Northfield closes 2014 with a wedding

Northfield Drive-In TheaterThe Recorder of Greenfield MA ran an article recapping the 2014 season for the no-longer-endangered Northfield Drive-In, just barely across the border from Northfield MA in Hinsdale NH. But the Recorder buried the lede: The Northfield will cap off the season with a special private affair – a wedding.

Northfield owner Mitchell Shakour was quoted as saying that because of a lack of strong movies, Hollywood’s 2014 summer was down 22 percent, but attendance at the Northfield was down just 8 percent. With slightly higher ticket prices and a 10 percent growth of concession sales, the gross was about even with last year.

Then way down near the end of the article came the fun news of Sept. 13. “We’ll be hosting our first-ever wedding at the drive-in,” Shakour explained. “They’re going to have dinner, drinks and a band, and when it gets dark they’re going to put on a film or two.”

For much more, including a scary tale of condensation nearly destroying the digital projector, you know you really should go read it!

Boston Public Radio discusses New England drive-ins

Saco Drive-In ticket booth

Saco Drive-In, photo by Joe Shlabotnik

We do love our video here, but Carload also appreciates hearing great audio. Boston Public Radio station WGBH hosted a 14-minute interview with film critic Garen Daly to discuss drive-in memories and the outlook for drive-in theaters in the future. You can listen to it here.

Yet another feature of this New England drive-in roundup is a list of all the surviving drive-ins in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, along with the dates they were born.

One thing that often strikes me is when someone, as during this interview, brings up the movie American Graffiti when discussing drive-in theaters. The centerpiece of American Graffiti was a drive-in restaurant, but there were no theaters depicted in that movie. Anyway, despite that minor irritant, I think you ought to go listen.

Northfield announces its plans tomorrow

Northfield Drive-In TheaterThe Recorder of Greenfield MA ran an article and an editorial this week about the Northfield Drive-In, just barely across the border from Northfield MA in Hinsdale NH. This Saturday, on the Northfield’s 65th birthday, owner Mitchell Shakour plans to announce whether he’ll invest in digital projection equipment and all of the updates it wil require. For the drive-in, it could be a matter of life and death.

Shakour, who has run the theater with his wife since 1978, told The Recorder that he didn’t know what his decision would be. “Were looking at it seriously,” Shakour said. He has visited similar, eponymous drive-ins in Mendon MA and Milford NH, and he planned to visit the Hollywood Drive-in near Troy NY on Thursday. “The trip to Troy should be the final straw,” he said.

Meanwhile, kudos to The Recorder for stepping up with an editorial in favor of the Northfield’s survival. Shakour had said that we was uncomfortable accepting donations, but The Recorder suggested a Kickstarter campaign. It also suggested that patrons could visit the Northfield’s Facebook page to let the owners know how they feel about the drive-in. The editorial concluded, “Let them know that they want the Northfield Drive-In to be back for many summers to come, and would be willing to kick-start that effort.”

For much more on the history of the Northfield, and to learn which way Shakour said he’s leaning, go read it!