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The first drive-in movie theater -- a primitive setup with two drop cloths, a projector, and an FM transmitter -- began showing flicks on June 6, 1933, in Camden, New Jersey. By 1958, about 5,000 others had opened around the country, their tall screens and the night air attracting film lovers of all kinds, from families to romantic couples. Just last year, the drive-in movie theater celebrated its 75th birthday, and the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association (yep, there is such a thing) proudly reports that there are 381 working drive-ins around the United States today. So grab some snacks (unfortunately, most of the carhops have shuttered) and pull the car into a comfy spot at one of these five year-round drive-in movie theaters.


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East of Los Angeles, between State Highway 60 and the I-10 freeway, you’ll find the recently restored MISSION TIKI DRIVE-IN THEATRE. Cruise on up to the ticket booth (inside a tiki hut), and then order food (including hot dogs, popcorn, or Mexican) from the tiki-adorned snack bar. Four screens play double features -- all first-run flicks -- beginning at 7:30 p.m. daily. Check the website for news of classic-movie nights or theme evenings (like Punk Rock Drive-In or Tiki Invasion). $7; 10810 Ramona Avenue, Montclair, California; (909) 627-3564; www.missiontiki.com

A stone’s throw from the Vegas Strip is WEST WIND LAS VEGAS 5 DRIVE-IN , a five-screen theater with double features nightly beginning at 7:30 p.m. Restless kids will love the playground, and a concession stand appeals to all ages, because what’s a movie without a tub of popcorn? $6.25; 4150 West Carey Avenue, North Las Vegas; (702) 646-3565; www.westwindpublicmarkets.com

Be the first to get news of GALAXY DRIVE-IN THEATRE’s schedule via its Twitter feed. Double features on each of the four screens begin at seven p.m. weeknights and an hour later on the weekends. The concession stand sells a range of hot and cool snacks, from tamales to giant pickles. $6; 5301 North IH-45, Ennis, Texas; (972) 875-5505; www.galaxydriveintheatre.com

Each night at 7:30 p.m., three screens light up with double features at SOUTH BAY DRIVE-IN THEATRES in San Diego. Friday and Saturday nights’ late shows allow you to see the first movie again or to just start your night later. Sometimes, the roster includes classic movies (such as Lolita or Bonnie & Clyde) for a retro rewind. $7; 2170 Coronado Avenue, San Diego; (619) 423-2727; www.southbaydrivein.com

DEPENDABLE DRIVE-IN is a favorite mini getaway for Pittsburgh residents. Its three screens show all first-run films daily at 7:30 p.m., 9:05 p.m., 9:10 p.m., 10:05 p.m., and 10:30 p.m. Make sure to drop by the concession stand and peruse its dollar menu (which includes hot dogs). $6; 500 Moon Clinton Road, Coraopolis , Pennsylvania; (412) 264-7011; www.dependabledrivein.com


STARRING ROLE

 

Drive-ins have played a central part in many films, including these:

American Graffiti

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Twister

Back to the Future Part III

Now and Then

The Outsiders