Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Lights out at Mission Tiki

I guess it wasn't the rain after all.

In my last -- and what now appears to be penultimate -- post about Mission Tiki Drive-In in Montclair, California, I surmised that two of the screens were likely closed due to flooding from recent rains in Los Angeles. My second theory was that the drive-in was going under.

The second theory proved to be correct.

Sixty plus years! What a shame. The drive-in survived COVID -- in fact, it was probably uniquely configured to survive COVID -- but it hasn't survived the return from COVID. Maybe those who patronized the theater during the pandemic didn't need to anymore, and that, combined with the big shift to watching movies at home, spelled doom for Mission Tiki.

It's a sad day for me. Mission Tiki was one of two drive-ins we attended, which actually were not very far away from each other (but both a 40-minute drive from my house), and I tend to forget which movies I saw at which one. In fact, I think I went to the other one more (and since I didn't get on their mailing list, I'm not even sure if I remember what it was called, let alone whether it's still open). Plus I believe it was Mission Tiki who were dicks to me the time I tried to switch screens between movies in my double feature, which is forbidden for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. 

It's probably not Mission Tiki specifically I'm mourning today, but the second death of drive-in culture. The first death was before I was born, of course, as a primary movie-going venue of the 1950s slowly disappeared from the landscape. Now the revival of that culture, which for a time was pretty successful, is ending too.

The good news? A drive-in that's near where I actually live is still open.

The Coburg drive-in -- which we have attended only once, I might add -- is within 20 miles of my house, and it's still showing movies. I just checked to be sure. 

The closing of Mission Tiki is a reminder not to take this for granted, though. We need to go with our kids soon, because we never know when it might suddenly be lights out for any of us. 

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