Many who grew up in the 30’s and 40’s remember fondly the days of the old drive-in theaters that used to dot the landscape across the American heartland. During those years and up through the 60’s, they remained a popular way for families to enjoy a night of entertainment together to watch a newly released Hollywood blockbuster film.
As years passed, so did the allure of drive-in theaters as technological advancements pushed aside the once wonderful appeal of a night out with family or friends. Technological advances not only impacted drive-in theaters but, over time, also affected video stores, the most well known probably being Blockbuster Video. Opening in 1985 in Dallas, TX, at its height, Blockbuster had 9000 stores globally and $5.9 billion in sales. As of August of this year, it had one store remaining in Bend, OR.
While not a drive-in theater per se, a program started several years ago by the Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department, known as the “Movie in the Park,” has become a welcomed offering for families on the island. “This has become an increasingly popular event for our families and has grown in popularity for all age groups,” says Samantha Malloy, Manager of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. “We are extremely pleased to have Steve Stefanides, Chairman of Christmas Island Style (CIS), offer to help sponsor the event this year, which will be presented on Friday, December 18, starting at 5:30 pm at Veterans Community Park near the Christmas tree. The movie this year will be “Surviving Christmas,” Starring Ben Affleck.
“Christmas Island Style over the last several years also has underwritten the cost of the Cookies and Milk with Santa Event where Mr. and Mrs. Claus were brought in by helicopter to Mackle Park. This added an additional level of excitement to that event which we wouldn’t have been able to afford,” said Malloy.
The Christmas Island Style Committee also joined with Siegel Dental and the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce to present the Christmas movie “Elf,” starring Will Farrell, last Friday at Veterans Community Park. “We were pleased to be able to be able to bring some Christmas smiles to the island due to the generosity of both Dr. Siegel and the Christmas Island Style Committee,” said Donna Niemczyk, Events Coordinator for the Chamber. This was the second movie presented by the Chamber in the last month, and they are planning for more.
“The sponsorship of these two movies was a wonderful way for the CIS Committee to help promote the Christmas Spirit on the island during these challenging times. It is sort of fun to see something from the past, such as drive-in movies, give so much joy once again,” said Tom Wagor, a CIS Board Member.