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The Return Of The Drive-In Movie

A police forensics officer examines a car containing a "potentially viable explosive device" in Haymarket in central London, Friday, June 29, 2007.
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When you think of drive-in theaters, you probably think about the 1950s, when going to the drive-in meant black-and-white movies and going on a date. Young couples came to the theater to drink sodas and well, you know...kiss.

The drive-in theater in Warwick, N.Y., was around back then, reports CBS News Correspondent Gretchen Carlson. It did big business. But, in the '70s and '80s, many drive-in theaters vanished. The new multiplexes stole their audience. Even Daylight Savings Time contributed to the decline. With longer days, movies couldn't start as early as they once did, making the drive-in experience too late for too many.

But now, drive-ins are coming back. One reason: They're a good deal - 7 bucks per person for not one but two movies a night.

Says Beth Wilson, owner of the Warwick Drive In Theater, "It's cheaper to bring your family here. You don't have to pay for a babysitter to take them out, you're not going 'shhh' to your children all night long, and it's more of a nice atmosphere than sitting in the theater."

At most drive-ins, you can still use the old-fashioned speakers that you attach to your car. But new technology means being able to hear the movie through FM radio, too.

And remember when being in a convertible was the only way to go to the drive-in? Well, welcome to 2001 and the world of SUVs.

At the Warwick drive-in, the back five rows are now dedicated only to SUVs. Cars can park in only the first three rows. And it's a family affair now. They all come prepared, spreading out on the back hatches of their big rigs.

Still, you don't have to look very far to see signs of the olden days.

At the concession stand, you can still get buttered popcorn, and your favorite fattening foods such as fries and cheese sticks.

On a summer night in Warwick, both parents and kids enjoy the resurgence of drive-in movie theaters. Things may be a little different these days, but whether it's 1951 or 2001, there's still something magical about being under the moon, taking it all in.

Says Beth Wilson, "I hope to do it for the rest of my life."


For more about drive-in movies across the U.S., and to see if one is located near you, try these Web sites: www.driveintheater.com or www.driveinmovie.com.

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