Heard a rumor a few weeks back that the Starlite Drive-In in Christiansburg would not reopen this year. Longtime owners Richard Beasley died last year and the word was that current owner Peggy Beasley would not reopen the theater this year.
Thankfully, the rumor is not true and the Starlite reopens May 21 with “Shrek Forever After” as the main feature.
A group of volunteers, many of them longtime customers of the drive-in which opened in 1953, gathered over the weekend to spruce up the place with what they called the “first Starlite Spirit Day cleanup.”
The Starlite brings back many happy — and sometimes frustrating — memories for someone who spent many teenage nights at the theater from 1963-65.
Most young girls in Floyd County couldn’t tell their parents they went to a drive-in on a date. Drive-ins were called “passion pits” in those days and — for many of us — the Starlite provided more sex education than any school could provide (even though sex ed wasn’t allowed in Floyd County Schools in those days).
You always got to the Starlite early so you could park in the back row. Then — after the mandatory trip to the concession stand for soft drinks, popcorn, hamburgers and fries — you worked on strategies to talk your date into the back seat for some heavy making out and — with luck — a little more.
Years later, rock singer Meat Loaf would immortalize teenage agnst in a parked car with his song: “Paradise by the dashboard light:”
Ain’t no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed
Ah, sweet memories of youth…