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Save the Drive In!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. John B
    Joined: Mar 9, 2001
    Posts: 1,360

    John B

    Our local (45 miles away) ozoner upgraded this spring before they opened. It's not a cheap change over. I did the electrical connections. The projector runs off three phase.

    Running a drive-in these days is a labor of love. Not alot of profit and the digital conversion is setting some owners back five to ten years in their retirement plans.
  2. dechrome
    Joined: Dec 23, 2004
    Posts: 303


    I was told that the reason Indiana resisted changing to Daylight Saving time was due to the drive-in lobby that wanted to start the movies at dark a clock hour earlier on standard time.
    Now that there are few drive-in movies, the change was made several years ago.

  3. gtowagon
    Joined: Mar 23, 2011
    Posts: 406


    In early summer here it's a late nite with the first feature starting after 9 pm 2 long movies and your not leaving until 2am
  4. rodl
    Joined: Jan 14, 2011
    Posts: 255


    My club Kustoms of Australia Gold Coast, run 2 drive 'n' jive nights at a local drive in & they've just installed a 3rd screen. Raffles, prizes for car categories and best dressed guy & gal (50's/60's) RaB band, vendors. Only 2 things we can't organise - the weather & the movie(have to take what's on!)
    Check out our‎

  5. Jalopyrama Mike
    Joined: Dec 21, 2006
    Posts: 334

    Jalopyrama Mike

    There were originally 45 Drive-In Theaters in Maryland, now there is only 1; The Bengies Drive-In in Middle River, Maryland.

    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tbody><tr><td valign="top">Address: </td> <td valign="top"> Bengies Drive-In
    3417 Eastern Blvd.
    Middle River, MD 21220
    </td></tr> </tbody></table>
    Phone: (410) 687-5627 (showtimes)
    Official Website:
    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td width="50%">Screens: 1</td> <td width="50%">Sound: FM(106.9), AM(830)</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="50%">Car Capacity: 750</td> <td width="50%">Typical season: April - October</td> </tr> </tbody></table> Technical details: intermission trailers, in-car heaters, playground, food permit. 120' x 52' screen
    Bengies Drive-In Timeline:
    1956 - opened

    I used to go to the Governor Ritchie Drive In located in Glen Burnie, Maryland. That's where I first went to see American Graffiti for free in my first hot rod (a 1934 Chevy 3 wdw coupe)with the Vintage Tin of Maryland Street Rod Club in 1972, which I started in 1971.
    Just do a search by typing in your State and Drive-In Theaters and see how many were in your state and how many are left.
    What a great time we used to have at the Drive-Inns ;)

    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td width="50%">
    </td><td width="50%">
    </td></tr><tr><td width="50%">
    </td><td width="50%">
  6. Clevername
    Joined: Feb 18, 2011
    Posts: 316


    First off; props to Honda.

    My second thought is..why not go to a drive in. Here in Austin, it is like $50 buck for a family of 4 to go to a movie. We now have like four or five Alamo Draft Houses here. They were the first places in town to serve adult beverages and food during a movie, and they are expanding. I will go to Alamo, before I go anywhere else, and if I bring all four of us, I will probably lay down close to $70. I just spent $120 bowling + dinner tonight-too expensive in my opinion.

    What I am trying to say is, I would be okay with dropping $40 to $50 on a drive in, if I could bring a few cold beverages and there was a playground for the kids. It seems like there is a market for it, it just needs a little... in the words of the Blues Brothers..."proper exploitation".

  7. Here in Port Townsend Wa. is the Wheel-in, operating since 53' going digital soon if it hasn't already , I believe its on the list , 1 of only 5 left in state , we used to frequent the old Duamish drive in back before it was dozed almost 20 years ago , support em or lose em guys and gals
  8. I used to know a family that ran the I 70 drive in during the 90's in kansas city. It was a blast watching movies from the projection room, making my own nachos, and just the whole relaxed nature of it all. At intermission I helped put put the hot dogs, etc. good nights. Digital is great, but it was really neat hearing the sound of the projector.
  9. slantracer
    Joined: Jun 21, 2006
    Posts: 16


    Great photo of the 66 Drive-In. Dickenson Theatres had closed the drive-in the fall of 1985 and we bought it in 1986. We turned into a MoPar salvage yard and then turned it back into a theatre in 1997. I almost sold the steel framework for scrap when it was worth $62.00 a ton. Good thing I didn't because now I work the drive-in six months and goof off with cars in the off season.

    We converted to digital March of 2012. I was kicking and screaming the whole way but film will be gone soon. Giant savings for the film companies, but I save three hours a week not putting film together and breaking it down. Our screen is 96' wide so we had to buy the biggest projector made.

