I remember as a child, the whole fam damly (as it was sometimes described) being shuffled into the station wagon, and off to the movies! Usually, a drive in theater. They were ubiquitous, and readily available in the Arizona weather. Much of the time, they were an extension of the TV-as-babysitter, translation: put the boy in from of a moving picture and he’ll go out like a light!
Then later in my youth, being dropped off at a Saturday afternoon matinee, with a friend or two, and funds for goodies – what a way to get them out of the house and from under foot. The only rule was call when the movie let out (translation: make certain you had a dime left from that fiver!)
Being a self-described child of TV, when gadget-addict friend Bob P. (one of the many Bobs) announced he had a videotape player/recorder, I knew something was beginning to change. This Magnavox machine took VHS tapes, but no standard had yet to be decided upon, and tapes made upon it wouldn’t play on later standardized VHS machines! It also had vacuum tubes as part of it’s construction, weighed a ton, and cost about $1000 (in 1975 dollars)!
Thus began the slow decline as technology continued to develop, and people began renting Beta and VHS tapes, (remember Laserdiscs?) then DIVX, then DVD, and now can see many movies/TV shows via the Internet and BlueRay.
And the audience figured out that while the kids used to hang out in the back of the Vista Cruiser in their jammies, and the adults dressed up to go to the theater, it was just more convenient for all to stay in the living room in their jammies. (Or boxer shorts, in the case of my Dad.)
And you didn’t have to trudge across a gravel-laden parking lot in the dark to a grimy snack bar restroom, either.
And while the drive ins have mostly faded away, now the indoor theaters are as well. Few want to pay $15+ each for a seat, plus another $20 for drinks and snacks, when they can watch Netflix or Amazon at home in their skivvies.
Another childhood dream of a secret agent meeting place in an nearly empty theater is going away.
And teenaged fantasies of making out (or more) in Dad’s station wagon now have to be redirected.
(FTC – Magnavox, Amazon and Netflix have given me nothing!)