Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Frozen in Time

I remember the first time I saw a movie at the drive-in like it was yesterday. Mom and Dad took us to Rocky way back in 1976. I remember being somewhat in awe of the technology, the magnitude of the screen, and the myriad teenagers primping and posturing. Being dark, there was also an element of danger, too, for this wide-eyed second grader. I remember getting to eat popcorn -- outside of the Oldsmobile, mind you, since Dad didn't want crumbs in the car. I don't remember much about the flick that night, but I can't think about Rocky Balboa without thinking about the Grand Island Twin Theater.

Whenever I mention the drive-in to anyone close to my age, they perk up and share with me what is essentially the same story. It's amazing how well kids remember that experience. Of course, drive-ins are now pretty much an anachronism, given way to VHS, Betamax, HBO, DVD, high-speed internet and Netflix. In fact, they mostly died out before I reached driving age -- the age at which two or more hours in the dark with a girlfriend could have been even more fun.

Saturday night, we took our kids to the drive-in to see Night At The Museum II. Most people in KC are surprised that such a place exists -- but I'm happy to report the Boulevard Drive-In is alive and well. We backed the Ram into our spot, and put out a couple of chairs for the kids on this uncommonly chilly June evening, while Mrs. Scampwalker and I sat on the tailgate. We bought some treats from the grocery store, and even sipped a couple of Schlitz longnecks (the 70's era seemed fitting, and they were surprisingly tasty). The place wasn't packed, but it was still full of families of every size, color, and socioeconomic status, with vehicles to match (pickups, minivans, and SUV's seemed to be the most popular varieties).

The movie was just OK (it was a sequel after all), but the experience was first-rate. I'll be curious to find out if my kids will remember Ben Stiller the way I remember Sylvester Stallone.

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