Returning to the Sky Vue

food snack popcorn movie theater

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WORDS FROM W.W.                                          April 27, 2020

Driving by the empty movie theater parking lot is strange. It brings me back to the days of boarded-up Blockbusters. Who would have thought that would happen? And now who knows when theaters will have vehicles parked in them for the evening showings?

Maybe it’s time to bring back the drive-in theaters!

When I was growing up in Winchester, Kentucky, my parents would load my brother, sister, and me into the car and head out to Sky Vue Drive-In Theater on Lexington Road, just a few miles out of town.

We’d already have our pajamas on, complete with fitted feet. (To this day I can’t wear socks on my feet at night. Maybe it goes back to the memories of their incarcerations in those smothering pajama feet!) Because we were PJ’ed we were never allowed to play on the swing set and slide down front by the giant screen. Mom and Dad were wise people. I’m sure they thought about three sweaty kids smelling up the Ford and making the family outing seem like we were in a middle school boy’s lockerroom.

It seems that I, being the youngest, always sat in the front seat between Mom and Dad. I was the insurance that they wouldn’t start smooching and causing my brother and sister, sitting behind them, to start gagging.

Mom would have popped popcorn and Dad had gathered a few bottles of RC Cola for the trip. The images of a dancing soft drink and bucket of popcorn trying to lure people to the little white stone building that served as the concession stand didn’t work on us. Mom made good popcorn anyway. We always ate it on Sunday nights as we watched The Ed Sullivan Show. Sky Vue outings were the only other time Mom would make it.

I remember watching The Bridge Over The River Kwai at the Sky Vue. I think we may have seen an Elvis Presley movie there once or twice, as well. Presley didn’t impress me as much as the army movies. Being four years old, gyrating hips weren’t understood yet. As Elvis swayed, I never thought about what my mom was thinking about. Still don’t!

Dad would hang the speaker on the driver’s side window and, if the mosquitoes weren’t too bad, keep the windows down most of the way to allow the pleasant Bluegrass breeze to float through.

Sky Vue always had a double-feature, but I never kept my eyes open for more than the first five minutes of the second movie. I’d lean against one of my parents and drift off into a distant Dreamland, where PayDay’s and Pepsi’s were the main menu items.

And then I’d wake up the next morning in my bed, magically transported there sometime during my slumber.

Those were good days. The Sky Vue opened in 1948 and finally closed in 2014. Judging from the last Yelp reviews, its closure was probably about twenty years past when it should have. But, maybe, just maybe, it’s time for drive-ins to make a comeback. Maybe it’s time for new families to be able to Bluetooth in the sound of the main feature on the screen, and girlfriends snuggle up to their latest squeeze, who is having a hard time staying focused on the film.

I’d go. Maybe even position the grandkids in the backseat! The only problem now would be that I’d be asleep five minutes into the second feature and they’d still be wide awake.


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One Comment on “Returning to the Sky Vue”

  1. Edward Stucky Says:

    FYI, the intersection of Barnes and Austin Bluffs is odd shaped because a drive-in used to be where McDonalds and those other businesses now sit. And, the Movie Manor Motel/Drive-In is still open in Monte Vista, CO. Watch the movie out your motel room window.

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