A Drive-In Adventure
A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was about time that I experienced one of La Grande’s unique spots. The La Grande Drive-In is one of the three remaining drive-ins in Oregon, and I have been meaning to do this for years. Either the timing was off, the movies weren’t up my alley, or, later, my car radio did not work. Finally, all of the stars converged—I had Saturday night open, I really wanted to see this movie, and my new-to-me car had a functioning radio.
Upon arriving at dusk, it was heartening to have to wait in a line to get in. The folks of La Grande are still enjoying this rare treasure. I found my chosen place, marked by the ghost poles of the old speakers, and tuned in to the designated FM station. The sound quality was excellent and the “visit the snack bar” inducements were right out of my childhood. In fact, I grew up during the last heyday of the drive-in, where they came equipped with restaurants, laundromats, and any number of conveniences. The La Grande Drive-In has a far-ranging snack bar, from nachos to the more common movie fare, and it is probably the most sanitary place I have seen in a long time (including the restrooms).
The first film on offer (and the reason for my adventure) was “Hank: Paws of Fury.” I am a huge fan of anthropomorphism (talking animals being invested with human characteristics) and this quest of a dog trying to become a samurai in a land of cats is a perfect embodiment of the form. There is enough swashbuckling adventure to enchant younger audiences, but for the grownup crowd, the film is an homage to anime, Star Wars, the Marvel Comic Universe, and especially “Blazing Saddles.” Just perfect!
I did not stay for the second feature, because I kind of expire at 11:00 PM, but the La Grande Drive-In provided the quintessential trip down memory lane and a really funny movie in the bargain. It is also a great place for a family outing, since the kiddos have the great outdoors to watch the movie from, and the whole gang can have a great time.