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Meet the interns: Caroline Ludeman and Skyview Drive-In

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 3, 2013 - After first watching the 1978 hit film "Grease" staring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, a life of poodle skirts, leather jackets, going steady, and drive-in movie theaters appeared to belong to an alternate reality.

Caroline Ludeman is a native of St. Louis who went to John Burroughs high school. At Washington University she has yet to pick a major but is leaning toward psychology.

"I am interested in telling the stories of people. Someone always has something to share with the world and if I can be the one who shares it, nothing makes me happier.

"Fun fact: My middle name is Ingalls because I am related to Laura Ingalls Wilder. I like to think I was meant to write."

Note: We asked each intern to write about something the Beacon had not covered.

In my world of increasing speed and technology, stillness and relaxation have been put on the back burner. As I focus primarily on the screens in front of me, life moves past at a rate that's too quick, it seems, to ever get back.

And then I went to the Skyview Drive-In.

An experience combining the wonders of technological advances and the company of those around us, Skyview, a drive-in movie theater in Belleville, takes viewers back to a simpler time. From the comfort of your own vehicle you can enjoy box office films for only $10 a person (two children under 12 free per each paying adult). It is important to note that it is cash only and payment is per person, not per car.

Opened for business on July 8, 1949, Skyview is just 13 miles from Downtown St. Louis. From Monday – Thursday the box office opens at 8 p.m. and Friday-Sunday 7 p.m. However the movie doesn’t actually start until an hour after the opening time.

Using the radio in your car or on a portable boom box should you choose to sit on a lawn chair or roof of the car, an FM signal broadcasts the movie’s audio. Before the movie, the theater's station plays a mix of rock and pop songs.

Getting to the theater an hour early was the best advice I was given, for the lot fills up quickly. Parking spots come in orange and white. Orange is for trucks, SUVs and other large vehicles; white is for smaller vehicles, including cars.

Your one admission gets you a double feature, with an intermission between the first and second movies. Look for the vintage -- ie., straight out of "Grease" -- on-screen ads in between screenings.

The concession stand is filled with the classic nachos, popcorn, hot dogs and candy but with a Schnucks, fast-food, gas station, and local restaurant options right beside the theater, snacks are an easy commodity.

A classic summer experience popular among families, couples, and anyone looking to combine the simplicity of the past with the technology of the present, Skyview is a hidden gem certainly worth discovering.  

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