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Drive-In Theatre – Analysis And Criticism Essay

In this research paper, the author talks about drive-in theatres. He has dealt on the history, prosperity and the decline of drive-in theatres. The author has given a long account of the history of the drive-in theatres. Though Hollingshead is the inventor of drive-in theatres, he did not enjoy the benefit of his invention for long. This bitterness and the long court battles are well elucidated by the author. The author has rightly pointed out that drive-in theatres prospered during the baby-boom. A lot of facilities were offered by the drive-in theatres to families like laundry, car wash and children area.

The reasons for prosperity of drive in theatres given by the author are very rational and pragmatic. One of the main attractions in a drive-in theatre was the Concession Stand. The concession stand, also called a snack bar, is where the drive-in used to make most of its money. As a result, much of a drive-in’s promotion was oriented toward the concession stand. The typical snack bar offered any food that can be served quickly, such as hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers, popcorn, soft drinks, candy and French fries.

To send patrons to the concessions stands, trailer advertisements called snipes were projected before the feature and during any intermissions. Now a great source of nostalgia, these memorable concession commercials often featured animated food such as dancing chili dogs and talking boxes of popcorn. These ads were collected in 1993 for a video, Hey Folks, It’s Intermission Time, once distributed by Something Weird, and the 1978 film Grease has a scene in a drive-in showing such an ad during the song “Sandy”.

The author has said that the increase in the number of teenagers going on a romantic date or in large rowdy groups made it more unappealing to families may not be entirely true. If this had been the case, then there would be no outdoor activity at all. Romance and groups throng public parks and other places of interest to the general public. The author has also pointed out that the movies that are made nowadays are not for children. But the same movies are available as DVDs which are rented by people to be watched in the comfort of their homes.

Though the author loves the drive-in experience, this business may not be profitable in the long-run. This is due to a lot of reasons like the long working hours of people, soaring cost of large property areas and advent of VCDs and DVDs. Also, the widespread adoption of daylight saving time subtracted an hour from outdoor viewing time. Also the drive-in theatres lost their popularity because of the improvements made in sound technology that gave the audience a better feel of the movie inside closed rooms. However, some groups are lobbying to bring back the drive-in theatres.

In 2002, groups of dedicated individuals began to organize so-called “guerilla drive-ins” and “guerilla walk-ins” in parking lots and empty fields. Showings are often organized online, and participants meet at specified locations to watch films projected on bridge pillars or warehouses. The best known guerilla drive-ins include the Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In in Santa Cruz, California, MobMov in Berkeley, California and Hollywood MobMov in Los Angeles, California, and most recently Guerilla Drive-In Victoria in Victoria, BC.

The Bell Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis, Minnesota has recently begun summer “bike-ins,” inviting only pedestrians or people on bicycles onto the grounds for both live music and movies. In various Canadian cities, including Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax, al-fresco movies projected on the walls of buildings or temporarily erected screens in parks operate during the summer and cater to a pedestrian audience. Released on video, After Sunset: The Life & Times of the Drive-In Theater is a 1995 documentary featuring producer Samuel Z.

Arkoff, director John Carpenter and critic Joe Bob Briggs. “Shining Stars: Canada’s Drive-In Movie Theatres” (2004) by Sean C. Karow is the definitive documentary on Canadian drive-ins. Drive-in theaters have also been featured as movie locations, notably Peter Bogdanovich’s Targets (1968) about a veteran horror film actor (Boris Karloff) making a personal appearance at a drive-in theater while a freeway sniper (Tim O’Kelly), hiding behind the movie screen, prepares to shoot the theater’s customers.

“Moments to Remember,” a series of paintings by Beaumont, Texas, artist Randy Welborn, includes two paintings of Beaumont drive-ins in the mid-1950s. “Goin’ Steady” depicts the Circle Drive-In which opened in 1948, and “A Summer Remembered” shows the South Park Drive-In which opened in 1950. In Welborn’s audio slide shows, he explains the photographic research and painting techniques he uses to recapture the past. To conclude, it can be said that family drive-ins are making a comeback in some states.


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