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Naro Expanded Cinema
1507 Colley Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23517
Ask for Thom or Tench !
Drive In’s turn 75 today and the carbon arc lamps that light up the massive widescreens are still burning bright somewhere in America tonight with a kick butt double feature. Drive In’s are now as much a part of living American History like The Alamo and Gettysburg.
June 6, 1933: Camden, New Jersey, Richard Hollingshead creates an idea that became a giant unto itself.
The mid to late 1930’s into the 1940’s: Drive In’s flourish briefly till the outbreak of World War 2 and go dark for the time being. After WW2 Drive in’s are re-lit and the business takes off from there.
The 1950’s: The Pinacle of Drive In Success ! Drive In’s are cropping up across America quickly and it’s frosty neighbor to the North, Canada. This is the time that parents started worrying about their teenage children having pre marital sex at Drive In’s and the nom de plume “Sin Den” is tagged on to Drive In’s from then on.
The 1960’s: Business is sliding as the big studios are refusing to market their first run features to Drive In’s so they market their B Grade Movies instead. Some Single Screeners either fold or go double to keep afloat. A majority of single screeners start doing “Dusk till Dawn” Marathons.
The 1970’s: With the unleashing of theatrically basd porn most Drive In’s become nothing more than outdoor smut palaces and are faced with either two options, keep on showing porn or go out of business. Alot of Drive In’s disappear by this time and the rest keep porning away. The harp is playing it’s sleepy time music and the giant is falling asleep.
1980’s: Cable Tv comes into full power and so does home video. This is truly the beginning of the end of the Drive In. Only a small handfull are operational throughout the small rural communities in the Mid West. Those that are operational have gotten with the times and started being more family friendly. In big cities Drive In’s are demolished and replaced with Commercial Real Estate Housing, Industrial Business Center Complexes and Major Chain Retail Box Stores such as Wal Mart and Target.
The 1990’s: The Drive In numbers at first were miniscule but start to climb back up like a sleeping giant being slowly awoken from it’s slumber. Some people want their local Drive In’s back in action.
2000’s: 75 years later on June 6, 2008 Hollingshead’s sleeping giant has fully awoke and is getting up on his feet. New and improved Drive In’s are opening up and also originals are being overhauled and reopened. Also at this writing the Drive In is being revisualised by a world wide band of guerilla movie enthusiasts who gather in abandoned empty warehouse lots after dark and show movies via dvd and video projection on to large white wall surfaces. This is called MobMov or Mobile Movie. Despite the fact Hollywood hates this, MobMov’s are becoming all the rage and will no doubt be the boost that classic Drive In’s need to really get going again.
The Azalea was located just outside Norfolk International Airport about half block to the right of it. It was a family friendly drive in till the porno induced 70’s when it switched to those kind of movies. You could literally see the action on the interstate overpass nearby. As a little kid in the 70’s I remember seeing my first shot of sex from that great a distance even if for a few brief seconds as my mom would drive back to Norfolk from Virginia Beach. Nowadays a car dealership is there in it’s place.