Monday, September 28, 2009

Watching Movies, the Old-Fashioned Way...

Hathaway's Drive-In in North Hoosick had a end-of the season closer we couldn't resist: Up followed by Star Trek.

We aren't really drive-in people. The heyday of cars and movies was a bit before our time, and we're not really that in love with our car. It's a small, efficient box that gets us from point A to point B. But it's fun to go and see a film in a venue that is past its prime, to get a whiff of the way things used to be.

The intermission video was particularly interesting. The animated bits looked like they came from Jay Ward Productions (of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame). The non-animated parts were also interesting. Mostly, they were an exhortation to visit the snack bar (where the drive-in makes most of its money). Offering hot dogs and burgers was one thing, but watching a 60s-era bag of popcorn get a small pail of butter poured over it was horrifying.

Hathaway's utilizes the two traditional methods of getting the sound to the customer: stands with wired speakers on them (you hang them on your door) and a low-wattage broadcast that can be picked up on the car radio. The speakers are clearly the original material, large aluminum boxes the size an internal DVD drive. We hung it on the steering wheel, it was too chilly to keep the window open. The drive-in is not, incidentally, the best place to see a film with a lot of audio magic. The speaker is mono, so unless your car radio is awesome you're going to lose the audio designed for Dolby Digital or THX.

Fun was had. We cuddled under blankets to keep warm, watched Star Trek for the fourth time on the big screen.

1 comment:

Maggie Shayne said...

I haven't been to a drive in in a long time. They didn't work through the car speakers when I used to go as a kid. They just boomed in the ear of whoever was sitting in the driver's seat. And you could roll the window all the way closed, except for a quarter inch gap where the speaker hanger ... um ... hung. =) Now you've made me want to go back. I remember one drive in that had a playground right in front of the screen, to keep the kids busy while waiting for darkness to fall enough for the show to begin. Ahh, those were the days!