Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Skylark Drive-In

Remember your local drive-in? This is a photo of The Skylark, our local drive-in for decades. I remember it well. I'm not sure when it was built, probably the late 40's. It was built by the wealthy architect/banker who also built many other notable buildings, including a home that goes by the nickname, Cat House. Back to Skylark, there were living quarters for the caretakers and large playground. Back before TV, when everyone went to the movies, the parents would go to the Skylark and watch the movie while the kids played on the playground. I remember sitting on the slide, looking up at screen or swinging and watching the movie. There was an artesian well beneath the drive-in and a pipe came up out of the ground. It was like a fountain spurting out of the pipe and you could catch a drink but I hated the taste. We called it "iron water".

The Skylark was known for its slaw dogs and popcorn. Of course, it had the metal speaker that you hung on your car door window and there was a knob to control the volume. Sometimes, there was static on it. No such thing as surround sound! And, mid-week was a bargain. A dollar a car, regardless of how many people were in it.

Young love blossomed at the Skylark. By the 60's, most of the crowd were teenagers. The kids who had grown up in the playground were now driving and dating. Usually a date meant going to the Skylark where you would see your friends. Sometimes everyone would park in a row and yell back and forth at each other. In the summer, we'd sit on the car hoods. The steady couples always parked in the rear and often times, all you saw were twirling tennis shoes in the windows.

By the time the 70's arrived, the Skylark's business was fading and the drive-in era coming to a close. A new twin cinema was built and everyone preferred the comfort of an indoor theater with padded seats and good sound.

The Skylark is gone now, torn down years ago. A piece of social history disappeared but it remains in the memory of all those who recall what it was like to watch a movie under the stars.