Drive-in down memory lane
Book a thorough examination of drive-in movie culture
Special to the Whig
Twenty years ago, I remember going to Bengies Drive-In Theatre in Baltimore.
It was 1996 and their 40th summer in operation. I remember arguing with my parents about how I would pay them back for an overpriced root beer float and super pretzel. I remember watching “Twister,” “Space Jam,” “The Nutty Professor” and “Jumanji.” And I’m glad that despite the hurried rise and shocking fall of this American- born roadside attraction, some drive- ins have survived.
“Drive- In Theaters: A History From Their Inception in 1933” is a dry but thorough examination of an often overlooked time in the mid20th century. Author Kerry Segrave recalls the business, politics and economy which made the drive- in movie- going experiment possible in the first place.
With a meticulousness expected from an academic, Segrave illustrates how the suburbs and the automobile of the postwar ‘50s laid the ground work for outdoor theaters we now look back on with fond nostalgia. Who doesn’t at least remember the scene from “Grease”?
The research that went into this book is deep in scope and includes the legal battles with studios and distributors. The text treads lightly on the experience of actually going to the drive- in theater, serving more as a document of the facts and historic records of the time.
This is an authoritative, detailed and accurate account for a film enthusiast or history buff. Included here are food prices, census data, architectural records and financial insights.
Love movies? History? Drive-ins? Author and historian Ed Okonowicz will be holding a program entitled “Remembering Nights at the DriveIn” at the North East Branch next Monday at 6:30pm. Okonowicz will share pictures and stories, examining the rise and decline of the roadside attraction. See you then!
For more information and title availability and reading recommendations, visit www.cecil.ebranch.info or stop by any branch. Matt Lowder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.