Photo #N26-20

Nite Hawk Drive-in #1
Screen Detail

April /04 Road Trip, Day 3 -- 3:41 PM:

I was heading west, exploring back around in a big circle toward where I began earlier in the day. I was feeling generally uninspired and a bit frustrated by the towns I had been scouting as possible locations for the night's shooting. Sometimes on these road trips, you have a run of good luck. Sometimes you don't. This seemed to be one of those times. But my luck was about to change in the blink of an eye.

I'm not sure what made me glance off to the left as I passed the small town. After all, the town was on the right. But I did, and something way off in the distance caught my eye. It was a drive-in screen! Hmm... I continued to drive along as I mulled this over. The thought process went something like this:

"Gee, I've never shot a drive-in before. And I'd love to! But what's to say it is even abandoned? That quick glimpse of the screen didn't reveal any missing panels. On the other hand, maybe I should at least have a look. I've pretty much given up hope of finding a drive-in I can shoot -- they're getting rarer every year -- but can I afford not to at least check it out? Hmm... It's getting further and further away. Why bother now? But man, what if it's the perfect photo op'???

I continued along for another minute or so, and finally decided that I couldn't live with wondering if I was passing up my first and last opportunity to shoot an abandoned drive-in at night. I turned the van around at the next intersection and headed back.

It was a good thing that I did! The drive-in was definitely closed, and was probably disused for some time already. The screen was indeed in good condition but the ticket booth was badly weathered. The concession building sat in the middle of what had become an overgrown field. It was perfect! I scouted the rest of the location briefly then went on my way, returning after dark to shoot what would become the highlight of my April road trip.


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