Monday, April 12, 2010

Cars, Flicks & Weiners

Now Playing, originally uploaded by Small Wonder1.

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.

Showtime, originally uploaded by Small Wonder1.

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.


  1. I grew up literally 150 yards from the entrance of the Pine Island Drive-In at the very southern end of Manchester NH. You can see the marquee here:

    If this picture was taken from 90 degrees to the right you'd be able to see my neighborhood. Clearly, I did not grow up in a gated community, although technically, the drive-in did have a gate that they locked at night.

  2. Ric -- thanks for sharing the photo. I love the marquee: "White Lighting" and "Hell Boats."