Next Attraction: A Drive-In Theater!

Today’s teenagers have out on a lot of things:

Dial phones. Dial-up modems. Drive-in movies.

Stephen Rowland is a very involved Staples High School senior. Among other activities he’s a varsity soccer player, serves meals at the Gillespie Center, and is a Homes With Hope youth board member.

A year ago, his father casually mentioned drive-in movies. Intrigued by the concept, Stephen searched online for more.

Kids: This was how America used to roll.

Kids: This was how America used to roll.

Not long after, the Homes With Hope youth board was casting about for a new, exciting fundraiser.


Producing a pop-up drive-in movie in Westport is not easy. But Stephen and the rest of the youth board found a company with a 40-foot screen, projector and sound system.

Compo Beach — near the kayak launch — seemed like the perfect spot.

Permits were needed, from town commissions. But Stephen and his peers pushed hard.

“The idea of driving up to a movie, not getting out of your car, being comfortable and having fun, is pretty cool,” Stephen says.

So this Saturday (October 1, 7 p.m.), “Ghostbusters” — a 1984 classic chosen for its broad appeal to kids, teenagers and parents — will be shown on what is believed to be Westport’s 1st-ever drive-in movie screen.

The only other better choice would be “Back to the Future.”

(The Westport Cinema Initiative is a partner with this project. The cost is $30 per car — cheap enough so that no one has to hide in the trunk. Besides, proceeds benefit Homes With Hope. Beach stickers are not required. Joey’s by the Shore will be open for food. For more information, click here.)

13 responses to “Next Attraction: A Drive-In Theater!

  1. That sounds like it could be an annual event. Great idea. By the way there are 2 “real” drive in movies in CT, my favorite: I was telling my kids about the old days and my wife tracked these down for a Father’s Day outing. Old fashion family fun and still preserved like it used to be except no window speakers, you use the car radio or boom box. Just remember to mind your car battery if you go that way. Go early and all the kids play together in front of the big screen…bring a soccer ball or football, all are welcome. They even have an old fashion snack stand. Affordable together time, like it used to be.

  2. That is an awesome endeavor !!! My sister lives in Robinson, Pa and they still have a drive-in. i remember one of the highlights was going to the concession stand.

  3. Fabulous – great thinking, Stephen! And Homes with Hope and Westport CInema Initiative are involved…win-win-win. And a great weather forecast!

  4. Great idea!! Thanks for posting this Dan. I hadn’t seen anything about it. We will be there.

  5. Wendy Kramer Posner

    Does anyone recall the Norwalk Drive-In Theater on the Post Road? I remember a vast field of parking places marked by posts holding clunky speakers, that broadcast tinny sound. Viewers pulled in (best to be away from the overhead lights) and attached a metal speaker box to their car window. The parking rows were raked so the front tires of the car were slightly raised – easier to see the screen. In the middle of the place was a concrete hut with a food concession. Bad pizza – this was before nachos became a moving going staple.
    What goes around …….

  6. you will hear my bass playing on that Elmer Bernstein score.. lots of fun in
    the booth with Bill, Dan, and Harold. Hollywood had never been quite like that before.

  7. Matthew Mandell

    Great Job Steven. If I didn’t have other plans, which I cannot break, I’d be there. I love drive ins.

    Everyone make sure your windshield is clean or just bring a chair and sit outside. HAVE FUN!!!!

  8. What a fantastic idea. I’d be there, except I’m going out of town. Hope it’s a great success and I’ll come next year.

  9. Yes! I remember the drive-in!! Corner of Scriber Ave/CT Ave (aka US RT 1 or Post Rd). It’s where Best Buy sites now. Way back then it was Rickles (the 2 men who used to work for Rickles started Home Depot)
    US RT 1 from Norwalk to Westport has changed. A lot

  10. Drive in movies were the absolute greatest in my day!!! I grew up in New Jersey, and we had a huge drive in theater where we all just had the most
    wonderful times – speakers were put on our windows as we sat in the car – watched the movie and ate lots of snacks — snacks were available at a large stand more or less in the middle of the “theater” ‘
    They were also great for parents with little kids — they had the kids in their pajamas, and they (the kids) could just curl up and go to sleep
    AH, those were the days!!!

  11. Katherine Bruan


  12. Margaret Hart Rynshall

    The last time I saw a drive-in movie was the summer of ’71 on Cape Cod. The movie was “The Summer of ’42” and yes, we hid in the back of a van. You knew I couldn’t pass up the chance to mention this memory, did you, Dan?