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Random Thoughts: New England Summer Drive-In Movie Nights

If you grew up in Massachusetts during the 1950s and 60s, do you remember drive-in movie theaters?

In summer my Uncle Fred would pile a bunch of us – all bathed and in our summer PJs – into his station wagon and take us to the drive-in theater in Dedham, about where Legacy Place is today.

There was a big playground and a concession stand where he would buy us all Hoodsies – little cups of vanilla or chocolate ice cream you ate with a flat wooden spoon. And popcorn and hotdogs and anything we wanted. He would set up the movie speaker that was attached to a post at each car so we could sit on the car hood and watch the movie. You could also watch the movie on benches scattered around.  

Of course being a Massachusetts summer, there also were mosquitoes swooping down on us, but we’d been sprayed with chemicals I’d rather not think about now, so we got through the adventure keeping most of our blood.

Bless Uncle Fred for working a full day and then bringing a bunch of loud children out for a fun summer night, and staying awake and aware of where each child was at all times. I wonder if he knew that in addition to giving our mothers a break, he was helping us make memories we’d cherish.

The great news is there are still drive-ins you can go to for a fun night under the stars. Drive-in operators are asking us to maintain social distancing and wear masks if we get out of our cars. Have fun!

The City of Boston is offering free drive-in movie screenings every Wednesday evening from July 8 to 29. The program starts at the Boston Convention & Expo Center and concludes with movie showings at 121 Halleck Street in Roxbury. They’ll even have concession stands! You can fill out the required pre-registration for each movie at www.boston.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/july-drive-movie-series

Leicester Drive-In – for 52 years this theater has been showing first-run films including double features. Route 9, 1675 Main Street, Leicester, 508.892.4400 http://www.leicesterdrivein.net

Wellfleet Drive-In – opened in 1957, it’s the only drive-in theater on Cape Cod. 51 US-6, Wellfleet, 508.349.7176 www.wellfleetcinemas.com

Northfield Drive-In – this theater on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border has been in business for 70 years! 981 Northfield Road, Hinsdale NH, 603.239.4054 www.northfielddrivein.com

Did you go to the drive-in where you grew up? If so, which one was your favorite?

XO Brenda

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Bev Dow
Bev Dow
3 years ago

Brenda, thinking about those memories brings tears and joy to me!! I love how you touched upon those days xo

3 years ago

I loved going to the drive-in growing up. We would go to the Natick and also the Edgemere Drive-in on Route 20, I think it was in Millbury. So many fond memories as you stated of snack bar and playground before the Double feature started. I believe that the drive-in in Mendon, MA, which is owned by the Phantom Gourmet brothers is now operating.

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