Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Return of Movie Drive-Ins


Are drive-ins making a comeback? April Wright writes, via Zocalo on KCRW:

Across the country, people are remembering how fun it was to go to the drive-in and realizing what we’ve lost. Since the year 2000, at least 30 old drive-ins have re-opened in the U.S., and at least 35 new ones have been built. There were five more new drive-ins opened up in 2014.

Sometimes these drive-ins are built on new land, on the outskirts of a town just like the original drive-ins. But in many cases, drive-in owners are looking for what they call a “footprint”—a plot of land that used to be a drive-in and still has the zoning and layout of a drive-in. Maybe it still has the grading and the ramps. Maybe it still has a ticket booth, or a snack bar standing, or in some cases even a screen.

I know the people of Los Angeles have been hungry for the outdoor movie experience. The Cinespia screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery are always packed. The Electric Dusk Drive-in—a blow-up screen on a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles—is also thriving. The handful of drive-ins that stayed open in Southern California, like the Vineland, are well-attended. A little further east, you’ll find other survivors—the amazing Mission Tiki Drive-In in Montclair and two in Riverside: the Van Buren and the Rubidoux.

The Santa Barbara Drive-In in Goleta reopened in 2012 after being dark for nearly 20 years. And we have many drive-in footprints in Southern California, including the Roadium Drive-In in Torrance, the Santa Fe Springs Drive-In off the 5 Freeway, the Starlite in South El Monte, and the Paramount. All of these operate only as swap meets today, but the Paramount Twin Drive-in will be re-opening as a drive-in later this spring thanks to the son and grandson of the man who originally built it.

(Pic via Greg's Sandbox.)

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