It's more than just nostalgia that brings movie-goers to back Moon and Robinson's drive-in movie theaters, both of which can trace their roots to the 1950s.
“You don’t have to sit next to a stranger and hit their elbows and you can talk to the person you came with and you don’t hear, ‘Shh,'” said Dan Tice, a co-owner of the Twin Hi-Way.
A fixture in Robinson since the 1950s, the Twin Hi-Way closed for a period of time before reopening six years ago. Tice said he and his business partner are more interested in entertaining the community than turning a profit.
“I like to have something for the families to come out and see,” Tice said.
On a typical movie night, families flock to the outdoor showings.
“Well you get to see two movies for the price of one,” said Kim Tremal. of Reserve Township, as she sat in a lawn chair surrounded by her family.
For Tremal the drive-ins are a way to bond with family and they try to attend showings once a week.
Both both outdoor theaters offer adult tickets for $6.50—a price that will get you two movies. The fare is less than one ticket at the more modern Cinemark in Settlers Ridge, which can cost up to $8.75 for an adult ticket.
Tice said movie-goers play catch in the front of the oversized screen before show time, which is as soon as the sun sets. Patrons sprawl on picnic blankets or perch on lawn chairs and car hoods to take in the film.
You can smoke a cigarette or chat during the movie. Plus—"You’re not sitting behind some tall guy so you can’t see,” Tice said.
Both the Dependable and the Twin Hi-Way must soon grapple with the film industry's switch from 35mm film reels to entirely digital projection.
Tice is wary of the switch, which is rumored to happen in 2013, requiring theaters to buy what Tice calls a pricey new digital projector.
Jay Glaus, a manager and the son of the owner of the Moon-based Dependable, says that the new projector is a necessity in the theatre industry.
“You have no choice," Glaus said. "You either go digital or you show the dancing hot dog all night long."
More than 900 cars can pull up to the screen at the Dependable, which sits on 24 acres of Moon Township land. Glaus said spectators listen in to the show on its more than 400 car speakers, transmitting the movie through a radio frequency.
“We try to make everybody happy from the teenagers on their dates to the kids,” Glaus said.
Dependable movie-goer John Barlamas, of Conway, said comfort brings him back to the drive-in.
“The screens a lot bigger and you can bring your own food.,” he said.
Glaus said when crowds pull up to the Dependable, they'll bring with them picnics and pop-up canopy's—making the movie experience decidedly more personal than what you may find at an air-conditioned, indoor theater.
“People really prepare to come to the drive-ins," he said. "It’s a big event for some people.”