When taking a trip down memory lane, how could anyone forget the drive in movie theaters? Many sparks of love were ignited, and many hearts were broken among the many cars parked in the large fields. Stars shone above in the black sky, while couples experienced their first moments of intimacy.
But before any windows became fogged in the heat of passion, the utmost importance was finding just the right spot to park the car. The best place was well behind the refreshment stand, away from the intrusive lighting that interrupted many a young man’s passionate thoughts.
And, of course, being close to the refreshment stand made the trek for candy, popcorn, hot dogs and soda easier. At intermission, the field of cars was illuminated by floodlights so lovers could gather supplies and gain momentum for the second round of intimacy.
For many teens, a trip to the drive in movie was the first time they were allowed to be alone with their boy or girlfriend. When the movie started, the speaker would be removed from its holder and placed on the door window of the car.
All of a sudden, the vehicle turned into the couple’s private capsule, the couple was alone. It was dark, and private – a rare opportunity for teens in the 1950 s. Romantic preludes and sexual expectations filled the heated air.
After the newsreel and cartoon, the movie began. Now it was time to get serious. Guys wrapped an arm around the shoulder of the girl, scents of perfume and cologne mingled, fingertips found the skin of the other person, or a hand would be placed on a thigh.
In the midst of the passionate spark-filled air, intermission lights interrupted the mood and the moment was put on hold. Girls scurried to the restroom to comb their hair and replace the lost lipstick. Guys headed to the refreshment counter search for popcorn, candy, and soda. Returning to the car, he presented the nourishment to his maiden.
Intermission lasted just 20 minutes, or so, and then the movie would continue. The couples munched on the popcorn and quenched their thirsts with the soda as the movie continued.
Hormone-charged young couples felt sexually excited. Stolen kisses sometimes lead to exploration of forbidden places. High school rings were exchanged as guys asked girls to be his steady girl. And, many teenagers arrived home with tokens from their night of passion – hickeys. Guys and girls branded each other, similar to territorial jesters or symbols of love. And for the next few days, many collars were made to stand up in efforts to hide the forbidden love bites from the eyes of parents.
Life was different back then; sex was not, necessarily, something done with everyone that came along. Sex between two people meant more, it was special and sacred. Obscenity and vulgar language was not seen on billboards, or spoken as part of everyday life. Of course, people used profanity, murdered and robbed, but for the most part, communities were safe.
There were no headlines about drive by shootings, lewd attacks on children, and kids didn’t kill their parents. Crack was a sidewalk hazard, pot was something your mother used to cook dinner, and dads leisurely puffed on pipes filled with tobacco after the evening meal. Yes, these were times of working for what you got. Free rides were rare, and families had strong morals.
The drive INS became the sexual touchstones of many teens throughout the 1950 s. Although, drive in theaters seemed to be about little more than a first kiss, a first touch, and sexual pleasure; a stepping stone along the path of growing up. Just how much fog on car windows could determine movie ratings!
A few drives in theaters still exist, but most have deteriorated and the parking fields are dark and weed filled. But, the memories remain alive and well in the minds of the ones that experienced the intimate freedoms they offered.