Many of us have fond memories of the drive in. I grew up with one practically in my backyard, and while it closed before I was 8 years old, I can still remember seeing the Empire Strikes Back in the back of my family’s Volvo station wagon.
In the Western New York area we have only a handful of these retro treasures left, the closest being the Transit Drive-In in Lockport, NY, a 20 minute drive from Cats Like Us, that just celebrated their 60th anniversary!
This treasure of a theater has been riding a fairly recent retro revival for the drive-ins around the country. Good attendance and a promising future allowed them to rebuild their concessions building and upgrade to digital projection. As evidenced by the Transit Drive-In, the past and the future of movies can still go hand in hand, and I am happy to see that people are coming out. The images are sharp on the screen, and the food at the stand is standard fare including burgers, sodas, fries, pizza, candy, popcorn and all the rest, is actually pretty good.
What the theater owners and drive-in fans know, and what the general public is rediscovering, is that the drive-in is a full event that has an ambiance like no other theater. It's a fun, affordable excursion for the whole family.
It hasn’t been easy for these theaters around the country (other Buffalo area drive-ins closed years ago) but the owners of the Transit Drive-In have held on and are savvy enough to have done some good, common sense marketing. They have an easy to navigate website, with current listings and trailers for future films lined up. They have a Facebook page that they actively post showing their love of movies.
They also have some clever promotions and events, such as an ongoing retro movie series running a pair of great older films every Tuesday Night. With combinations like the Breakfast Club + Ferris Bueller's Day Off , The Goonies + Back to The Future, Rocky Horror Picture Show + Halloween, to BeetleJuice + Young Frankenstein… it's an inspired idea and great chance for us to see those movies on the big screen.
The end of summer is the perfect time to go since the summer temperatures have cooled and the nights are getting dark a little earlier. Why not take a drive and experience some nostalgic drive-in goodness? See you at the drive-in!