As Cleveland savors a bit of unseasonable 70-degree weather this Friday, North Ridgeville’s Aut-O-Rama Twin Drive-In Theater opens with four movies that few of us are in any hurry to see. Still, drive-in devotees will likely show up in droves to see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson don wings as the Tooth Fairy despite the movie’s cringe-inducing reviews since its January release. Why? The drive-in is an experience – just ask the Aut-O-Rama’s 2,400 Facebook fans.
Some of us will always recall seeing our first flick stretched out on the car hood in footed jammies, our back reclining against the cool windshield, fingers interlaced behind our head as we mirrored our dad. Others remember making out in the back seat, because, as we’ve learned from the movies, that’s what you’re supposed to do at the drive-in. I smile when I think about taking my fluffy white dog to see Rob Zombie’s rendition of “Halloween.” Parked on the passenger seat, I knew she’d save me if Michael Myers came a’knockin’ in that hockey mask. (Note: the drive-in no longer allows dogs.) But, for the majority of us, the drive-in is all about the glorious, often deep-fried, food:French fries, cheese sticks, jalapeno poppers, corn dogs, quarter-pound cheeseburgers, fiestadas and nachos. The Aut-O-Rama’s snack bar is an anorexic’s nightmare.
With only around 375 drive-in theaters left in the country, we’re lucky to have had this family-owned jewel for 45 years. So I, for one, will be at the Aut-O-Rama this weekend, funnel cake in hand. And with last year’s lighting issue resolved, I won’t have to wear shades while watching the double-feature.