Drive-ins: An American classic reborn
An article in Time takes a look at the current state of the drive-in.
As the sun slowly set on a recent night in June, 800 cars and a crowd of viewers in lawn chairs pulled up to one of the four screens on the 25-acre green of the Mission Tiki drive-in theater in Montclair, Calif. Lovestruck teens canoodled in back seats. Parents corralled children in minivans. It was a remarkable turnout for a business, born 75 years ago, that has been teetering on the edge of extinction for the past two decades.
But tickets at the Mission Tiki have started selling again, and at $7 per adult and free entry for kids under 10, movie-goers are re-embracing the affordable luxury of a night at the drive-in. “It’s a family bargain,” says Frank Huttinger, vice president of marketing for De Anza Land & Leisure Corp., the family-owned business that operates the Mission Tiki. “It’s quality presentation. Our biggest problem is letting people know that we’re still there.”