Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vanishing America: A Sad Farewell to Drive-in Theaters...

This is a wonderful four-part documentary that aired on a Lansing, Michigan public access TV show called "Outdoor Moovies." (The word "Moovies" is their misspelling, not mine...) Some of the production elements are a little bit dicey, but this low-budget 2006 documentary, called "Ohio Drive-in Theater Road Trip," is well worth the time it takes to watch it.

Have a look if you get a chance. I have very fond memories of going to the drive-in theater when I was a kid. When I was a little kid, our drive-in theater of choice was the Van Buren in Riverside, California, which is apparently still going strong. I remember seeing Jaws there with my dad and brother and it scared the s--- out of me.

Unlike the Van Buren, most of the classic American drive-ins are either gone or rapidly deteriorating. In this documentary, you'll see that even the ones still going are aging poorly: falling apart, rusting, relying on crummy old roadside marquees.

But the drive-in was a great American institution. Rather than forgetting about it, treating it as a relic of the past, we should celebrate it. That's why I'm posting these documentaries here, which are a well made and loving homage to these great outdoor arenas of entertainment.

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