If you’re old enough, you’ll remember the feel of an outing to the drive-in movie theater. The crunch of gravel as your car wheeled up to the speaker post. The heft of that speaker as you hung it on the door, the staticky audio that filled the car with the clarity of a CB radio transmission. People thunking their car doors as they headed out for a hot dog.

Maybe you sat in your car, or maybe you sat on the hood, where you could toggle your gaze between the feature flick and the blanket of stars above.

With that in mind, allow us to pay tribute to the Cascade in West Chicago as the ending credits roll.

The Cascade, one of the last two drive-ins in the Chicago area, is closing down after more than 57 years of cinema al fresco. The owner says the drive-in’s lease is up, and the landowner’s not renewing. Joni Mitchell sang “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” In West Chicago, they’ll raze paradise and put up retail.

Why so dreamy about drive-ins? you may ask. Not everything that fades into obsolescence requires an elegy. We’ll never cry for those bygone car phones that looked and weighed like World War II field phones, or pine to hear again the ka-chunk of an eight-track getting shoved into its slot. PalmPilots, floppy disks, mullets— we bade farewell to each with a “meh.”

But some objects of yesteryear have too much charm to size up with a shrug. Vinyl’s comeback is in full swing. Audiophiles say there’s a richness to the sound of an LP that’s missing from a CD, which is maybe why the slow demise of compact discs hasn’t been mourned.

We can’t resist throwbacks steeped in style. There’s a reason why New Orleans keeps its streetcars, or why the cable cars of San Francisco are a must-do on any tourist’s itinerary. Chicago’s quintessential throwback? Wrigley Field, of course! Yes, the bells and whistles include skyboxes, cabernet and a jumbo-size video board. But the old green scoreboard’s still there, and so are the vines, the bleacher bums and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at every seventh-inning stretch.

Put drive-ins in that same charm box. The Chicago area once had an array of them — the 53 Drive-In in Palatine, the Dundale in East Dundee, the Harlem Outdoor Theater in Norridge and others. You’d never get megaplex-caliber recliners, surround-sound or a pricey Malbec at a drive-in. But there’s nothing like watching “Godzilla” or a rom-com while a July breeze sweeps through your car.

So, yes, bid adieu to the Cascade. But remember this. There’s still one drive-in left in metro Chicago — the McHenry Outdoor Theater in northwest suburban McHenry. Open since 1945, the drive-in’s 2019 season begins April 26, according to its website. Coming soon — “Avengers: Endgame.” Maybe that’s the best way to say goodbye to the Cascade. By saying hello to the McHenry. See you at the snack bar.

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