Yesteryear's Drive-In Theater Hosts Prestige's Biannual MINI Movie Night
Drive-in theaters have been attracting motorists ever since Camden, New Jersey resident Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. first applied for a patent for his invention back in 1932. At the height of the outdoor theaters' popularity, the Warwick Drive-In Theater in Orange County, New York began operations in 1950 and is one of the few in the country to continue that tradition some 60 years later.
While 25 percent of the nation's movie screens had once been drive-ins, today that number has dwindled to 1.5 percent. Due to the economics of real estate, the introduction of VCRs and the excessive movie distribution costs, drive-ins over the years have slowly become an entertainment venue of the past.
However that's not the case at the Warwick. In addition to it being the 'only' movie theater in the Warwick area, this particular venue has expanded to three screens showing first-run double features.
Promotionally oriented, owners Beth and Ernest Wilson have worked with local businesses and organizations to provide special theme nights at their drive-in. Now, into its 8th year, the Prestige MINI car dealership in Ramsey, New Jersey holds their bi-annual MINI Movie Night at the Warwick. Scheduled once during the summer and again in October, the dealership welcomes Mini car owners to enjoy a free night of entertainment that begins with a party at the dealership complete with refreshments and give-aways followed by a road rally to the drive-in.
As the brainchild of Prestige's general manager and vice president Christopher Turner, the event is a way to thank their patrons and an opportunity for MINI car owners to meet fellow MINI enthusiasts and aficionados -- even if they didn't purchase their MINI at that particular dealership.
There is a camaraderie amongst MINI owners that is reinforced by its corporate offices located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, according to US brand boss Jim McDowell. "The force of the MINI community is something that is very important to MINI," said McDowell, who frequently attends events and rallies staged by many of the MINI owners' clubs located throughout the country. Owners are even known to send McDowell pictures of their cars, which many have personally named.
As a proud MINI Cooper owner myself (my MINI's moniker is "MAX-A-MINI"), I've researched some of the unique uses of this automobile in the past, because a MINI is not just any car. In my post titled, "Canines Motor Minis," I reported about the MINI Cooper Countryman customizing its rigging in New Zealand with paw-activated accelerators and brakes, so that dogs could actually learn to drive the cars.
The Mini was first made by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1959 in England. The original was considered a British icon of the 1960s.
After the last of the Mini production had been sold, the 'Mini' name reverted to BMW ownership. The new BMW Mini is technically unrelated to the first MINI but retains the classic transverse front-wheel-drive configuration and iconic "bulldog" stance of the original.
When interviewed as to the number of MINI car owners who attend Prestige's movie events, PR representative Nicole Pinto noted that it started out with only a handful of attendees, but last summer, the MINI Movie Night attracted 315 folks. "This June, we expect to have more. . . as our MINI family grows every year!" adds Pinto.
Added to the festivities on June 5, Prestige is promoting a "Movie Poster Contest." This is an opportunity for MINI owners to showcase their graphic arts skills. All participants are encouraged to select an iconic movie and MINI-fy it. To get one's creative juices flowing, here's a sampling provided by the dealership and one that I submitted.
Scheduled for June 5 at 6PM, winners of the contest "will be announced at the event," according to Pinto. Interested parties can still RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check the dealership's Facebook page for updates and rain dates.
So grab your popcorn, and motor on over to Prestige MINI dealership on RT 17, Ramsey, New Jersey. Sounds like this MINI event promises to offer a 'macro' amount of fun. See you at the movies!