The Hollywood Drive-In

So in these days of downloads, Netflix, Hulu and big screens in your living room, justifying going out to a movie might be tough. Never mind justifying going to see a movie while sitting in your car.

But that's what Frank Fisher thinks you should do.

Fisher's Family has been running The Hollywood Drive-In on Route 66 (yep, a drive-in on Route 66) since 1952. He took a few minutes to talk with us about why he still runs the place, what people get out of going to a drive-in... and the woman who tied her boyfriend up in the trunk.

Of all the businesses you could own, why do you run a drive-in movie theater?

I love it! I've been here since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. It's just fun. I was running the projector when I was twelve. When you do that it's just part of you. People come here and have fun. They laugh. I really enjoy seeing the families together.

Yeah, but can you make any money doing this?

Not an exorbitant amount but you can do OK. It's viable for a seasonal business. I have another business that I run for the rest of the year.

I'm not in it to become a millionaire. I don't think I'd run out and open a new one right now -- they're pretty expensive to own and run. But I keep it going because it's part of American history. There are only a few hundred drive-in theaters left in the United States.

The drive-ins that are open are as popular today as they used to be. There was a time in the 70's when it was really, really bad -- when a drive in couldn't get first-run movies. They got a bad name somewhere along the line. But the nostalgia kind of brought them back.

I can see a movie much more comfortably in my own home or in a movie theater, so why should I come to a drive-in? What do you get from watching a movie at a drive-in that you can't get anywhere else?

It's a whole different experience. You're not on your couch. You're with your family or a boyfriend or girlfriend. You're outdoors. It's the experience of it. Of course, I don't get to watch the movie very often. I'm too busy running things. But that's what people say they like.

People bring their kids to the drive-in to share an experience they had when they were kids. They love to come with families, they love to sit in lawn chairs and jibber-jabber. We have entertainment before the movie from time to time because on a real busy night people come in at 5:30 or 6 to get a good spot and the movie doesn't start till 9 or 9:15. People come early to they already know it's gonna be sold out. We can hold 400 cars but we usually have to cut things off at 375.

Plus it's a tremendous value. You get two movies -- one brand new and one only a few weeks old -- for $8. Four dollars per movie -- that's hard to beat.

What's the best way to enjoy a drive in?

Be prepared. Bring a lawn chair so if it's a real hot night you can sit outside. Bring some mosquito repellent . Bring blankets in case it gets cold. People turn their trucks around and tilt the beds up. They get very comfortable.

What's a good movie to see at a drive-in?

Animated movies do well for us. Also the action comedies do very well -- action movies like X-Men, Wolverine, Transformers. We try to avoid the R rated movies if we can. We're more family-oriented. We've run a few movies with R ratings, but they don't work out as well.

How many people have you seen climb out of one trunk?

Ha! Three. That still goes on. We throw them out if we catch them. We check trunks a lot to make sure people aren't bringing in alcohol, and that's where we usually find them. Then there are clues. If you see two girls and one guy-- the other guy might be in the trunk -- that kind of thing.

Once, there was this regular customer who noticed that we often checked the trunks. One night she comes in and they didn't check the trunk. So she kept asking them, "Aren't you going to check my trunk? Don't you want to look in my trunk?" So finally they did. And I get this call. "You better come down here and take a look at this." She tied her boyfriend up and put tape over his mouth and stuck him in the trunk as a joke. They were having some fun with us.

The Hollywood -- and many of the other local drive-in theaters-- just opened up for weekends through the spring.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Find It

The Hollywood Drive-In
9270 Route 66
Averill Park, NY 12018



Ah, Averill Park High memories. Used to be able to find spots across the street where you could see part of the screen and tune in with a portable radio. Those were the days. No wait, I got beat up a lot, those weren't the days, nevermind.

Another great thing about the Hollywood Drive-In — the concessions are actually reasonably priced. You can bring your own, or if you like visit the snack stand for a Coke that costs less than $6.

I'm a fan of the Hollywood Drive-in. It's a guilty pleasure of mine on many accounts.

First, the movies are usually the kind of movies I probably wouldn't go see in a theater -- blockbusters and monster movies, etc. And second, the whole driving thing.

I live in downtown Troy and I try to drive as little as possible. I'm outspoken in my dislike of car-culture. So driving out to the country to sit in my car and watch a movie makes me feel like an American Lung Association spokesperson huffing down a pack of Lucky Strikes.

