Yesterday was Al Molinaro’s ninety-sixth birthday. Al played “Al Delveccio,” the put-upon owner of Arnold’s Drive In on the long-running TV show Happy Days. Drive-ins were once a prime social venue in this country, adapted from soda fountains as the nation’s advancing automotive infrastructure changed the way we did pretty much everything. The drive-in was where you could grab some fries and a malt if you could scrape together the coin, shoot the shit with your friends, and maybe, have an opportunity to make some time with a member of the opposite sex. It was where it all was at.
Today all that stuff is done on our phones, even the ordering of the food and beverage as you can do that on the handset and have it ready to go when you get there. And of course that means you don’t need to stay there for any reason. That’s kind of sad, and I know a few rodder groups that shun those modern conveniences of social avoidance, choosing instead to make scheduled meets at local old school spots like Bob’s Big Boy. Even that’s still not the same.
There aren’t that many real drive-ins around any more. Sonic still will bring your food out to the car, but they’re one of the few. Do you think that car enthusiasts could be the catalyst for a renaissance of this social venue of the past? Do you think a drive-in diner could serve as a Friday night destination? Would you, or do you, hang out at a drive-in?
Image: kencurtmcintyre on Photobucket.