Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Marion Pellicano Ambrose
If you use GOOGLE as your search engine, you probably say today’s “doodle” which celebrates the opening of the first drive in theater on June 6, 1933, during the “Golden Age of Cinema”. Seeing the doodle brought back so many memories for me.
I remember being so excited that my family was going to the movies! My mom got us into our warm pajamas and we set up blankets and pillows in the back seat of our 1957 Ford Fairlane 500. It was torture waiting for it to get dark, but the sun finally set and we drove out to the huge field that was the Drive in Theater, in Walden , New York.

I can hardly remember any of the movies we saw at the drive in, just flashes of memory: a tiny man fighting a huge spider with a needle, a cowboy tied to a wagon wheel by indians, and John Wayne. I’m sure we saw several John Wayne movies since my dad was a big fan. What I do have a crystal clear picture of is the drive in itself. I can see the poles we parked  by, on a mound of dirt. On each pole was a gray, metal contraption that piped the sound of the movie into our car when we attached it to a partially rolled down window. I remember having to drive over 2 or 3 mounds trying speakers until we found one that worked. Once the movie started, the crackly sound filled the car and all eyes were on the gigantic screen at the front of the lot.

I can still recall the thrill of going to the refreshment stand with my father at Intermission. There were hamburgers, hot dogs and other treats pre-made and in silver foil wrappers. Ice cream, candy, popcorn, and soda were also available and placed in cardboard trays to be carried back to the car. There was also a children’s playground for kids to burn a little energy during intermission.

After intermission, the movie began again.  This is about all can remember. Being 6 or 7 at the time,I never got to see the end of a single movie because, I always fell asleep. All I recall is waking up in my bed the next morning, having been carried safely by my dad and lovingly tucked in by my mom. I don’t know what I felt then, but today as I think of it, I feel overwhelming love and gratitude to my parents for giving me this kind of childhood. I wish I had remembered moments like this while they were still here so I could have told them.

The era of drive in movies has passed, but there are still many ways parents can share moments with their children that will create these same type of nostalgic, treasured memories. I tried to create them for my children and to my great joy, my daughter talks about her favorite memories of our excursions from when she was little. It’s my greatest hope that, when I’m gone, she and my son will continue to remember and cherish these special family moments, and know how much they were loved.

*For those of you who are too young to remember the Drive-In Movie, take a look at GOOGLE’s  little movie celebrating the anniversary of the first Drive-In.


  1. Thanks for a trip down memory lane!

  2. Oh wow! Does this bring back memories!