72. A Night at the Drive-In

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Many years ago, one of the best ways to spend a Saturday night with your girlfriend was to take her to the drive-in. Drive-in theaters were first opened in Southern California because of the car culture that exists here. People could go see a movie in the comfort and privacy of their own car. I remember the first time I went to a drive-in. I was 18 years old and was dating my future wife Caroline. We went on a double-date with my best friend Alfred and his girl Jeannie. The drive-in we visited that night was called the Starlight. It was close to home, and it had the best sound system of all the drive-ins. It also had a huge screen. We went to see "Forrest Gump" that night, mainly because Carol wanted to see it. "I heard it is a great movie," she said. I really didn't know anything about the movie, but I did want to see something.

"Forrest Gump" was indeed one of the best movies ever made. It had everything -- humor, drama, tragedy, and triumph. It is a great film. Watching it that night under the stars with Carol on my arm was the greatest night. "I tell you babe, I was wrong about this movie. I really liked it," I said. She just smiled and gave me a hug. Alfred and Jeannie were busy kissing in the back seat, which is another advantage of going to a drive-in.

Those old drive-ins were around for decades, but soon after "Forrest Gump" came out, many of them started closing. They closed because of the new multiplex theaters popping up all over the country. People had a choice of many films to watch at those theaters, and soon the drive-in was gone. In Los Angeles, there is only one remaining drive-in I know of -- the Vineland. There might be more, but I don't know where. It is sad to see them go, but the memories are still with me.

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