12") shows first-run movies, i.e. no late-runs here. Saturday's showing was a Hasbro double feature of "G.I. Joe" and "Transformers". I don't care to review either of them, other than to say that I enjoyed "Joe", but "Transformers" didn't start until VERY late and by the time we arrived at the final battle, I was nearly in the land of nod. I've not seen a wee hour in the morning for about two and a half years when our youngest was needing feedings at those times. I nodded then too.

Many of you don't have a drive-in near you, so the whole experience may be foreign. It goes like this: You pay at a ticket booth outside the grounds and drive in to a large ball-field shaped area. The screen is home plate and everybody aims their business this way. At our theater, there are berms next to the speaker posts that allow the vehicle to be parked on an incline to better face the screen. Yes, ours still has speaker posts. Yes, they have speakers on them. Yes, they work, as do their volume controls. These boxes clip to the inside of a car's window and transmit the audio from the movie into the car. The design of the boxes allows them to be rolled up in the window during inclement weather and still function. Most theaters have transmitters which allow them to transmit a radio signal on an AM or FM frequency or both. My local has all the above. The front 4 rows have the speaker posts and there is a pair of radio channels also providing audio. We opted for the FM station as the audio quality was fantastic. The stereo separation was wonderful as well.

I've not been a fan of minivans, but our vehicle redeemed itself on Saturday eve. Parked backwards with the lift gate up, the lawnchairs set behind directly under the gate speakers, and the interior lights disabled... none of those could've been provided by any other vehicle I've owned. Then a thunderstorm moved in and the minivan got better. The wife and I were able to set our chairs in the back of the van, side-by-side, and watch "G.I. Joe" battles acommpanied by lightning and thunder. (Subsequent viewings of this movie will NEVER be the same) There was a small amount of rain, but it mattered not to us, as we were warm, dry and enjoying our snacks.

Snacks. We will never again sneak snacks. (Well, maybe a few.) The wife and I are now choosing to support the concessions at this wonderful theater. They sell FOOD, not just snacks. Hotdogs, pizza, mini-donuts...and their prices would shame a carnival vendor. The wife and I had gotten food at our local WalMart deli and discovered that we'd spent too much(!) on heatlamped chicken tenders that weren't.

Public service announcements at a drive-in are much different. "Start your engine at intermission to make sure your battery isn't dead. If you do need a jump, come to the concession stand and we'll give you a jump start." No mention of not smoking (nobody near us was) or cell phone useage (you'd never know anyway) during the movie, at least not that I recall, as I was playing on the swings at the time...

It occured to me that the concession stand workers (although working some darned late hours) could watch the entire movie from their stand. Regular theaters have no concessions with a view of the screens, so workers must come in on their day off to catch the show.

Our theater offers camping nights, kids nights, and several other "novelty" showings during the summer. I can't wait to catch one of those.

I'd like to extend an open invitation to anyone here to seek out your nearest drive-in theater. The movies are better there.
For a list of what is near you:

http://www.driveinmovie.com/mainmenu.htm


Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:18 am
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
Thanks for that, Awf, it was a really interesting read. I hope drive-ins stick around too, but I fear they won't. I have some great childhood drive-in experiences, especially from the massive playground at the one I used to visit the most. I haven't gone in a long time though because the only existing one is pretty run down. They definitely won't recharge your car battery for you.


Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:48 pm
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
I offer my thanks for your post too, Awf. That really brings me back as I was a small child when my family would go to drive-in's on anything resembling a regular basis. Just about all the existing drive-in's in my city would have the weekend "Dusk 'Til Dawn" movie nights when they'd just keep running films until the sun came up the following morning. It was at a drive-in that I saw films like The Empire Strikes Back and Superman 2 for the first time along with lesser-known films like Battle Beyond The Stars. It'd be nice if they brought them back, but I think it might only be feasible if audio technology could get to the point where those car speakers could deliver sound quality equal to that in an average theater.


Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:49 pm
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
Awf Hand wrote:
They sell FOOD, not just snacks. Hotdogs, pizza, mini-donuts...and their prices would shame a carnival vendor.



Has American health descended SO far that hotdogs and pizza are considered innocent foods? I enjoyed your post, but this statement struck me with is casualness. What good is Health Care when our engines need elevated generations of garbage to sustain?


Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:00 pm
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
Evenflow8112 wrote:
Awf Hand wrote:
They sell FOOD, not just snacks. Hotdogs, pizza, mini-donuts...and their prices would shame a carnival vendor.



Has American health descended SO far that hotdogs and pizza are considered innocent foods? I enjoyed your post, but this statement struck me with is casualness. What good is Health Care when our engines need elevated generations of garbage to sustain?



I'm glad someone picked up on that. I'm a casual guy... BUT, maybe someone at a movie would enjoy a slice of 'za more than a guano bowl of couscous.

