Over the holiday weekend, my family and I visited the Winchester Drive In Theater in Oklahoma City. located at 6930 S. Western. The Winchester Drive In first opened its doors in 1968 and has been in business for 44 years now.
Here we are in line to enter the theater’s parking area.
As you can see by the box of Sonic food on our dash, patrons are allowed to bring their own food and drink into the drive-in. We always pop a couple of bags of popcorn and bring them with us when we go.
For those who don’t bring their own food and drink, there’s always the snack bar in the rear of the parking lot. Everything you remember being there is still there — the drinks, the popcorn, and giant boxes of candy are there for the taking.
There are even a few old school video and pinball games available to play in the snack bar!
There are a few windows located on the front of the snack bar. While peeking through one of them, we found the projector.
Here’s a shot from the rear of the snack bar, looking all the way up toward the screen. It’s almost showtime!
Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for kids. Depending on the time of year, the theater shows either two or three movies. Although you can’t really tell in this picture, the “speaker boxes” you used to place inside your car are long gone. The theater now broadcasts the movies via FM radio (100.9, in this case) so you can listen to the movie through your car’s radio.
One summer when I was a kid my parents took my sister and I to the drive-in where, in one single night, we watched Tron, Dragonslayer, and Time Bandits. It’s a memory I hold near and dear. Even though the audio and video quality of a drive-in pales in comparison to surround sound Dolby and high-definition screens, there’s definitely something unique about drive-in theaters and I hope my kids will have fond memories of them as well.
Do you, like me, consider your kitchen just a giant snack bar that fuels your tiny, but respectable home arcade and movie theater? Well if so, it is time to get the appropriate signage that says to all who visit, this way to delicious snacks. Order dozens of these guys and assemble a snack person army. They will stand vigil over your delicious treats and fight against the evil hungrys that seeks to distract your from your movies and video games. How can you resist these guys, they are adorable…
Looking for something to do on this Independence Day? How about take in a movie? No, not those sit in a theater movies! A sit in your car movie! That’s right, Independence Day is the perfect time to re-engage in the All American tradition, The Drive-In movie. If you do not know where your local Drive-In is, you can point your trusty browser to Drive-Ins.com, which is a great resource for both closed and still functioning Drive-Ins.
Just do quick zip code search and see what is around you. Even if you do not have one in your area anymore, you can still get a little info about the Drive-Ins you visited as a kid and relive those golden memories.
The Drive-In is an endangered form of amusement, so please support your local one. Let’s not let this piece of Americana die.
I absolutely love drive in movies. Going to drive in movies, for me, truly was one of the great joys of my youth. If I had the chance to see a movie in the theater or at a drive in, I would take the drive in every single time, even though the sound was always inferior. You see, going to a drive in theater was a true total experience. It was so much more than just seeing a movie.
We had the most awesome drive in theater in the town where I grew up. My family made Saturday evening drive in movie night. Each of us were allowed to bring a friend with us. To get around paying for everyone (each person that the ticket person in the booth could see had to pay for a ticket) my Mom would make some of us sit down on the floorboard and then she threw a blanket over us! Dishonest? Sure but that was the only way some of my friends could go, and to me it was worth it!
My family would always stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken and grab a bucket of chicken and a ton of sides and then fill up a cooler full of Coke and Mountain Dew. This way we had plenty of food. You needed lots of food because at our drive in, you paid for one movie, but Saturdays were always double feature night! Two for the price of one! Score! So we always ate right when we got there, then we would still have plenty of food for the second feature.
Then there was the concession stand! Oh the concession stand! There was a little bit of heaven stashed in that concession stand. At intermission between the two movies, my Mom would give me a few dollars and allow me and my friend to go buy “snacks” at the concessions stand. There was ice cream cones, huge sour pickles, candy of all kinds (my favorite was candy cigarettes), popcorn, cotton candy, and frozen drinks like Coke and Cherry! I always left the drive in full and usually a little sick, but always enormously happy with a smile on my face. Oh and typically I fell asleep about half way through the second movie! Look for a more in-depth article from me soon detailing my addition to drive ins soon.
During our first trip to Walt Disney World, my wife and I made reservations at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater. We were told that not only was it the coolest place there to eat, but the food was awesome and you actually got to sit inside cars and watch trailers from old B horror movies from the 50’s and 60’s mixed in with old Disney cartoons. What more could you possibly ask for?
We strolled up to the front of the restaurant and were greeted with this great sign on the outside:
Once inside, you are greeted by your server who is on roller skates. They escort you down a very dark hallway, all the while they are telling you that there is no kissing allowed in the cars, no necking either. Oh and if you break the speakers off you will have to pay for them. Shortly you round the corner and here is what you will see:
Yes that is a starry sky and a huge movie screen at the far end of the room. This is a massive space and you are immediately struck by the fact that everyone is sitting in a car watching the movies! AS you can see in this picture, everyone there truly plays it off like you are in a real drive in theater. Notice the warning on the movie screen that “carbon monoxide is a quite deadly killer” This was because back in the day, people would sit in their cars with the windows closed as they watched the movies so that they could make out. This of course would trap the carbon gas from your exhaust inside your car. Very authentic!
Movie billboard in the waiting room.
To make the experience even more authentic, they built a concession stand in the back of the restaurant as seen in this photo:
It is not a real working concession stand, but they did bring popcorn to your table for you to snack on before your meal.
The food had very catchy names to go along with the theming. My pulled pork BBQ sandwich was named “It Came From The BBQ”. The real star of the meal though were the extremely thick and rich shakes they offered, They came in a huge metal cup and it was easily more than you could eat by yourself.
On the movie screen they played trailers for B Horror movie such as “The 50 Foot Woman”, “Frankenstein Meets The Space Alien”, “Mars Needs Women”. You get the idea, truly bad B horror films. It was really fun to watch these. Mixed in were short pieces from the Worlds Fair about what technology would be like in the far future of the 1980’s! HA.
If you ever get down to Disney World, you MUST have dinner at the Sci Fi Dine In Theater. You’ll relive your childhood one bit at a time. Remember, no necking in the cars! Everyone will stare at you!