    Film companies paid up to 92% of conversion costs for walk in theatres built before 2009, but no help for drive-ins, which really stinks.
  10. Engine-Ear
    Joined: Jun 12, 2008
    Posts: 706

    Alliance Vendor

    Wow, thanks for chiming in! (can't remember your name) ... by way of potential recollection, my buddy Dan and I visited you in '96 when it was a salvage (he (who is from Dallas) bought a bunch of '66 Satellite / GTX parts from you...then in '98 we went back when it was a movie theater...he drove up from Dallas and I drove down from Milwaukee in my gold '62 Bonneville coupe. Stayed at the Boots Motel and had a great weekend!

    viva la Drive-In.
  11. Engine-Ear
    Joined: Jun 12, 2008
    Posts: 706

    Alliance Vendor

    And for what it's worth, you Cheeseheads...'s local and worth your support!
  12. As someone that grew up in the golden age of drive-ins, I was able to go to a drive-in every week-end with a date. I was fortunate enough to have been able to take my kids to the drive-in, however my grand-children most likely will not get to share in this experience.
    This project is a noble undertaking and I wish everyone involved much success, however, what this blog does not address is the simple fact that even with this bail-out the cost of operating a single screen, first run theater is just too high. When you consider that the movie companies are taking anywhere from 65 to 85 percent of the ticket sales and the customers are smuggling in there own refreshments, where is the operating capital going to come from? The entry say's that Honda is going to donate 5 projectors to the top 5 vote getters, are they also donating the computer system required to operate those projectors? How about the new sound system? How about the trained personnel needed to operate and maintain this equipment? Not to mention the screen if they are going to be showing 3D movies.
    We operate a 4 screen theater and if we relied on what was left of the money from ticket sales, after the movie companies get their money, we would have been forced to shut our doors years ago. We are able to police our "no outside food or drink" policy but how are the drive-ins going to do this? Without the money gained by concession sales, it simply isn't going to work. We show anywhere from 2 to 4 movies per screen per day, depending on what day of the week it is and what time of year it is, the drive-in isn't going to have the ability to do the same.
    We built our theater in 1997 and at that time we projected to have it debt free in 15 years, now, with the coming of digital we were forced to put it back in debt for another 10 years. We are able to meet our expenses, put a little money back for repairs and pay Sue a salary. This is being done with 4 screens, I don't see the cash flow coming from a single theater, drive-in or walk-in.
    As I stated in the beginning, I wish them luck and I hope that they can prove me wrong.
  13. BillSchmid
    Joined: Jul 21, 2012
    Posts: 98

    from Ohio

    Still have Starlite going here in ohio. They converted over the winter and this is their first season with the new projector. They still bring a big crowd (big enough that the kid trying to squeeze though backed into my nova :mad:) and seem to be doing fine, though the prices are higher now.

    Just remember, don't sneak in a bunch of food (or people!!) in the trunk. These theaters need all the support they can get.
  14. Wildbill29tudor
    Joined: Apr 16, 2013
    Posts: 460


    My best friend's sister's husband bought one about 15 minutes from me in Keysville, VA. It was completely over grown with pine trees. After about two weeks, a lot of sweat, and a gm ten bolt rear getting ripped out, my buddy and I managed to get it all cleaned up. His brother in law had the screen redone. He has been showing movies there for a few years now. They have another one some where in NC. From what I have been told he is planning on closing this location down and moving to NC. It kind of sucks...

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  15. spiderdeville
    Joined: Jun 30, 2007
    Posts: 1,134

    from BOGOTA,NJ

    Had My First Yoo Hoo at the Canaan ,Ct Drive in ...Kelly's Heroes
    Yoo Hoo Isn't As Good , nor are The Movies
  16. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 12,680

    from KCMO

    having just moved to Kansas city I was super excited at the fact of more then one drive in theater! A few friends go every week and as soon as the fords 'on its feet' i hope to make it to a show or two as well :)

    With that theater so close to Mokan I'm a little surprised that there hasn't been a pre drags movie night. Theres already alot going on drags weekend but maybe some of the guys that show up a day or so early could round the wagons and head to the drive in?

    hmm, might have to try to get a little cruise to the drive in together localy myself :)
  17. dad-bud
    Joined: Aug 22, 2009
    Posts: 3,884


    I grew up in Melbourne - musta been around 20 - 30 D.I.'s around. The good old passion-pits - hmmm, them was the days.
    Moved to Perth around 20 years ago - watched in sadness as the drive-ins closed down - attended Bentley on their last night in the mid-90's.
    Now, our home is in northern suburbs, not far from Galaxy in Kingsley. It's about the only drive-in in the Perth 'burbs now (a few down south of the city that still run in summer)
    We take our 64 Galaxie 'vert to the Galaxy when the weather's good (and we're not here living in London at the moment)
    Here's a link.
    I hope this one keeps going for many years to come.
    Good thread - thanks for jogging the memory.
  18. ccj2
    Joined: Mar 1, 2014
    Posts: 5

    from Vale, Or

    Drive-in is still alive and well in Parma, Idaho!!

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