While I'd headed to the theater's concession stand initially in hopes of a spinach salad with some blasamic vinaigrette or perhaps an egg-white vegetarian omelete, I found that they were out of red onions, so why bother!?

I went with a candy bar instead. It had the added benefit of being yummy.


Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:42 am
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
Awf Hand wrote:
While I'd headed to the theater's concession stand initially in hopes of a spinach salad with some blasamic vinaigrette or perhaps an egg-white vegetarian omelete


:lol: That may be a good business plan. I'm sure some people would be interested.


Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:25 pm
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
"Blasamic" should be spelled "blasemic".

I don't know how to get the little dealey over the 'e'.


Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:34 pm
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
Awf Hand wrote:
"Blasamic" should be spelled "blasemic".

I don't know how to get the little dealey over the 'e'.


Is it not balsamic vinegar?


Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:53 am
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
I like pizza when I watch movies. Pardon me for being fat.

This whole post has invigorated an interest in myself to go to my local drive-in. The thought occurred to me every now and again when I had a girlfriend, but for the most part, I couldn't drive. Now that I can and I've found someone [of the female gender] interested in going with me, it's a realistic possibility. Thank you, Awf Hand, for reminding me of a dying breed.

It's too bad I have to go to one in East San Jose. That place is kind of ghetto. I might be able to get away with going on a Tuesday; it's cheaper and less full of gangstas.

Why would your car battery die? Despite driving for a year, I'm still kind of new to the idea of taking care of a vehicle. Sorry if I'm ignorant.


Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:10 pm
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
Pedro wrote:
Why would your car battery die? Despite driving for a year, I'm still kind of new to the idea of taking care of a vehicle. Sorry if I'm ignorant.


If I remember this right, your battery recharges when you drive. If you leave your car on without driving, it dies.

Anyone want to elaborate or correct me?


Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:18 pm
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
Patrick wrote:
Pedro wrote:
Why would your car battery die? Despite driving for a year, I'm still kind of new to the idea of taking care of a vehicle. Sorry if I'm ignorant.


If I remember this right, your battery recharges when you drive. If you leave your car on without driving, it dies.

Anyone want to elaborate or correct me?

I'm no mechanic, but I think it's due to the *alternator* that converts the energy from the engine into electrial energy for the car's electronic systems (like computer) and the battery. I think the engine needs to be working for this to happen, so keeping the car idling while you've got the audio system turned on and at full volume isn't a great idea.


Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:02 pm
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
Pedro wrote:
IWhy would your car battery die? Despite driving for a year, I'm still kind of new to the idea of taking care of a vehicle. Sorry if I'm ignorant.


Your car battery should be a lead-acid battery, which charges when you drive. If you don't drive but still use electricity in the car for a longer period, for lights or a radio, for instance, you might empty it. If you don't use your car for a longer time, the battery will slowly discharge over time as well, but not in the course of a movie (unless it is very low in the first place). Also, over time lead sulfate builds up on the lead plates, which can render the battery useless.


Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:55 am
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
Unke, I was attempting humor by use of the word "blase`", within the context of a salad dressing. (I can't get the syntax directly over the 'e'.) The word would be pronounced blah-zay. Definition = Apathetic to pleasure or excitement as a result of excessive indulgence or enjoyment.
I'm unsure if the humor remains intact upon a full explanation, or if it has been thoroughly flushed out.

As to the "dead" battery. The car's battery will discharge to a point that it can not start the engine if it experiences a long enough period of excessive drain. If you forget to turn off your headlights when you park outside the store, your battery may be 'dead' when you get back. It is just a euphamism, as the battery was never truly alive. "Dead" simply indicates a condition of inadequate charge for useage.

At a drive-in, people are using the audio system in their car, and frequently the interior lights. Over the course of a 'double feature' with intermission, this drain can be (usually isn't) enough that the battery no longer contains enough power to start the engine, i.e. dead. By starting the car before the battery is dead, the alternator (charging system, powered by the engine) can have a period of time to refill the battery. It doesn't take much, as the alternator can refill the battery quite fast. Usually 5-10 minutes of run time will do it.

I'm here for almost all your automotive-related questions.


Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:12 am
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
Awf Hand wrote:
Unke, I was attempting humor by use of the word "blase`", within the context of a salad dressing. (I can't get the syntax directly over the 'e'.) The word would be pronounced blah-zay. Definition = Apathetic to pleasure or excitement as a result of excessive indulgence or enjoyment.
I'm unsure if the humor remains intact upon a full explanation, or if it has been thoroughly flushed out.


Oops, sorry for spoiling a good joke indeed. I didn't know "blasé" was used in English as well and just didn't get it.


Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:48 am
Post Re: Went to the Drive-In...
Going to the drive-in tonight.

We'll see G-Force. I don't have high hopes for the movie, but my son is really looking forward to it. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised, and if not, I'll still be able to kick back with snacks and root beer...

A pleasant weekend to all.


Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:57 pm
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