It wasn’t that many years ago that families all across America would load up the kids on Saturday night and head out to catch a double-feature at the Drive-In theater. During intermission, Dad wove his way through the parked cars to the refreshment stand and brought back hot, buttered popcorn, Twizzlers, and sodas. During the 1970’s and 80’s this tradition slowly began dying out, and one-by-one, drive-in theaters closed their gates. Today, only a few remain in operation. It’s kind of sad to think there is now an entire generation that never experienced the simple pleasure of watching a movie under the stars from a convertible or a pick-up truck bed.
As today is National Drive-In Movie Day, we wanted to remember some of the drive-in theaters that played movies under the stars right here in West Michigan. With the exception of the Getty located in Muskegon, all are now closed.
Cascade Twin Drive-In, 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids (1969-1987)
Woodland Drive-In, 28th St. SE, Kentwood (1969-1988)
Plainfield Drive-In, Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids (1957 – 1990?)
Division Drive-In, Division Ave., Grand Rapids (1948 – ?)
Beltline Drive-In, 28th St. SW, Wyoming (1948-1987)
Stadium Drive-In, Turner Ave. NW, Grand Rapids (1952-1960?)
Vista Drive-In, Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids (1955-1978?)
M-104 Drive-In, M-104, Spring Lake (1955-1982)
Muskegon Auto Theater, Grand Haven Road, Muskegon (1947-1980)
North Drive-In, Whitehall Road, Muskegon (1956-1980)
Getty Drive-In, Summit Ave. , Muskegon (1949 – open)
What’s that you say? The Getty is still showing Drive-In movies? You bet they are! The box office gates open nightly at 7:45, and the first features hit the screen around dusk or 9:00. You can tune in on your car radio to enjoy your movie in stereo sound, or use the nostalgic drive-in speakers. The drive-in has a large playground and arcade room for all the kids, and a self-serve concession that has all your movie favorites such as popcorn, pizza, nachos, candy, ice cream, hot dogs, pretzels, cotton candy, soda and much more! So load the kids up and treat them to a night of fun at the drive-in movie!
Not crazy about the idea of spending 4 hours in a parked car with your kids? You could create your own drive-in movie venue or backyard theater (go ahead, sit in the car if you want to)! With a little ingenuity you could install a beautiful home theater system in your home and make cardboard box cars for the kids! Or you could wait a couple of weeks and take the family out to Muskegon’s Pere Marquette Beach for free movies on the beach (June 27th, July 25th, August 22nd).
There are many online tutorials and guides to assist you with putting in your own home theater or outdoor movie projection system. But if it’s more than you want to tackle on your own and you’re looking for a professional installation, come see us here at Bekins… we do custom home theater installations, from the simple to the extravagant!