One of the few good things involving Covid-19 is the comeback of drive-in movies. National retailer Walmart has turned some of its store’s parking lots into drive in theatres to allow people a small getaway during these trying times.
According to thewalmartdrivein.com, not every Walmart is participating and those that are need reservations from those who wish to participate.
Tickets are delivered by e-mail and one can print it out or just show the confirmation on cell phones at the gate. Cars can come in starting at 6:00 PM for the start of the movie at 7:30 PM. No late admissions are allowed and the best part is that it is free.
No motorcycles or dune buggies, a closed car is needed and parking spaces will be distanced with larger vehicles in the back. If one needs to leave the car a mask is required.
No alcoholic beverages or drugs are permitted. An FM capable radio is required and most car radios are sufficient.
The number of people allowed in one car is five and the event will not be canceled for normal rain but if severe weather is expected, ticket holders will be notified of a reschedule date.
The indoor restrooms in Walmart will be available to moviegoers but a mask which is worn properly covering the nose and mouth must be worn. There will be people available to help with car troubles such as a jump for a dead battery.
Attendees can bring any snacks and soft drinks and can go into the store to purchase these items as long as a mask is worn.
All Walmart staff working the drive in will be wearing PPE and must maintain a six foot distance from others unless there is an emergency in which drivers are asked to display their emergency lights and honk their horn.
Walmart says that if any of the symptoms of Covid-19 are being displayed the entire family should stay home.
Some of the cities involved are Aurora, Illinois; Gallatin, Tennessee; Grand Prairie, Texas; Lawton, Oklahoma; Mulberry, Florida, and Elizabethton, Tennessee; Akron, Ohio and North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.
Most of the movies are not recent releases but some titles include Wonder Woman from 2017, Ghostbusters from 1984, Black Panther from 2018, Space Jam from 1996, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial from 1982; Spiderman: Into the Spider Verse from 2018; Friday Night Lights from 2004 and The Wizard of Oz from 1939. Some locations have sold out into the middle of October and the event only runs until October 21st.
Drive in movie theatres are starting to make a comeback from the 1980s when VCRs gave us the ability to rent movies and watch in our own homes.
Most drive in theatres across the United States closed down although there are still some that hung on. Starting in the mid 1930s, it was a great way to take the whole family to the movies.
Food could be brought in and there was usually a small playground in the front filled with kids in their pajamas waiting for the movie to start.
When they fell asleep in the car the parents just whisked them into the house and in to bed. Teenagers were usually caught when they tried to sneak people into the theatre in their car trunks and lots of people could go in a van and just open the back doors.
The oldest operating drive in movie theatre in the United States is Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre which opened in 1934 in Orefield, Pennsylvania, according to savingplaces.org.
Even after Hurricane Diane almost destroyed the site in 1955, the owners rebuilt. In 1971 the theater was deteriorating again and was bought in 1984 by Paul Geissinger who had joined the staff in 1971 as a temporary projectionist.
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Over the years he and his wife have updated to a modern state of the art digital projectors and sound and once again the theater is packed on Friday and Saturday nights.