On state Route 59 in Ravenna sits the Midway Twin Drive-In, one of the few remaining drive-ins in the area and a definite throwback to an earlier era.
My wife and I decided to go this weekend. Our last trip to the drive-in was in 1995, when we saw a double-bill of “Free Willy 2″ and “Braveheart.” We had taken our daughter and had to leave after the antics of the lovable killer whale when it became apparent that the R-rated mayhem of “Braveheart” (not to mention the sight of Mel’s bare buttocks) was not appropriate family fare. A strange double-bill, that.
At any rate, we went back Saturday night to see “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” and “Knocked Up.” It didn’t matter so much what the movies were, it was the experience that was so much fun.
The drive-in’s Web site said all patrons bringing in outside food and drink would be charged $5 extra per car for a food and beverage permit. The explanation was that most of the admission price ($16 per car) went back to studios and distributors; the theater makes its profits from concession sales.
We agreed to play along and left our food and water at home. The snack bar line was horrendously long; we waited about 20 minutes to buy a bottle of water, a Diet Pepsi, and two soft pretzels. The length of time between the two films also wasn’t long enough to get us back to our seats from the obligatory restroom break (all that water and Pepsi took its toll), so that was a bummer, too.
But, overall, we had a blast. We had a great seat, patrons around us were throwing footballs and Frisbees and sitting out in lawn chairs, visiting and being considerate yet friendly. Gone are the old sound boxes that need clipped to your window; now, you tune in stereo sound through your car’s FM radio.
Seeing a movie under the stars brought back memories of childhood when my parents would load my sister and me into the car for double features east of Alliance or to the west in Harrisburg. I remember seeing the 1976 “King Kong” that way, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (those nighttime skies dovetailed perfectly with the night sky around the screen) and “Blade Runner,” too.
We will definitely go back, and hopefully before another 12 years passes! This one gets the Schillig seal of approval, for whatever that is worth. To learn more about Midway, click here. To see a vintage concession stand clip, click the image at the top of this post.