I may have lived everywhere growing up, but I grew up in a small town in northern Oklahoma, with all the small rural town character that people idealize these days. There were plenty of good-paying jobs, the city packed the stands for high school sports, it was practically a Mayberry in its prime back then.
Gasoline was cheap, so all the young people drove down Grand Avenue on Friday nights. There was a local late-night diner where anyone who was anybody would show up at 2 a.m. for frizzy fries and homemade ranch, but the real entertainment attraction during the six months of warm weather was the drive-in movie theater.
Admission was $10 per car, discounts were cheap, and the entertainment was endless when the entire crew showed up to see the show. My first drive-in movie was the second Austin Powers movie. Not the best movie in the world, but a good date movie for the time.
If you told me you’ve never seen a drive-in movie, I would believe you. While they once dotted the landscape, at least one in every county across Oklahoma, they’ve become quite a rare commodity. With one so close by, Big Chief in Chickasha, there’s no reason to skip this vintage tradition.
If you’re worried about the summer heat, don’t. Of course, the films don’t start until the sun goes down and then the weather becomes more bearable every day. When every night falls into the 80s, that’s the best time to throw lawn chairs in the back of the truck and enjoy a show.
If you’re worried about the price of gas, the experience more than makes up for it. Also, Big Chief’s prices are lower, I would even say cheap compared to other cinemas.
Admission is $8 for each adult and $5 for children. Keep in mind that this is the price to see a double feature. That’s two new movies for one ticket price. Amaze Balls.
If I haven’t already given you the idea of experiencing the drive-in theater, it gets better…
While the biggest downside to going to the cinema is the obligatory snack bar and the ridiculous prices they charge… For example, a movie and two drinks with a large popcorn will strain your wallet for around $50 at Lawton’s Patriot 13.. That’s ridiculous and probably why AMC is struggling as a company, but the Big Chief Drive-In has remained solidly grounded over time. Just look at these takeaway prices…
Honestly, a big night out in a smaller rural Oklahoma town is going to be shockingly affordable.
One piece of advice: don’t sit in your car idling with the air conditioning running to keep you cool. This is not the drive-in experience. It’s warm, yes, but you’ll feel a refreshing breeze and cool off with cheap drinks. The children will have fun too. Bring beach chairs and a blanket. Also, bring cash to avoid card surcharges.
The only thing Big Chief asks for is that you don’t bring your own food and drinks. It sounds like crap but you could watch any of these movies in Lawton, the experience is what you are looking for. Stay.
Would you like more details? Here’s Big Chief’s official website and here’s their Facebook page… Be inspired by a truly old Oklahoma tradition.