Before the Computer Age when we weren’t perpetually mesmerized by screens linking us to the universe, we were busy pursuing fun activities outside during the warmer months. One such endeavor was to cram as many teens as possible into a vehicle for the “carload special” at the Skyway Drive-In.
Although it’s tricky to remember what movies we might have watched there, it is relatively easy to recall plentiful trips to the price-inflated snack bar and the barnyard scented ladies’ room.
One distinct movie memory that comes to mind is the night my friend David K. and I watched “Soylent Green” and “Westworld” at the Skyway Drive-in. Why is this particular double-feature so predominant from my tender teen years? Because my smarty-pantsed little brother loaded one of my cigarettes (it was the ’70s and everybody smoked) with a minor explosive as a misguided prank.
While sitting in the car, observing Yule Brenner portray a futuristic android, I casually lit one of my Kools, expecting it to light up like any ordinary smoke. What my bad prankster brother did not anticipate was the super strength of that particular cigarette load, which popped explosively into my face and eyes, causing temporary blindness and searing pain behind the black residue around my nose and upper cheek area.
Okay, I admit it’s funny now, but at that moment in time, the only blockades preventing him from getting thrashed by me were Yule Brenner’s acting skills and a somewhat intriguing storyline. Eventually I was able to clean my face off and watch the rest of the movie, fuming the entire time. Literally and figuratively.
If you have any fond or even not-so-fond memories of the Skyway Drive-In Movie Theater in Erie, Pennsylvania, feel free to share in the comments.