At Niagara History Center April 11
Just the word "drive-in" evokes a flood of memories for generations of Americans raised on movies and automobiles. Today, drive-ins are few and far between, but Niagara County is fortunate to have two still in operation.
Rick Cohen, owner of the Transit Drive-In in Lockport, will share the history of this uniquely American entertainment venue at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 11 at the Niagara History Center, 215 Niagara St., Lockport,
The family-owned Transit Drive-In, at 6655 S. Transit Road in Lockport, lives its theme - "Movies and Fun Under the Stars Since 1952!" The Transit Drive-In opened in 1952 and was purchased by the Cohen family five years later. Rick has many stories to share of growing up in this most unique family business that is now 58 years old.
Western New York was home to a wealth of drive-ins in their heyday. Rick will tell how the drive-in originated in the 1930s and reminisce about Erie County and Niagara County drive-ins visited in days gone by.
Many people fell in love with drive-ins in their glory years, journeying to them in the "sofas on wheels" of the 1950s. Today, minivans can hold an entire family and then some as everyone makes a night of it in front of the big screen. Rick will describe what the future holds for this beloved form of entertainment.
He also will explain the challenges faced by drive-ins today as they attempt to thrive in the changing digital world. He'll describe his long-distance "drive-in rescue walk" this past winter to raise funds for a struggling small-town drive-in, which faced closure because it could not purchase high-cost digital projection equipment needed to show today's films.
In addition, Rick will offer details of the artistic Flight of Five mural, based upon an old Lockport postcard, which will grace the back of the drive-in screen facing Transit Road. He anticipates this decorative artwork will be completed by Memorial Day.
Donations will be accepted at the program, which includes refreshments. Call 716-434-7433 for details.