Eakins Oval brings beasts, robots, and killer cars to drive-in enthusiasts

 (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

(Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

“Godzilla has a brain about this size,” said a scientist, or someone who plays one in the movies, while holding up something about the size of an acorn. “While Kong is a thinking animal. His brain is considerably larger.”

It is unclear if anyone who wants to see the 1962 film “King Kong versus Godzilla” goes to appreciate the nuance of King Kong’s mind. The franchise continued to lay waste to urban Tokyo as its predecessors had.

While this monster movie might have been able to eat the Parkway – and a good part of Center City – for breakfast, it has been paired with an even larger threat to humanity, last summer’s “Pacific Rim,” in which giant robots send the world into an apocalypse.


The double-bill, the first of a series of Friday night screenings in a drive-in style, was created by Awesome Fest, an organization which had staged movie screenings on the Parkway over the summer when Eakins Oval was transformed into a beach. The drive-in concept pays homage to its invention, 80 years ago, in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

“For us, it was creating that drive-in experience in an urban setting,” said director Josh Goldbloom. “Looking for a location for this in Center City can be – technically and logistically – very difficult.”

Goldbloom got help from the city’s department of Parks and Recreation, which has been playing with ideas of how to make the Parkway more pedestrian-friendly.

A later program features films about cars that kill, including Steven King’s “Christine” — the Citizen Kane of killer car movies, said Goldbloom — and an obscure 1977 Josh Brolin film, “The Car.”

The Eakins Oval parking lot can accommodate about 100 cars, with sound transmitted by radio signal to the car stereo. The temporary drive-in theater will also accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. If you don’t drive, admission is free.

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