Josh Byers

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Writing about books, culture, ministry, design and my family

The American Drive In

I don’t think I ever went to a drive-in movie growing up. In fact our family didn’t go to movies at all, but the drive-in has always captured my imagination. Just down the road from my childhood home was a massive drive-in theater. As a little kid everything seems bigger, but this place actually was massive. According to Cinema Treasures the North Star Drive-In was one of the largest single-screen drive-ins in the country. It could hold up to 2000 cars!

Everything about this place was interesting to me: the size, the screen, the movies themselves, car speakers, the spectacle, the big marquee sign, the long lines of cars. And I’m sure part of it was a curiosity of the unknown since we never went.

If it was late enough for a movie to be playing I would be so curious I would crane my neck to try and see as much of the movie as possible in the 3-5 seconds we sped by at highway speeds.

So with 80’s nostalgia being all the rage I took my kids to a drive-in last night. Now it may have had more to do with the fact that anyone under 12 was free but we’ll go with the nostalgia thing for now.

As an adult, these experiences rarely live up to the expectations you had as a child, but to see wonder and fascination light up in my kids eyes at the utter weirdness of this place was a lot of fun.

Josh Byers