Remembering those hot summer nights at the drive-in

Saturday nights at the movies.

I remember those hot summer nights at the drive-in. The car window would be down trying to catch a whisper of a breeze.

The drive-in theatre was a wonderful place. It’s where the ‘Ahhs!’, ‘Oohs!’, and screams of fright were shared in a parking lot full of cars. There was an order of cars entering and lining up in sequence, only moving when one found the radio was broken. Ute owners turned their vehicles around, opened the doors, and laid in the back to view the film.

It was the year 1964, the beginning of Beatlemania, Elvis Presley and the drive-in movie theatre.

I was 13 years old, my first drive-in movie was Bridge on the River Kwai. My stepdad drove us there, so I guess it was his choice.

I was a spellbound teenager who seemed more interested in who was canoodling in the cars around us, rather than the movie on the big screen.

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Then came intermission! Oh, there were some serious decisions to be made — hot popcorn, chips, Dagwood dogs,and creamy thick milkshakes (yes, real milk).

My memories of the time spent at the drive-in are of family or lovers events. There was no car hooning, no butting of heads; everyone was really civil towards eachother. Perhaps it is just me, but I seem to remember not ever rushing to enjoy Saturday night as it all just fell perfectly into place.

There was no alcohol, no mobile phones or tablets, just family, friends or lovers. And there was no one policing people’s honest. Even when I attended the drive-in years later with a boyfriend, our boot was never checked.

In 1973, a Tariff Board Report highlighted that the top evening adult cinema admission price was at the time around $2, rising to $2.50 for special attractions. The average adult admission price at the drive-in was $1.30, while the average admission price across all cinemas attendances was $1.40.

In the mid-’60s, attendance at the theatre was on the rise and Australia was regarded as one of the leading cinema-going nations in the world, on a ‘per capita’ basis.

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What was the first movie you saw at the drive-in? What memories do you have of those days?

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