NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — During the late '60s Ohio boasted more than 190 drive-ins. Today that number hovers just below two dozen. But with more movie theaters shuttered and social distancing still critical, drive-ins are making a comeback.
Once there were thousands across the country. Beginning in the 1930's drive-in movie theaters grew like a well-watered lawn. They peaked in the '50s and '60s with more than 4-thousand drive-ins across the United States.
Then, business fell off in the '70s. But like an old actor with a new part, the show is making a comeback.
It is coronavirus, partly pushing the box office. The pandemic has shied us away from indoor theaters where we elbow-to-elbow with strangers. But the old drive-in allows us to see the show from the social distancing of the car.
Take for example, the Aut-O-Rama Twin Drive-In, nestled in a corner of North Ridgeville. Opened in the '60s, it is now packing 'em in again. Unmasked in the car is okay. But at the concession stand, you'll have to mask up. Still the outdoor movie idea is the same as it's always been. It makes me remember the old days.
Who would have figured a coronavirus pandemic would lead to a resurgence of the drive-in movie business.
I guess most of us are looking for a night out. It reminds me of my teenage days when I was in blue jeans, white socks, loafers, and 18 years old, trying to look cool in my high school jacket. A lot of it is gone but you get the idea. I'm nostalgic for the old days, but in a way, they're back.
Somethings don't change. Movies on the big screen and folks looking for entertainment. Even couples cuddled up for a romantic moment or two. We will leave it at that. You know, I"m pleased about the drive-in drawing them in again. We all want a normal life again as we try to get through the coronavirus. A night out helps. Movie with a screen full of Hollywood stars, under a Northeast Ohio sky of even more stars. The outdoor movie theater could be the hit of the season, a summertime blockbuster. Well, for certain, thee old drive-in is a coming attraction.
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