I do wish that downtown Troy had a Spectrum-like theater that I could walk to. That old porn theater that had its marquee ripped down for no good reason would be a good space. Proctors in Troy would make a good movie theater, too. Heck, if the Empac played normal independent movies instead of super avant garde flicks that confound and insult their viewers (i.e. this is art, and you're too stupid to get it) I'd go there.

In the meantime, I'll fire up the car a few times a summer to journey out to Hollywood. It's a very nicely kept drive-in (unlike the Jericho). The snack shack at the Hollywood could be a museum...and the cartoons they play before and after the movies are antiques.

I seem to recall someone telling me that AOAGreg has never been to a drive-in before. I think this summer requires a trip to Hollywood or the Jericho in Glenmont.

Field trip!

Don't forget the Malta Drive-In who opened a SECOND screen last year!


One time a few years ago, we brought a couch that was being transported from one family house to a friend's house in Malta just down the road from the drive-in and set it up in the back for a showing of "Willy Wonka"!

Good times!


Apparently most of the drive-ins left in the country are on the east coast if not just the northeast and NY state. I've met a lot of people from all over who have never even seen one much less been to one.
I only like to go see comedies and dramas at the drive-ins, the lighting usually isn't that great and sometimes it's worth the $10.50 to see special effects at the movie theatre.

Is it too much to ask for ONE AOA post where there isn't some smug commentator blithering on about their disdain for car culture?

It will be amusing when these folks get out of school and discover that (gasp), they need to get to work somehow.

I used to live in Fairborn OH, home to an "adult" drive-in theater. Best part was that it was on the approach to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Never did go there...

Been gainfully employed and out of school for 10 years Cranky Old Man.

Good luck with your car religion.

For the rest of us who don't own a car or chose to drive sparingly, our options are walking, riding the bus, riding a bike, taking a train and...this May 13, taking a boat into work.

We had been known (back in the day) to trek out to Hi-Way Drive In in Coxsackie. Don't they have three screens?

Cranky Old Man: I'm sorry that your life turned out in an unfulfilling way where you feel the need to bash the opinions of those who are trying to find a better way. Duncan didn't create the system, but he is trying to find a better path for doing things which is far more remarkable than giving up and being nothing but another indistinguishable cog in the machine.

I've also done as much as I can to reduce car dependency, although it's still a tough battle. Unfortunately, battling attitudes like yours makes it even tougher to accomplish anything.

It is officially my goal to go to the drive in this summer. It's not too far for me so I have no excuses.

@Cranky Old Man: I am also in my 30's, and have been out of school for quite some time. I am fortunate enough to live, work and play predominantly in the same neighborhood. My husband also can walk to work from home. We have one car between us and we usually only move it when the parking rules change or when we have to go out of town. Things like the beach, the drive-in and day trips to Bennington are indulgences we will enjoy a few times in the Summer.
However, it is unbelievable derogatory to presume that this website is populated by a bunch of "kids," or the fact that we don't like to use our cars means we don't have jobs. In fact, I thought it was rather obvious that this site's community is largely made up of intelligent individuals- occasional bouts of silliness notwithstanding.

@Cranky Old Man; cars are dangerous, waste time, and a stressful to operate. I envy Duncan's stated lifestyle, and am proud to know that Detroit, birthplace of the automobile is following suit, promoting biking and building mass transit.

Over here in the Motor City, hindsight is 20/20, car culture is killing us.

I had the pleasure of bicycling to work a few years ago. It was about 12 miles round trip and would take 35-45 minutes each way. I miss it alot. When I got to work in the morning I was awake, refreshed, and alert. After riding home I felt calm and relaxed. The difference between spending 45 minutes enjoying some fresh air and crawling through traffic is night and day.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


Recently on All Over Albany

Thank you!

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have... (more)

Let's stay in touch

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much. But we'd like to stay... (more)

A few things I think about this place

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things.... (more)

Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel. And shortly after that, Albany will... (more)

Tea with Jack McEneny

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.... (more)

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Thank you!

...has 27 comments, most recently from Ashley

Let's stay in touch

...has 4 comments, most recently from mg

A look inside 2 Judson Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Diane (Agans) Boyle

Everything changes: Alicia Lea

...has 2 comments, most recently from Chaz Boyark

A few things I think about this place

...has 13 comments, most recently from Katherine