OCALA – Everyone knows the words …. “It’s just a jump to the left … and then a step to the right …”
Expect plenty of Time Warping this weekend, when Insomniac Theatre Company joins up with one of the nation’s few remaining drive-in movie theaters for a special showing of a genuine cult classic, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, on Saturday, May 24 at 11:59 p.m.
The movie will be shown at the Ocala Drive-In Movie Theatre at 4850 S. Pine Ave. in Ocala. Tickets are $10 at the drive in, and the folks at Insomniac Theater will be doing their part by providing a live shadow cast performance below the screen.
The Ocala Drive-In is one of the few remaining drive in outdoor movie theaters left from the industry’s heydays in the 1940s and 1950s, in an age when the mall Cineplex has been king for years.
The Ocala Drive-In opened in 1948, when Harry Truman was president and movie theaters were showing the likes of “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and “Red River.”
It would continue operating for half a century, until it closed in 2002 – but then reopened a year later.
Then it closed again in October 2007, and stayed out of business for several years, as the 20-acre property was mainly used to host flea markets.
It was revived in July 2011 by the brothers John and Charles Watzke, and has stayed open ever since. The brothers completely renovated the drive-in, with a major clean-up and repairs, before welcoming the cars back in.
The drive-in continues to the most up-to-date current releases. Last Friday, both “Godzilla” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” opened there.
According to the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association, there were as many as 4,000 drive-in theaters across the country during the 1950s, but today there are just 357 drive-ins with 604 movie screens.
Several states, including Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Wyoming, have not a single drive-in theater today.
Pennsylvania has the most left, with 30 drive-in theaters hosting 50 screens.
Florida has seven drive-in theaters with 25 screens, and in Central Florida that includes the Ocala Drive-In and the Silver Moon Drive-In Theater in Lakeland.
Insomniac Theater Company was formed in the Ocala area eight years ago, as an original acting troupe performing sometimes edgy live productions. In the spring of 2010 the group took up permanent residence at a historic, former bank building at 1 E. Silver Springs Boulevard in downtown Ocala, but moved out in October 2013.
They have often performed original plays like “Lugosi Lives” by playwright D.A. Stewart, a spoof of B-grade horror movies.
During the “Rocky Horror” showing at the Ocala Drive-In, goodie bags will be available.
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