The History And Future Of Drive-Ins | KCUR

The History And Future Of Drive-Ins

Aug 1, 2013

The Beverly Drive-In in Mississippi, featured in April Wright's documentary.
Credit April Wright

Drive-in movie theaters were once a staple of American popular culture, but over the decades, they've been closing across the country. Kansas City, however, seems to be an epicenter for the disappearing relic across the rest of the United States - we've got three.

This hour, filmmaker and director April Wright joined us from Los Angeles to talk about her documentary Going Attractions, which covers the history and future of drive-ins. Wright spent seven years putting the film together, and she visited almost every state in the process.

"Drive-ins are being created, refurbished or even inflated," Wright said. "Blow-up screens are becoming incredibly popular." 

Today's drive-ins are unique from one another, she said - almost all of them are independently owned and operated. Technology, too, has come a long way since the 1950s.

"The first drive-ins had giant speakers that blasted the audience," Wright said. "Individual speakers were then used but had a tinny quality."

And though teenagers will be teenagers, regardless of the decade, the drive-in was a special spot for them.

"Today, teenagers can make out at home," Wright said. "In the  '50s, the drive-in was the place to be."

Going Attractions will be screened at the Independence Film, Art and Music Festival from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, and Saturday, Aug. 10.