Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bengie's in Time Magazine

Bengie's Drive-In in Middle River is in an article about the resurgence of the drive-in theatre, in this week's Time Magazine. No I haven't been before, but I do remember my parents smuggling me and my sisters into the drive-in that existed on Washington Blvd thirty years ago in Elkridge - which is now, I think, a half-finished high-priced housing development. Mom would boil a package of Esskay hot dogs and put them in a large metal thermos with some hot water, then bring it along with us. The most exciting part was Dad telling us to BE QUIET! as he made us cover up and hide while they paid for the two of them, then we popped up after we were parked safely away from the ticket booth, and fell asleep somewhere between The Black Hole and Sleeping Beauty. I don't think I ever saw the inside of their snack bar. Well, maybe.

I know I did twenty-five years later when I went on a date to the Van Buren Drive-In in Riverside, California. Freddy vs Jason and Jeepers Creepers 2 were on the bill, but I was more interested in the conversation, and the two of us riffing on those horrible, horrible movies MST3K-style. I think I bought a tamale or an enchilada - much Mexican food at this drive-in. Not sure whatever happened to him. We kept in touch for a few years but he just stopped getting back to me.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love Bengies! My friend Cathey and I go every year (its open from like April or May until about October)! You can bring in your own food if you pay for a food permit (I forget how much it is), but they also have a snack bar. They make most of their revenue from Snack Bar sales. They also play old cartoons or shorts, like The Three Stooges, between films, and it's usually a triple feature. It's also a very reasonable price! We used to live so close to it that I could hear the movies playing on my radio from my apartment complex parking lot.

Alex said...

Bengie's it where it's at! I usually pay the $7 food permit and bring in take-out from Pat's Pizzeria or sandwiches/drinks/munchies from home. The fact that you can see 3 movies for $7 per person is flat-out amazing; even if you only see one movie there it's cheaper and more fun than heading inside to a theater.

John said...

Seven dollars to smuggle in food? Though again, seven dollars for three movies - at $2.34 per film, that is indeed a bargain!

Alex said...

The food permit is per car, so split between 3-4 people it's pretty cheap. Plus they're a small -- but almost militant -- business that'll probably kick you out and take down your tag number. I'd guess that they're barely making it by, making most of the money from (reasonably priced but greasy) concessions. Typical for theaters, but moreso for this one.

John said...

Oh, well that makes more sense. i usually hit the movies alone (don't have to debate what to see with anyone else), but the drive-in makes more sense as a "carpool" sort of night out.

Dan said...

"Militant" is a good way to describe the Bengies. The house rules (posted at the gate and handed out when you get your tix) can be a bit of a turn-off but it's a good time nonetheless. Ryan has already been twice in her short 13 months (THE SIMPSONS MOVIE and the new Indiana Jones).

John said...

That's the best way to introduce young children to movies - in a drive-in in the car with their parents, where they can eat anything they want to.

I shudder to think what Bengie's will do to someone that sneaks food in without paying the $7 fee!

JC said...

Let's talk about the "rules". MOst are common sense and for the enjoyment of all patrons. I been coming to the Bengies on and off for almost 30 years, soI've seen a lot of the others(in Maryland) go dark. So had "rules" and other did not and believe me when I say there is nothing worse than a crowed Drive-in on a hot summer night with no rules.