Aug 18, 2023

But You Have Heard Of Me...

Pirates Of The Caribbean
Mahoning Drive-In Theater - Lehighton, PA
This poster by artist Matthew Parton commemorates the 2023 community event at the Mahoning Drive-In Theater, which was a 20th anniversary screening of Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl.  The screening last night gave me an opportunity to see it for the first time since I was in my early 20's.  I know that I saw it in theaters shortly after its July 2003 premiere, and I watched it one other time when it was released on DVD, but for some reason I haven't seen it ever since.  I'm not sure why.  It's an excellent movie, but it just isn't one that I think about too often.

This screening seems to be continuing the pirate theme that began on last year's Community Event screening of The Goonies.  One thing that didn't continue was the free tickets, but there's a good reason why.

The Mahoning Drive-In Theater lot is pretty large, but it's not infinite, so there's a limit to the number of cars that it can accommodate.  This can be challenging for a free event because the people who can make it out to the lot early could have potentially filled the place up, leaving folks who get off of work a little later in the day unable to enjoy the movie.  In order to make it fair for everyone, they announced last year's event several weeks before the night of the show, and although tickets were free, you had to go onto the website to reserve one ahead of time.  Sounds like a good plan, right?

All of the available tickets for last year's show were reserved, but it rained on the night of the event, so a lot of the folks who reserved a free ticket didn't bother to come out to see the movie.  I guess it's easy to pass on something that didn't cost you anything in the first place.  The problem with that is because there was a spot held for them in case they did show up a few minutes prior to the start of the film, they couldn't let folks in who didn't have a ticket.  The end result was that the lot was less than half full, with people who reserved tickets staying home to keep out of the rain, and people who wanted to attend being turned away.

This year, they charged $2 per ticket, which is more than fair.  It helps to ensure that the folks who reserve tickets are going to show up, and it's still an extremely reasonable price for a full night of entertainment.

Show banner designed by Andrew Kern

It really was a full night's worth of entertainment too, especially for families with children.  The Salty Sea Circus are a group who perform in pirate and mermaid costumes, and who stay in character the entire time.  They tell stories, juggle, swordfight, perform on stilts, and engage the audience in all kinds of different activities.  It's definitely geared toward children (or at least last night's appearance was), but it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch, and to say that the kids were into it would be a massive understatement.

I didn't take too many videos to protect the privacy of the children who were enjoying the show, but I did manage to catch a little bit of the flaming swordfight that took place under the screen as the sun went down.  I've been on the lot for quite a few different events that were child-friendly, and nothing matched the reaction that this group got.  The kids absolutely loved them, and it was very cool watching them cheer and dance along with the pirates and get into the spirit of the event.

Pirates Of The Caribbean is just as much fun in 2023 as it was in 2003, and it's the kind of movie that's always sure to bring a big crowd to the lot.  There were quite a few folks who came out to the show that I hadn't seen before, and I'm sure that they'll be back!