Here's a little something special for my local folks and
our visitors from all over!
(you'll wanna check this place out this week for some great Halloween screenings,
which I'll discuss in a bit!)
That's right! Whether you know it or not, we do have a drive-in theater here in Austin! Well, a "mini-drive-in theater", anyway. What you see above is the Blue Starlite, a drive-in I've had the pleasure of visiting at least 4 times so far. It's a mini-drive in theater that admittedly has a bare bones, down home style to it (the screen appears to be of the inflatable variety, and the stations at which the behind-the-scenes stuff is done and snacks are sold, appropriately for Austin, are on wheels). The screenings only allow 30 to 50 cars. It's an intimate affair. We always get there first, and so, the above is always our view from my sister's Mustang. Yeah, while making-out IS aloud, I haven't gotten to try it, because I've only been there with my sister. Lord knows I'd opt for an air conditioned theater every time, but drive-ins do have their charm, and I certainly wouldn't mind bringing a date to one. Then again, now that I think about it, my own vehicle isn't really designed well for any front seat action (those old cars had one big front seat; musta been nice! all the cars I've been in since I was a kid have a partition area between driver and passenger now) and because it's on the larger size, we probably would be directed to park further back in my car. That's something to keep in mind too.
So, thankfully for us, the Drive-In is over here towards the north side of Austin, just a little bit off of I-35. As their site says, "1901 E. 51st St, Enter directly under the water tower." It's pretty close to one of the most elaborate looking H.E.B.'s I've ever seen, which is a good place to pick up snacks and drinks since a visit to the Starlite can run a long time if you let it. Most showings are double features, and you wanna get their early for your spot and their preshow. Yep, they have a bit of a Drafthouse type preshow most of the time. They also sell snacks there, as I said, but you can also bring food yourself, which is pretty cool, whether it be Whataburger or whatever else. Their site actually has a really good FAQ page you'll wanna check out.
You can get your tickets in advance online. Anyone can go in, even on foot (they have a few picnic tables and seats in front of the screen), even with your dog if it's well-behaved, and pay an entry fee that I believe is five dollars per person. It's 15 bucks plus the per person fee to actually drive-in and park. Not cheap, but not terrible for a really unique experience, especially these days!
Yep, they have vintage speakers, and they're really cool, but they're first come first served! Otherwise, you're using your radio. The very friendly staff will give you a jump at the end of the night if you need one though.
Sorry, I have no images of the snack bar trailer. I tend to bring my own stuff or send my sis, ha. When you get settled in, it really usually isn't long before the pre-show gets going, which often consists of vintage drive-in goodies followed by some clips related more directly to the feature attractions.
The audio and visuals are excellent, if you're concerned. Just hope for a cool breeze and clean your windshield. I was lucky enough to go to the huge, old-fashioned drive-ins a few times when I was small, and those are the two things that have always been issues for me at drive-ins: windshield distractions and a muggy car atmosphere. But, some nights it can be quite pleasant!
So, like I said, I've been here 4 times so far, always double features. Most recently was for one of their Halloween shows, which I'll talk about in a sec, but before that, I went to three double features...
Jaws and Piranha...
The Princess Bride and the Never Ending Story...
Sorry, that collage Princess Bride image was all I could find from that night. Must have deleted the individual shots.
And thirdly, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 and 2...
And you better believe we picked up a Hot 'n' Ready first! Can't see a Turtles flick without pizza, let alone two of them in a row! Obviously, not unlike my favorite place in town, the Alamo Drafthouse, the Blue Starlite Drive-In mostly shows old films with big fanbases. I believe they show Indie and other stuff too, though I don't think you're gonna see the latest Michael Bay film screened here. Then again, you probably will if you can wait a few years.
Okay, now, I'm gonna finish this up (because, yay, it's a work night for me) with the reason I stopped delaying this little write-up since my first visit. The Blue Starlite has been doing awesome Halloween double-features all month, and there's still time to catch one (or more) yourself! So, check it out! Go to the website and read their great line-up of shows yet to come, and keep going back, because they show great stuff all the time! Actually, they take seasonal breaks at times, I believe, and I'm not sure when, but yeah, that's what their website is for. Just check it out like you would any other. You can even sign up for their e-newsletter to keep you posted. Here's there site: The Blue Starlite drive-In, and here's some images from the Halloween related double feature my sis and I took in last Saturday: Ghostbusters and the Monster Squad with an "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" pre-show!
They had some nice, creepy (and funny) stuff before and inbetween the movies...
It doesn't get much better than that! But you still have time to make it to a Hocus Pocus/Monster Squad double feature, and that sounds pretty incredible too! Along with some other excellent options! Keep in mind that not every screening is a double-feature though. Now, get out there and enjoy this classic bit of Americana, your local drive-in!