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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Transit Drive-In owner Rick Cohen will discuss the history of drive-in 
theaters at a program on April 11. (Copyright J.R. Eyerman / Time & Life 
Pictures/Getty Images)
Transit Drive-In owner Rick Cohen will be the guest speaker for a presentation on the history of drive-ins at 2 p.m. April 11 at the Niagara History Center.

The Transit Drive-In — one of two still operating in East Niagara — opened in 1952 and was purchased by the Cohen family five years later. Cohen has many stories to share of growing up in this most unique family business that is now 58 years old.

Western New York was home to a wealth of drive-ins in their heyday. Cohen will discuss how the drive-in originated in the 1930s and reminisce about Erie and Niagara County drive-ins we visited in days gone by. Many Americans fell in love with drive-ins in their glory years, journeying to them in the “sofas on wheels” of the 1950’s. Today, minivans can hold an entire family and then some as everyone makes a night of it in front of the big screen. Cohen will describe what the future holds for this beloved form of entertainment.

Cohen will also explain the challenges faced by drive-ins today as they attempt to thrive in the changing digital world. He'll describe his long-distance “drive-in rescue walk” this past winter to raise funds for a struggling small-town drive-in, which faced closure because it could not purchase high-cost digital projection equipment needed to show today’s films.

In addition, Rick will offer details of the artistic Flight of Five mural, based upon an old Lockport postcard, which will grace the back of the drive-in screen facing Transit Road. He anticipates that this decorative artwork will be completed by Memorial Day.

Donations will be accepted at the program, which includes refreshments. Call 434-7433 for details.


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