In the summer of 1986, before we all spread to the four corners for college, my high school buddies gathered at the North Division Y drive-in to see “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” They’d already announced that summer would be the drive-in’s last, so it felt like a fun way to say goodbye to Spokane and goodbye to a neighborhood institution. I recall the evening being bittersweet.
The S-R’s online producer Alison Boggs asked our Facebook friends what movies they most remember seeing at Inland Northwest drive-in theaters. A sampling of their responses is below.
“Saturday Night Fever.” East Sprague Drive In. Just a carload of friends, lawn chairs and munchies.
Michelle Thoreson Madonna
“Monster University” last summer at the Auto-Vue Drive In Theatre. Took my 26- and 23-year old daughters for the first time, along with my 4-year-old granddaughter. I had to let them experience sitting in the back of a pickup with blankets and pillows like most of us did when we were young. We all LOVED it!
Beth Graham Budke
I don’t remember which drive-in it was, but I remember the movie: “Star Wars.” My sister and I were dressed in our footie pajamas, hanging out in the back of my parents’ Subaru station wagon, with a big brown paper bag full of popcorn to share. My sister fell asleep before they even left Tatooine, but I was hooked on sci-fi from then on.
Kettle Falls drive in seeing double feature “Independence Day” and “Phenomenon.” Camping and leaving camp to go fall asleep at the movies in the bed of the truck.
“Jaws” at the West End and “Jurassic Park” at East Sprague. … The latter was our daughter’s first drive-in … imagine a two year old seeing those big dinosaurs on the screen.
“Dawn of the Dead,” at the Newport Highway Drive-In … with two other teen girls who had an extremely high sense of imagination! We had to move because the hook up speaker wasn’t working!
Debbie Duchow Rauen
My boyfriend wanted to see “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” and told me what a great film it was. We went to see it at the North Cedar Drive-In. The movie was horrible … he fell asleep and I was stuck watching it.
“City Slickers” at East Sprague. Dad would put a mattress on the top of the old suburban for us kids. I think there was a Disney movie that played before the “adult” movie. Mom would make us big bags of popcorn with lots of real butter and salt. Those truly were the good ol’ days.
My boyfriend and I took off with the speaker still on the window. We realized it after we took off and just kept it.
Margie Montague Gannon
What! People watched the movies? Oops.
“Star Wars” at the Vue Dale Drive-In Theater in Wenatchee in 1977. The wife of the moment and I took my parents to see it – I thought they would love the movie, but they were/are very old school, and were very “ho hum” about “Star Wars.” The closing of that drive-in in 2010 even made the Seattle Times. I remember the theater best from having snuggled with my first girlfriend there as a high school senior – she was visiting me from Olympia. I have no idea what played that night, LOL.
Holly Hoffman Engh
My memories are pretty vague due to my age (3 or 4), but I remember my parents hiding neighbor kids in the back seat under blankets of our enormous station wagon and swinging on the swing set until the movie started. My favorite had to have been “Bambi” out on Trent, when I accidentally hit the horn sitting on dad’s lap and the whole joint turned into an orchestra of horns that seemed to last for a long time. I personally have fantastic memories from the drive in theater experience.
Shannon Bahr Allert
“Doctor Zhivago” at the North Cedar. … My first drive-in movie, obviously with my parents. … We wore pajamas and played on the swings and watched the dancing hot dogs and were asleep in the backseat, probably before opening credits. … My parents were brilliant!
Marilyn Strong Taylor
My husband and I went to the movie “The Poseidon Adventure” at the Auto View Drive-In for our first date 40 years ago. It was on North Division close to where the old Lowes building is now.
Getting all my friends and we piled into a Ford Ranger for the last show of the East Sprague Drive-in Theater in 1993 – still have the newspaper clipping.
The most memorable thing I remember was the back seat. There was a movie?