“What is a drive in?” E asked when she found out what our adventure for the evening would be.
I tried to explain but the concept was a little too far out of grasp for description to suffice. She insisted she understood, but over the next few hours questions such as “Will it be cold in the theater?” betrayed her confusion. In spite of our explanations, as the sun set and we pulled up to the Beacon in Guthrie, she stared at the mammoth screen in bewilderment and awe. Finally able to see the screen and speakers and how it all worked, she took in the view around her with new found understanding and began to bubble with glee bouncing around us while helping with unloading blankets and pillows from the truck. As she excitedly watched the other patrons and sprawled out on the makeshift palette in the truck’s bed, I remembered trips to the drive in when I was a child and what they meant to me.
I remember the thrill of seeing a new movie coupled with feeling very adult being out late after dark. Then there was the treat of a pretzel or tray of radioactive orange cheese covered nachos (junk food was a treat when I was a child, not a standard). But mostly I remember the thrill of going to a place where we were together as a family, out and about but doing something that was quality, rather than overwhelming. There is a beauty in that simple concept that only becomes tangible with maturity.
And because it was E’s first trip to the drive in, she wanted to help write about the Beacon experience for this entry:
“All of it was cool at the drive in, like sitting in the back of the truck. The music boxes were pretty cool. I like sitting with my Claudy and my dad watching the movie, it was pretty cool with you guys at the drive in. Like eating a big pretzel, that whole part was awesome. When I got to sit in the truck outside that was pretty awesome too.”
Every sunset since that evening, E asks if we are going to the drive in. It is a truly beautiful thing to see a new generation fall in love with such an icon of the past.
The Beacon Drive In, located at 2404 S. Division in Guthrie Oklahoma, was built in 1949 and opened April 22, 1950. It has been in continuous operation since then under the ownership of three generations of the Powell family. Open every night April through October, the twelve acre theater has a 450 car capacity and based on our experience seems to be very well supported by the local community. Even on a Sunday night, the drive in was packed to near capacity with cars full of families. Best of all, the Powell family has maintained their speaker boxes, so you needn’t use your radio to hear the movie, although both are options. A cash only operation, admission is $7 per adult and $3 for children 3-11 years of age. For more information, visit www.beacondrive-in.com or call 405-282-4512.