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The Last Drive In

The 1930’s will always be remembered as the decade of The Great Depression. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom in the 30’s. For instance, a New Jersey man opened the very first drive-in movie theatre in 1933. The outdoor movie craze caught on like wild-fire all across the country.

The drive-in movie theatre’s peak of popularity came in the late 50’s and early 60’s – with some 4,000 drive-ins spreading across the United States.

Here in Nebraska, there were once more than 50 drive-in theatres.
Today sadly, there are just two. One is in Alliance and, as I found out on a recent trip to Antelope County, the other is in Neligh.

I know from experience, nothing says says summer is on it’s way, like opening night at the drive-in movie theatre.

A year ago, the Starlite Drive-in was on the verge of extinction. Stacy Klabenes didn’t want it to go away, so he bought it. His reasoning was nostalgically simple, “Cause I have a lot of fond memories here. Just packin’ a bunch of friends in the pickup and comin’ here, watchin movies, bringin’ girls here.

Neligh’s Emily Anderson makes the most of this annual tradition, “We’ve all been coming here since we were really little, cause it’s always been here I guess, it’s just something we always look forward to in the summer.”

In Lancaster County, I received some good news this week from the City of Hickman, where they say their long-term plans include the building of a new drive-in movie theatre as part of their master parks plan.