We had over 2,000 people show up to be a part of KMOX Night At The Skyview Drive-In last night, and a good time was had by all.
Since I hadn't been to a drive-in movie in a couple of decades (I think the last time was when I hosted a premiere of "Urban Cowboy" circa 1980), this was a great throwback night for me. With only 400 drive-in theaters left in the country, opportunities like this are getting scarce.
For an admission price of $11.20 per carload, we had families and couples stuffed into every size vehicle you can imagine. Many of them have been drive-in regulars, so they knew the routine, which now includes bringing lawn chairs and watching the movie while outside your vehicle. With the audio being broadcast on the Skyview's low-power FM transmitters, people either cranked up the radios in the back of their SUVs, or brought portable radios (as we did). It was very odd to be able to get up and walk around the parking lot without missing a word of dialogue.
There's something very American about sitting outside on a summer evening, watching a movie under a full moon and just a few clouds, while surrounded by hundreds of cars and people of all ages and races. Oh sure, there are some distractions, like a couple of nearby train whistles, or the kid who tried to jump high enough in front of the projector to create a shadow on the screen, and it's been years since we've been to a movie where people nearby were smoking. But if you can't put up with those small distractions, you probably should have gone to a regular movie theater in the first place.
Of course, then you wouldn't have seen a hundred kids all playing in the playground together for 90 minutes before the movies started, and the patience of the crowd as they waited to get through the front gates or into the snack bar building, or the family that goes to the Skyview so often that they have bolted down reclining chaise lounges into the bed of their pickup truck so they're comfortable while enjoying the show.
It was also a little weird to see two movies in a row -- what's the last time you sat through a double feature? I was pleasantly surprised to see that very few cars headed for the exits during intermission (the ones that did were probably families with younger kids who were worn out by that point, with the second movies starting at 10:30pm).
During that intermission, as we gave away movie paraphernalia to the assembled masses, my KMOX colleague Carol Daniel and I also interviewed Skyview co-owner Steve Bloomer, who regaled the crowd with the history of the drive-in, from the day his family opened it in 1949, through the tornado that took down the screen in 1955, to another windstorm that knocked down the screen in 1981, through the day they decided to get rid of the speakers on the poles, and right up to the current status of the place. Steve reiterated that yes, the Skyview is for sale, but there's no deal yet, so they'll keep running movies into mid-October, and then probably open again for a new season next April.
My thanks to Steve and his sister Janie and their entire staff for making this an evening to remember. If the drive-in is still around next year, I hope we can do another KMOX Night At The Skyview -- and hope you can join us, too.
We have more photos from last night posted at KMOX.com.