Northfield Drive In – Help Us Survive Digital Conversion!

It is predicted that within the next year we will be forced to make the conversion to digital projection equipment here at the Northfield Drive-In Theatre. The digital conversion is the most significant advancement of technology in the movie industry since the introduction of audio soundtracks in the late 1920s. Just as the introduction of “talkies” led to the end of the “silent” movie era, digital projection technology will mean the end of 35mm film. This will be an enormous expense for us, especially given the fact that we are only a seasonal business.

If we are to survive this transition, we need your support in our snack bar, now more than ever! Strong concession sales are the only means of financing this huge capital investment. It is expected that more than half of the remaining 366 drive-in theatres in the US will be forced to close their doors. That would mean less than 200 surviving drive-ins, in an industry that was once more than 4,000 theatres strong. So as one means of supporting us we ask that you patronize our snack bar.

For over 64 years, we have endured through thick and thin as the only original family-owned and operated drive-in in the tri-state area! However, we will not survive this technological upgrade without your strong support in 2012. We strive to keep this lasting piece of Americana on the map here on Route 63, and we hope that you will help us endure this coming transition.

Thank you for your support!

– Northfield Drive-In Theatre

Comments | 11

  • a way to help

    An anonymous reader says:

    “Project Drive-In wants to preserve this iconic part of American car culture. So they’re taking the first step by starting a drive-in fund and donating 5 digital projectors. Your vote decides where they go.

    Here’s what you can do right now to help our prevent drive-in from fading to black:

    You can vote once a day. Please take a moment to help save our drive in.”

    • Thanks for the Project Drive-In link!

      Thanks for the link to the Project Drive-In contest. I see that the Northfield DI is already selected, excellent work. (Unless it was ‘selected’ on my computer because a cookie was left behind when I voted for it yesterday.) Folks can vote once a day (hint, hint).

      • Gotta go to drive-ins

        It’s pre-selected in the link, making it easy to go vote for Northfield.

        Going to a drive-in was always more than simply going to a movie. Part of the fun when I was a kid was picking your parking space, grabbing your speaker and putting it on the window ledge, and seeing who else is around you. Look, a VW bug! Hey, they have a station wagon with wood panels! Wow, a pickup truck backed in, with a couch in back. Cool!

        Trips to the concessions stand were a must. The animated hot dogs and dancing mustard bottles demanded it.

        I remember seeing the opening to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on an enormous drive-in theater screen near Auburn, NY. Amazing.

        Leaving was always a bit like leaving an amusement park after a day of fun. Kids didn’t want it to end. We’d be peering back, trying to catch a glimpse of the movie starting up for the later show. The sound would fade into the distance, the view would get obstructed, and we’d head home.

        Anyone here care to admit to sneaking in via the trunk? How did that go?

        • um, er...

          Well, I wasn’t the one in the car to do the actual sneaking, but I will admit that I was fully a participant in the plot. A bunch of us teenagers had enough money for everyone to get in, or for one less than all of us plus another bottle of Boones Farm apple wine… Of course we opted for the more wine, as one of the folks in the car assured us he knew how to sneak in without being caught. And we paid for everyone left in the car, got ourselves nicely settled, and the movie was just about to start and our extra person joined us, when the manager firmly yet politely knocked on the car window and very definitively kicked us out. We were left with 2 hours and some wine to kill before we could show our faces at home, so off we went to find a nice field to drink in. Next morning, some friends of my parents stopped by and were talking about taking their two young girls to the movies, but didn’t know anything about what was playing. My mom very kindly volunteered my brother, some of our friends who had stayed overnight, and me, to tell them all about the movie we had gone to. Oh, holy *%#@. I really hate lying, but found myself to be a very good liar as a teenager… I could hardly remember the name of the movie we had supposedly seen, much less knew what it was about and whether it was suitable for young children, but managed to make some comments that really didn’t say much, but sounded like they did. And then found a reason to exit the room very quickly!!

  • I like it!

    Thanks for the link to this. I’ve been reading about it in the papers not only around here, but also in a small local paper I receive in the mail from my home county back in Michigan. The Cherry Bowl Drive-In has many great memories for me as a kid growing up in a place where there wasn’t that much to do. I guess you can’t vote for the same drive-in twice…? I was hoping to keep voting for the same drive-in once a day until the deadline, but it wouldn’t let me. If that’s the case, I’ll kick a few votes elsewhere. If anyone likes the whole idea but doesn’t have a preferred drive-in, please consider the Cherry Bowl as a vote? They’re a great family that owns it, who’s gone through the loss of a family member in the recent past. Not only that, the community support of the place is amazing. Again, thanks!

  • Maybe you could start a

    Maybe you could start a kickstarter campaign. I’m sure there’s lots of people who would love to help.

  • Keep voting!

    I’ve been voting and texting daily, although sometimes it seems the site gets sluggish or I’m not sure my vote has ben received, but I’ll keep trying.

    Just commenting to bump this back up into currently visible status…

    • And again

      Good idea. I’ll do it, too. Go Northfield!

      I remember driving around Buffalo as a kid and seeing massive Drive In complexes with multiple screens and big, soundless movies playing on them in the distance. It was a must-attend summer destination.

  • Open tonight

    You can go to a movie at Northfield tonight. I was looking at their policies and found this gem:

    “We will never close due to rain. Even if you are the only person present we will show the movie just for you.”

  • Voting ends this Monday

    So you have 2 more chances, Sunday and Monday!

  • I liked it, now I love it!

    Hooray!! The Cherry Bowl Drive-In was the second-day winner of one of the projectors! I’m surprised I got so caught up in this, but it was a worthwhile cause and it’s been a fun thing with local ties to keep up on. As a sidenote, I’m crossing my fingers for Northfield as well!

Leave a Reply