… outdoor drive-in movie theatres?
Thanks to Sheila Stewart for suggesting this. It sure brought back memories for me.
Where I grew up, there was an indoor movie theatre in town. You could tell just from the design of the building. When I was there though, it had closed and was the home of the local newspaper. In our “If you grew up in Clinton” Facebook group, there allegedly was another indoor theatre in town but that was way, way before my time.
For our family, it was a regular visit to Brownie’s Movie Theatre.
Sadly though …
But I do remember this!
Thanks, Cinema Treasures, CC
A complete list of images including the pay booth that I do recall is available at this page.
When we’d go to movies, it was either on a Friday or Saturday night. Typically, there would be a double bill – a Disney movie first and then an adult movie following. My brother and I would be allowed to watch the first movie but then had to lie down and sleep through the second. In theory, anyway. I remember peeking a bit; my mother loved Agatha Christie stories turned into movies and I think that’s where I got a love for “Murder on the Orient Express”.
And between movies, who could forget advertising like this!
Parking was always a big task. We wanted to be near the refreshment building/washrooms – not too far back and not too close, you didn’t want to be on an angle to the big screen, and then there was the back and forth to make sure that we had the perfect viewing angle.
I also remember Dad having to go into the washroom before the first show to get wet paper towels and clean off the bugs from the front windshield before the show started. And, also the great mono speaker thingy that hung in the window for audio. I always got a kick from the informative movie clip that reminded you there was no penalty for turning it in should you pull away before hanging it back up and rip the cord from the stand. Our theatre was family friendly and there was a playground down front where we could go and play before the cartoon shown before the first attraction.
A friend that I had in high school got a job as a projectionist. It was so impressive to see how movies were played with the big reels and all the skill that it took to put it all together.
There used to be theatres like this everywhere. If there was nothing playing in Clinton we liked, we could drive to the one in Goderich or if it was something that we really wanted to see, to Grand Bend. I don’t know that I ever realized that movies could be seen indoors until I went on a high school field trip once to London! With the move to Essex County, there was an outdoor theatre in Windsor but we never went. I understand they didn’t use the speakers you hang on the window but rather broadcast through your car’s FM radio. Hey, stereo movies! What a concept.
Sadly, Brownie’s is no longer there as are most outdoor theatres throughout the province. Periodically, around here, you’ll see a community group show an outdoor movie projected on the side of the building or you can rent big blowup screens.
Outdoor theatres are not gone completely – here’s a list from a website devoted to Drive-in Movies Theatres of ones they document as still functioning in the province. I know that I have readers from throughout the province…are they still active?
For a Sunday, how about sharing some thoughts.
- Have you ever gone to an outdoor drive-in movie theatre? Do you have any remembrances of the experience?
- Do you enjoy the current experience in indoor movie theatres – the surround sound, vibrating chairs, the lounges, …?
- Do people talking in theatres drive you as crazy as they do me?
- Can you remember the advertising from outdoor movie theatres when it was about upcoming shows and not the same commercials that you see on television?
- Could there be anything, anywhere as tasty as movie theatre popcorn? Of course it’s good for you – get past the salt, the butter, the flavouring and you’ll find fibre.
- Did you ever sneak into an outdoor drive-in movie theatre by going around the fence or in the trunk of a car?
Please share some of your thoughts via reply below. I’d love to read about your memories.
This post is part of a regular Sunday series and you can read any of them here. If you have a topic that would bring back memories, please let me know in a Padlet that I’ve designed just for this purpose. Thanks, Sheila, for today’s inspiration.