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Drive-In Movies

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Written by Kristina Calhoun

Not your grandparents Drive-In Movie Theatre… or is it? The vintage 1930’s family entertainment is coming to the future. Starting August 14th and running through October 21st, over 160 Walmart stores nationwide will be displaying movies on a pop-up screen. Many films from all categories and times will be shown. The Wizard of Oz (1939), Space Jam (1996), and Spy Kids (2001) are just some of the classics that you and your family can enjoy together, but don’t worry, newer movies like Wonder Woman (2017) and Black Panther (2018) will also make an appearance. There is one location near Roanoke College that will be participating in this exciting family entertainment. The Walmart Supercenter in Clearbrook, VA has decided to make their parking lot home to these events that will also follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. The tickets will be free to Walmart customers, however, tickets need to be purchased beforehand. No tickets will be sold at the gates. Refreshments like popcorn and drinks will also be provided. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. and the movie will start at 7:30 p.m. All you need is your car radio, your family/friends, and a mask. Bringing back something that has been enjoyed since the 1930s is a great way to distract from the new, ever-changing world.

The history of drive-in movies starts in Camden, New Jersey on June 6th, 1933. The term “drive-in” was not the first term used for these movies. Originally, they were called Park-In Theaters, but drive-in has a better ring to it. The idea came from Richard Hollingshead. When his mother complained about how uncomfortable it was to sit in regular movie theatre seats, Drive-in movies were born. With comfort and entertainment in mind, he came up with the brilliant idea to watch from automobiles. Ideas aren’t automatically perfect however, he had to experiment with many ways on how to set this new invention up. He started with a 1928 Kodak projector, the hood of his car, a radio, and the side of his house. Thankfully, in 1933 he received an investment of $30,000 to get the project up and running. Even 100-years later, his work hasn’t been forgotten. With places such as Walmart bringing them back, his legacy will forever live on by bringing families and friends together.