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Walnut Creek Magazine

Digging the Drive-In

The entertainment industry, like so many others, has been hit hard by the coronavirus. Studios have shut down film productions or delayed them. Once Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed, will people want to go back to movie theaters, sitting in close proximity and breathing the same air? Of course, we can wear masks and sit at least 6-feet apart, but munching popcorn is another matter. It seems there may be only one easy way to see a movie in public—at a drive-in theater.


Once a staple of American society, drive-ins faded from our culture to the point where it is reported only 350 remain in the country today, down from a peak of close to 4,000 in the 1950s. Fortunately, there’s been a slight renaissance of this entertainment tradition. Dolby sound has erased the tinny ‘squak’ boxes of yesteryear and digital projection on two screens makes an old school experience modern. Several of the new drive-ins that opened in the Bay Area over the last few years are bound to see an upswing in popularity. Some of the best rated include Concord’s Solano Drive-In, Marin’s Mobile Drive-In Movie, Oakland’s New Parkway Theater, and San Jose’s Capitol Drive-in. For now, drive-ins remain closed under Covid-19 orders giving them time to develop strategies for the near future. –PS

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