In this age of DVD players, hi-def cable TV, and multiplexes on every corner, the drive-in movie theater should be little more than a fading relic of our country’s past. But we Americans are a sentimental lot, which accounts for the surprising fact that drive-in theaters are actually a stable force and, in some of our country’s corners, a growing trend. “We expected to find that they were on their way out,” explained Adam Grossberg, a UCSB film/econ student who’s making a documentary this summer on drive-ins. “But there is this culture that is prospering.”
Grossberg, along with friend Ari Phillips plan to spend eight weeks after this month’s graduation traversing the country and filming drive-in enthusiasts, owners, and other folks who, like the theaters, are clinging to what most figure is an antiquated tradition. “It’s an interesting subculture,” said Grossberg. “It’s not a money-making business. They keep it going because they love it.” To help fund their trip, the duo is hosting a “One Night Stand” at our town’s former drive-in, located next to the airport in Goleta on Kellogg Way. By selling ads for both onscreen and a program, the two will be able to offer a screening of American Graffiti for free, along with some other short films. A DVD projector will be mounted to a car to show the films, since the theater got rid of its projection equipment years ago. There’s no snack shop anymore either, but the Doghouse will be catering and there may even be some popcorn in the mix.
It’ll be a free evening that’s sure to bring back tons of childhood memories. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll kick-start someone into refurbishing our big screen-by-the-sea. See irrelephantproduc tions.com for more info.
— Matt Kettmann