by Nicole Reitz
Tomorrow marks the 80th anniversary of drive-in theaters. In celebration, the Midway Drive In will present “Going Attractions,” an 85-minute documentary film by April Wright on the history of drive-ins.
The showing will be the first New York State screening of Wright’s film and she will be on location Friday, June 7 to meet and greet patrons.
Once a vibrant part of American culture, nearly 5,000 drive-ins once dotted the nation from big cities to small towns, but today less than 400 remain.
“Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie” examines the drive-in theatre as an integral part of American culture from its invention in 1933, to its peak in the late 50s, to the rapid decline in the 70s and 80s,and to the recent resurgence.
Wright completed the movie seven years after her first cross-country road trip to shoot drive-ins.
The film features interviews with the son of the drive-in inventor, the family that made the intermission trailers, a film historian, a sociologist, and drive-in owners.
She also spoke with a woman who is a third generation drive-in owner and operator, a couple in North Carolina who purchased a drive-in theatre on eBay and a community activist in upstate New York who campaigned against Wal-Mart to save his local drive-in movie theatre from being demolished and replaced with a store.
This year, the 80th anniversary of the invention, many drive-ins are converting to digital this season. In any other year, most drive-ins would not have been able to play “Going Attractions.”
The Midway Drive In, located in Minetto, recently installed a new digital projection system. This year marks its 65th year in existence and is John Nagelschmidt’s 26th year as owner.
Nagelschmidt said he makes every effort to create a family-friendly environment and does so by playing mostly G and PG rated movies.
In addition to “Going Attractions,” the theatre will also be showing “Epic” and “Young Frankenstein” from June 7-9.