Monday, April 12, 2010
Cars, Flicks & Weiners
From David Burke:
America's post-World War II obsessions included automobiles, movies and hot dogs. When these were wrapped together in one package the result was the drive-in movie theater. A wonderful concept that thrived for about three decades and eventually faded away. By the mid 1960's there were about 40 drive-ins operating in Connecticut. Only two, however, still remain in operation. I managed to catch the tail end of this entertainment phenomenon. My friends and I would pack up in a car and head to the Farmington, the Hartford or Plainville drive-ins for an evening of teenage fun and frolic (I have fond memories of the Hartford, East Hartford and Berlin drive-ins -- Ed.).
It was simple economics that spelled the end for most drive-ins. Land values, only one showing a day and a limited season could not hold up against the Jumbo-Plexes that proliferated in the 70's and 80's.
The two photos here show the Torrington Drive-In. It closed around 1981 after a two-decade run. Its marquee, once brightly displaying this week's feature, is close to unrecognizable. The screen is tucked behind trees that are well over 20-feet-tall. Hidden perhaps, but still proudly standing, showing ghost features for those who still remember.