The Mustang Drive-In has screened some of the best – and worst – of the silver screen during the past 60 years
Marilyn Monroe has been there. So has Humphrey Bogart, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Tom Cruise and virtually every other A-List silver screen celebrity that has come along since then. For the past six decades, the Mustang Drive-In has been a gathering place for movie fans, families and romantics to enjoy an evening show in Prince Edward County.
Against pretty steep odds, the Mustang Drive-In is celebrating its 60th anniversary this summer. Many of the drive-ins in Canada haven’t survived the hardships that seem to come along every decade or so for drive-in owners. There was a downturn in popularity in the 60’s. VCR’s came along in the 80’s and decimated drive-in traffic. The culture changed in the late 80’s and early 90’s and drive-ins become a place for hanging out and underage drinking. More recently, the Hollywood studios have eliminated traditional film projectors and have become exclusively digital.
Owners Paul and Nancy Peterson had no idea what they were in for when they bought the dilapidated drive-in in 1988. They had fond memories of going to the drive-in as kids but not much of a business plan. On a whim, they bought the place and have preserved the tradition of going to drive-in for nearly three decades.
The Mustang now has state-of-the-art digital projectors on both screens and they replaced the old window speakers with a radio audio system years ago. But despite the new technology, one thing never changes at the Mustang.
“It’s all about the families,” Paul says. “It started as a family place. I think it drifted away (from that) but now it’s come back. I’m really proud of what we’ve built here. I think people have fun and they have a lot of memories invested in this place.”