i recently received this picture from a friend stating that if i actually knew what these were then i must be well over my sell by date….. knowing full well what they were obviously didn’t make me feel great about my age, but having said that, it sure brought back a whole lot of fabulous memories!


oh how we used to LOVE going to the drive-in. It was the highlight of the month. i can even remember the first movie i ever saw – one of the ‘superman’ shows – i remember that big triangle-shaped thing they were all trapped in flying into space…. so much more surreal when the entire screen was actually surrounded by a spectacularly star-filled night.

i remember we would arrive early to grab a great spot i.e. one where the speakers actually worked! most of the time my mum would pack snacks etc… but every now & then my sister & i would be given some coins to stock up on snacks at the shop in the middle of the parking lot – childhood heaven!

i also have a solid memory of sitting through the entire showing of ‘platoon’ which because most of it took place in the dark jungle (dark being the operative word here) it pretty much was a big black screen for 90% of the movie…. perhaps there is a reason for cinema’s after all…. but ‘platoon’ aside i just remember going to the ‘drive-in’ with the same fondness i recall visiting the ‘dollshouse’ on louis botha – epic childhood memories!

so what has happened to our ‘drive-in’s’? my memory is a bit like a sieve at the best of times but if i recall there was 5-star? velskoen? and my absolute favourite TOP STAR! i remember the breath-taking view from ‘top star’. you could pretty much see an amazing 360’C view of johannesburg with all her glittering lights & the stars twinkling above – it was incredible. evidently it sparkled too much as the mine-dump it was actually built on turned out to be laden with gold & so as with most things in life money won over sense & one of johannesburg’s giant landmarks was torn down.

(i was all the more saddened to hear this as one of my best memories of my early days was a ‘rave’ we attended on top of ‘topstar’…. but more of that another time!)

so after doing a bit of research it turns out that ‘velskoen’ is the last standing relic of an amazing time in history. i wonder what happened? did they just go out of fashion, perhaps not fast-moving enough for the new generation? i don’t know about anyone else but i loved the drive-in & well i would just love to go to one again. i googled for one in cape town but alas there don’t seem to be any….. so i guess it’s going to be my own ‘home-made’ theatre in my back garden….. pass me the popcorn please!

“Ag pleeez Daddy, won’t you take us to the Drive-In/ All six, seven of us, eight nine ten / We wanna see the fliek about Tarzan the Ape-Man / and when the show is over you can take us home again” – Jeremy Taylor