Pop-up Movies

The drive-in theater is a part of American history. It’s as important as old fashion diners or full service gas stations. During the height of drive-in theaters’ popularity, food was fatty, cars were huge, movies were fun and people liked the experience. The memory of these times is romantic.

Do drive-ins still exist in America? Yes, but they are having a difficult time. According to the website Drive-ins.com there were just over 4,000 drive-ins across America n the late 50s. In 2007, the last year they give statistics, there were 405.

Drive-ins were invented by the New Jersey chemical company magnate Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. They were advertised as entertainment for the whole family. Parents could enjoy the films with kids and teenagers had time away from parents.

Footage: A short segment of film showing an event

As more people bought TVs and VCRs, drive-ins started to disappear. But not entirely. New technology and social media is giving drive-ins a second chance. These new drive-ins are called ‘guerrilla drive-ins’. One of the first was the Liberation Drive-in held in 2009 in Oakland, California. Part of a wider protest movement, they screened news footage of protests happening the world over on the side of a building.

You don’t need cars for the Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-in in California. Organizers started theaters in fields and industrial wastelands hoping to take back the public space and transform the urban environment. Their goal is to increase awareness of public space and create a sense of community. Their location changes regularly and fans are kept up to date via their website and newsletter.

We use the hyphen (-) in the word drive-in because it is a noun made from a phrasal verb. We don’t always use a hyphen, for example ‘takeaway’ is written as one word. However when we use them as verbs we don’t use a hyphen and they must be written as two words: drive in or take away

In Victoria, Canada, there has been a guerilla drive-in since 2005. They also project films on the sides of buildings. They email the next location and movie and ask people for short films they have made to screen before the main feature.

While new technology in the form of TVs and VCRs helped cause the decline of drive-ins, technology is also bringing them back in a new form.

Original article by Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

Pop-up Movies Quiz: Medium

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Drive-ins are a part of American history. They were very popular in the 50s. After people started owning TVs and VCRs, drive-ins were less popular. Today, drive-ins could be popular again because of new technology.

These new drive-ins are called guerilla drive-ins because like guerilla soldiers they appear suddenly then disappear. One of the first was the Liberation Drive-in held in 2009 in Oakland, California. The drive-in was part of a protest movement. People came to watch news reports and see what was happening around the world.

In Santa Cruz, California, guerilla drive-ins are used to bring more people into public places and improve the condition of the city. People get the newest information about the films from the drive-in’s website.

We use the hyphen (-) in the word drive-in because it is a noun made from a phrasal verb. We don’t always use a hyphen, for example ‘takeaway’ is written as one word. However when we use them as verbs we don’t use a hyphen and they must be written as two words: drive in or take away

MobMov (short for mobile movie) is trying to bring back drive-ins too. They show films on the sides of warehouses. Mobmov is similar to old drive-ins because you have to use your car and listen to the film on your car’s radio.

At first technology almost ‘killed’ drive-ins. Today new technology is helping bring them back.

Original article by Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

Pop-up Movies Quiz: Mild

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In American lore, the drive-in theater is a part of history. It’s like old fashion diners or full service gas stations. During the drive-in theaters’ hey-day, food was fatty, cars were huge, movies were fun and people liked the experience. Now people look back upon this period of American history with nostalgia. And while cynics may claim nostalgia ain’t what it used to be – there’s no denying its romantic sentiments.

A brainchild is an original idea or plan. For example, Facebook was Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild

But back to the drive-ins. Do they still exist in America? Yes, but they are struggling. At the peak of their popularity, in the late 50s, there were just over 4,000 drive-ins across America, according to the website Drive-ins.com.  In 2007, the last year they give stats, there were 405. Most of the drive-ins were built in the late 40s-early 50s. They were the brainchild of one New Jersey chemical company magnate named Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr., who conducted theater tests in his backyard. They were advertised as entertainment for the whole family. Parents could look after a baby, kids could be noisy without bothering other movie goers, and teenagers got some alone time away from their parents.

From the heart vs. by heart: To do something from the heart means to do it for the love of it. If you memorize something by heart, it means you can remember it perfectly

As real estate prices rose and in-home entertainment possibilities like color TVs and VCRs became more prevalent, the popularity of drive-ins dried up. While the nostalgia factor is still there – the fact it is a seasonal form of entertainment, combined with the new movie projector technology required; makes running a drive-in pretty much an expensive hobby done from the heart.

However, nostalgia never leaves us, and creative people from California to Canada are reviving the tradition, albeit in a 21st century way. Using social media to promote, computers as projectors and often showing independent films, guerilla drive-ins have flashed on to the scene.

One of the first was the Liberation Drive-in held in 2009 in Oakland, California. Part of a wider protest movement, they screened news footage of protests happening the world over on the side of a building. At this event, a few cars were spotted, but many showed up on their bikes, which they later ditched to sit on the pavement closer to the ‘screen.’

‘Open air cinema’ is probably a more appropriate name for many of these theaters. The Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-in in California doesn’t require vehicles. Organizers run pop-up theaters in fields and industrial wastelands in the hopes of reclaiming public space and transforming the urban environment. Their goal with the free movies, besides pushing awareness of city space, is to promote a sense of community. Their location changes regularly with interested movie fans kept up to date via their website and newsletter. They show a mix of older movies, documentaries and family friendly films.

In Victoria, Canada, their guerilla drive-in also utilizes urban space to bring entertainment to the masses. Sides of buildings, digital projectors and low-power radio broadcast bring a range of movies to the outdoors. They email the next location and movie and ask people for short films they have made to screen before the main feature. Launched in the summer of 2005, they show mainly films from the 80s and 90s interspersed with a few classics and newer movies.

Grassroots: Though it looks like a noun, this word is mostly used as an adjective with verbs such movement or support. It means to have support from ordinary people

MobMov is a grassroots movement spreading across the US, specifically designed to bring back the drive-in; with an updated twist. Begun in Berkeley, California, they use the sides of warehouses to screen their films. Mobmov (short for mobile movie) is a drive-in that literally ‘drives-in.’ Similar to the original days of going to a drive-in, now the projector is located inside and powered by a car and the audio is shared through your car’s radio.

While technology contributed to the original decline of classic drive-ins, technology is also at the forefront of this pop-up movement.

Open air cinema can be found globally, but often as a festival or other special event. In Prague, Střelák, for example, screens films throughout the summer on Střelecký Ostrov. The magic of the guerilla drive-ins though are their combination of flash mob mentality, insider advantage and sense of community.

Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona

Pop-up Movies Quiz: Spicy

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