Let’s All Go To The Drive-In

Posted: Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm
By: Doug Lund
Comment | Trackback Bookmark and Share

This is a historic day.

For the first time in nearly 40 years of trying, I hit EVERY green light on East 10th from Sycamore Avenue to the West side of the viaduct and set a personal record of 6 minutes from my house to the TV station. And that’s without speeding. Well, not too much.

So this is what it’s come down to then? Blogging about driving to work?  Well, nothing much has happened to write about in the week since we’ve been home from Arizona. Oh, I did bump in to Bernie Hunhoff in the Keloland lobby on the same day the legislature nixed his bill to change the design of our state flag. If you recall, I expressed my feelings about the proposed change here on my blog (I and thousands of others didn’t care for it) and while  Bernie could have made our encounter an uncomfortable experience, he was as cordial and cheerful as ever. Being a democratic leader in a republican state..you learn to roll with the political punches.

I see Wild Water West plans to bring back Drive-In movies. I hope it works but, sorry, I have my doubts.



I have nothing but fond memories of the Sioux Drive-In Theater from when I was a lad but trying to relive those memories at the Verne Drive-In outside Luverne a couple years ago, proved disappointing. Back in the Drive-In’s hayday, there was no such thing as daylight saving time meaning dusk doesn’t occur until nearly 10 PM in the summer months. If there’s a double feature that means it’s two in the morning before the show’s over. Too late for most working stiffs and those of us retired folks whose eyelids start to sag at the stroke of 9.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s, people who went to the Drive-In did so in a CAR. There were rows of gravel humps at varying degrees of slopeiness from front to back on which you’d pull the front wheels for a clear view of the screen then grab the speaker and hook it onto the window.  But most people now drive high profile pick-ups, vans and SUVs. Theater managers try to get them to park toward the rear to keep from blocking other’s view but if you’re in a Prius you could get lost in a canyon of Caravans, Suburbans and Ford F250’s. Also, the few remaining Drive-In theaters have long since abandoned the idea of providing speakers on poles. In part, I suppose, because they became collector’s items for thieves or got destroyed by cars snagging the cord with their bumper..back when cars still had bumpers. Instead, audio is transmitted over an FM frequency you can pick up on your radio. Just make sure your battery is capable of dealing with the 4 hour drain.
The nice thing about speaker poles is they used to keep vehicles properly spaced apart. Now, it’s sort of like festival seating at a rock concert with ugly stares or a verbal rebuke coming from the guy next to you if you park too close.

But, if the Wild Water West deal works out, I’ll give it a try. Might even attempt a little front seat necking with Linda for old time’s sake. Won’t be the same, though. There’s no way she can slide over next to me with that dadgum center console in the way. No more bench seats equals no more close cuddling..no more Aqua Net aroma in your nostrils or soft angora sweater fuzz on the shoulder. It might also be fun to see if outdoor theater patrons still explore their rebellious side by joining in a chorus of horn honking in an attempt to humiliate the projectionist into starting the darned movie already.  That reminds me,  I need to get the Camaro’s horn fixed before summer.


  1. Don says:


    Some pick-ups still have bench seats and in the ones which have the center “console” provide a tilt mechanism to get the dad-gum thing out of the way. Not the same as your ’57 Ford Fairlane 500 you say? Well niether are you or me.

  2. Cam says:

    Doug: I would agree on not being able to stay away. And I agree with Don on console. When you said council I thought you were going to start talking about Vernon Brown voting against anything progressive.

  3. Doug Lund says:

    Ooops. Clearly Spellcheck doesn’t account for stupidity. I have corrected “council” to console. Uffdah.

  4. Per Pål P says:

    Sorry to disagree with you Doug…but, I and thousands of others DO very much like the idea of a new flag….and we LOVE the beautiful bold design….Some minor changes? Maybe!….But, as I say…for myself and thousands of others….we DO like the new flag design…and we DO like the idea of a new flag…and believe me, when some band is marching at the Rose Bowl Parade…or in the Macy’s Parade….This is one beautiful bold new flag that will stand out….And what a great new look for every place that our state flag is flown in SD. I only have one question…..What do our Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people think? Do you like it? What changes would you make? Do you feel it represents your great legacy in SD? Per Pål

  5. Shelle says:

    Doug, I remember going to the drive in movies in Hawarden, IA; we’d all pack into Harold Stubbs station wagon and he’d take about 10-12 kids…it was loads of fun and not to mention Harold would give us all $$ for whatever treats we wanted…those were the good ol times living in a small town, no need to worry about anyone trying to hurt you, kidnap you or stealing the speakers!!!

  6. Prairie Chick says:

    Doug, you should make a trip west to the Winner Drive-In Theatre. While you do tune into an FM station, the poles for the speakers are still there, and they do try to get the big vehicles to park near the back. Also, you can’t beat the food at their concession stand, and you can even sit in the bleachers if your car doesn’t accommodate cuddling. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Winner-Drive-in-Theatre/167329383328477?ref=ts

  7. Michael says:

    I have fond memories of East Park, which was torn down to make way for the K-Mart on east 10th, and of The Starlite, which was next to the Sport Bowl and is now a trailer park. I believe that Dave Dedrick was responsible for managing one of them for a few years back in the 50s or 60s.

  8. Crawford T. says:

    My copy of It Ain’t All Cartoons isn’t close by right now, but I’m pretty sure that was the StarLite.

  9. Suzan says:

    I loved going to East Park. Wasn’t there a playground down near the screen for kids to play on until the movie started? Back then getting treats at the movie didn’t usually cost more than the price of admission, especially when the carload was a single entrance price. Of course, you could also bring in your own snacks without even having to be sneaky. I remember big grocery sacks of pre-popped and buttered popcorn being passed around our car. Great memories!

  10. Tim says:

    When we were young they were refered to as the passion pit. Anyone care to comment? Always wanted to be sure to park clear in the back row somewhere so someone could not sneak up on you.

  11. Tim says:

    Forgot to mention this was the Starlight in Mitchell back in the 60’s. It was shut down for a period of time but was purchased and reopened. Go this summer and enjoy a movie and dream about what you used to do way back when.

  12. jack curl says:

    hey doug…its been a hundred years since I have talked to you! We worked together for a short time in the 1970s…and I hung around the kelo crew some in the 1980s. anyway the story about the Starlight Drive In brought back memories of dating-won’t into details-and sneaking buddies-in the trunk- in!
    I was also glad to see some effort to bring the State back up to snuff.
    Anyway take care and say hi to any of the old guys!

Leave a Reply