Sunday Matinee: A Hearty Welcome to Our Drive-In Theatre

Remember when the terms First Run, Second Run and Drive-In were used referring to movie theaters? Some towns had what we called dollar theaters which seemed to catch the very tail end of a movie’s release. Others had revival houses where the theater owner would rent a print of an old film long out of circulation for the appreciation of cinema devotees. This was well before the Home Video Revolution when people would go back to the theater two or three times during its release to see the same film if they liked it and to watch the movie the way it was meant to be seen – uncut, uninterrupted and projected on a big screen.

I found myself sorely missing these types of theaters this weekend. My son has been bugging me to see the new Captain America movie, but for one reason or another, we just couldn’t scrape together the time to see it. Finally this weekend seemed like the weekend to go see it. I figured the theater would be mostly empty, and we would attend a matinee as we usually do. That’s how we saw both Iron Man movies and Thor. No such luck this time. There’s only one theater in town showing the picture and there are only 2 shows a night! 7:45 and 10:35! It’s a little late for that part of town especially with a kid in tow. The movie opened less than a month ago!

The problem is that there is only one theater in town. There are art houses here and there, but as far as Hollywood movies are concerned, if you don’t see it in the first couple of weeks, wait for video. Besides, it’s cheaper to buy the DVD than it is taking two people to the movies, and your feet won’t stick to the floor unless you’re a slovenly housekeeper.

This makes me miss Drive-In theaters all the more. Movies would circulate, ricochet and bop around the drive-ins for years. I remember films like Astro Zombies being tacked in for the third feature at theaters a good 10 years after its release.

Drink this in, folks. It’s only 5 minutes long. Come as you are. You’re always welcome. You may never have seen these intermission clips, but the style and feel should be very familiar. It’s from a wonderful era when mom-and-pop operators could make a buck showing a picture in a field while selling chili-dogs and pink lemonade.

There still are drive-in theaters, but not around here sadly. We saw Spider-Man 2 at this theater in Eastern Connecticut. Maybe land is cheaper up there. I’m not sure, but it was a wonderful blast from the past.

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