For anyone born before 1970, you have a memory, maybe a vague childhood memory like mine, of going to see a movie at a drive-in.
My brother and I would gather up blankets and pillows for the back of the station wagon, put on our PJs and we’d go off to the double-feature with our parents. (I rarely made it through the first movie, my brother usually fell asleep during the second one and would spend the whole next day asking what happened in the end.)
In the days before big-screen televisions and houses with theater rooms, it was a great way for a family to see a movie together and be able to talk without being shushed by everyone else in the theater.
That experience is still available for families in South Carolina.
Off U.S. 1 between Aiken and Columbia sits the “The Big MO” Monetta Drive-In Theatre
, (803) 685-7949; 5822 Columbia Hwy., Monetta
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from March to November, the drive-in’s three screens show double features of the latest movie releases.
The audio is piped in over your car’s radio or you can tune in from a battery-operated one so your car’s battery doesn’t run down. Even if it does, the Big Mo offers jumpstarts for $1. You also can rent a radio from the theater for $3, but they have a limited supply.
The place fills up quickly on Friday and Saturday nights in the summer, so come early (gates open at 7 p.m.), enjoy a sandwich or snacks from the concession stand and let the kids run around the playground before the movie starts at dark-30 (around 9 or 9:15).
The box office is cash only and it’s $7 per adult (12 and older), $4 for youngsters (4-11) and free for toddlers 3 years old and younger. You can use your debit/credit cards at the concession stand, where the Big Mo offer hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue sandwiches and, of course, popcorn at very reasonable prices .
Pets are welcome, but must be under control at all times. Same goes for the kids. No alcohol is allowed, but you can bring your own food. Do remember, however, that this blast-from-the-past experience is largely financed by concession sales as the first-run movies are very expensive for the theater to show.
Even if you do have a projection TV in a theater room in your home, this will be the biggest screen you and your kids will ever see.