Drive In’s

Here’s a silk purse: I hear drive ins are coming back in the COVID times!  I heard this on the radio and it was validated when my grandchildren actually went to a drive in recently. And Walmart is converting some of their parking lots into drive in movie theaters.

I loved drive ins growing up!  There were a number of them in my hometown, Great Falls, MT.  My favorite was the Twi-Lite drive in.  It opened in 1952. My mom loved movies, so a trip to the drive in was pretty common.  I liked to play on the hillside underneath the screen before the movie started.  We seldom bought treats from the concession stand, too expensive, but I did get to wear my pajamas. I remember going to Rosemary’s Baby there when I was 15 and it scared the crap out of me!

Drive ins were even more special when I was a teenager.  As soon as someone could drive and get their parent’s car, we were off.  For some reason, we never were willing to pay for the whole carload.  One or more of us would hide out somewhere in the car until we cleared the entrance.  Then we would pop up and go from there.  I don’t remember what the admission was, but we weren’t able to fork it over.  Lots of the fun happened if boys were also at the drive in.  I have no recall of any movie I actually watched, but that wasn’t the point!

Clint Eastwood’s movie, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot was filmed in Great Falls the summer of 1973.  It was the summer after my sophomore year in college.  There is a great scene in the movie that was filmed at the Twi-Lite drive in.

I don’t remember when I stopped going to drive ins.  The Twi-Lite was bulldozed in 1994, but I imagine it closed long before then.

I’ve had my drive in fun and probably won’t be going to one anytime soon.  But I am delighted they are coming back and I am cheering my grandkids on!



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