I hate Daylight Saving Time – that’s a singular “Saving”, the correct way to write it. I don’t like tweaking all my clocks twice a year. I don’t like losing an hour of sleep in the spring. And I don’t like what it does to drive-ins.
DST was never kind to drive-ins. For much of the country, the only months warm enough to operate a drive-in coincide with DST, and the result is a one-hour delay in the start of each evening’s program. For me, the difference between driving home at 10:30 and driving home at 11:30 is the difference between weeknight and weekend-only visits. And I’m sure I’m not the only patron who sees it that way.
The US nationally standardized Uniform Time Act that took effect in 1967 wasn’t a Chicxulub-meteor extinction event for drive-ins, but it was at least a chilling breeze to drive-in owners. Suburban sprawl took a stronger role by changing edge-of-town sites into prime development land, then premium cable channels and the VCR pulled away a hefty chunk of the drive-in’s audience. Expanding indoor theaters battled drive-ins for the remaining movie-going crowd, and with DST, the drive-in was always at a disadvantage. If DST wasn’t a killer, it was at least a burden.
There’s no annual Sprawl day or VCR festival, so the start of DST is my best chance to rail against the forces that closed so many drive-ins. My only other reminder is when we get the hour back in November, and for that weekend, well that extra hour of sleep feels pretty good.