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Cheap date: A night at the drive-in

February 01, 2009|Julie Makinen

8 In Ohio, the drive-in was a summer ritual. My mom would pile me, my brother and at least four of the neighbor kids into her faux-wood-paneled Oldsmobile station wagon and roar off into the humid dusk. Snuggled up in a pile of pillows and blankets, we'd be mesmerized by kiddie gems like "Herbie Goes Bananas." We'd stuff our faces with popcorn and other treats brought from home; weeks later, we'd still be picking kernels and smooshed gummy bears out of the Custom Cruiser's back seat.

So when my honey suggested a night at the drive-in as a cheap date, I couldn't resist a trip down memory lane.

Despite my teenage protestations that I'd "never drive a station wagon," I've somehow become the owner of a PT Cruiser. So we packed a cooler, folded down my own Cruiser's back seat and headed to City of Industry's Vineland Drive-In, at 443 N. Vineland Ave.

It's a Pacific Theatre with first-run films, but entry for the entire night is $8 for anyone age 9 and older, and just $1 for kids 5 to 8.

The soundtrack is broadcast to your car stereo or a portable radio.

Because we paid only $16 to get in, we figured we could splurge for an extra-large popcorn ($6) at the centrally located snack bar. Bringing our own beverages seemed like a great idea, until we both managed to spill our drinks into our laps halfway through one of Clint Eastwood's menacing growls in "Gran Torino."

Some folks set up lawn chairs next to their cars. Dogs and kids ambled about.

Secluded in our own little viewing coupe, we could comment on the film without bothering other moviegoers. And no one came and sat right in front of us and blocked our view.

-- Julie Makinen

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