June 6 Marks 79th Anniversary of the 1st Drive-In Movie Theater [VIDEO/SURVEY]
Did you know that today June 6 marks the 79th Anniversary of the first drive-in theater? And it’s unfortunate that we no longer have a drive-in movie theater in Texarkana.Those were the days when times were more simpler, we had no iPhones, iPads, iPods or any kind of social networks to keep us entertained. Back then it was getting the family together or gathering up some friends for a night at the movies. It was always fun just to see how many people we could cram into one vehicle to go see a movie. Regardless of what some people say, I did not sneak anyone into the drive-in via the trunk.
Back in the 50s 60s, 70s and early 80s, there was only two drive-in’s that I remember and they were 67 Drive-In next to Arkansas High stadium and Joy Cinema City out in Nash, Texas. Joy Cinema City was the hot spot back then because not only did they have a drive-in, they also had an indoor theater thus the name Joy Cinema City. I remember it being locally owned and operated by a couple who I can’t recall their names but I do remember they always greeted their customers with a smile. Something you definitely don’t get in this day and age. I can also remember a very young John Williams who worked as a ticket keeper at the theater. Who would have thought years later we would be working together on the radio?
Getting back to the drive-in, Saturday night was always packed with cars row after row as far as the eye could see. As for the movies there always seem to be at least one slasher movie showing. Usually, there would be a double feature showing, so you had time to go to the concession stand for hot dogs and popcorn. And the closest thing we had to surround sound was the speakers you hung on your car window. As technology continued to advance over the years drive-in’s eventually allowed you to turn on your radio and tune to a specific frequency to hear the movie thru your car speakers.
Finally, as the mid 80s came around, drive-in theaters started to become a thing of the past all over the country. Today, there are only a handful of them left, but the history of the drive-in theater will continue to be a part of American culture for years to come.
I have put together a few drive-in’s that are within driving distance from Texarkana, it would be a great family outing for kids to experience at least once in their lifetime.
One of my fondest memories is the ad that played in between movies that promoted the concession stand. See the YouTube video.
Finally, check out this Doodle from Google on the 79th Anniversary of the 1st Drive-In Movie Theater.