LEIGHTON — Don Dzikowski loves drive-ins and the movies that play at them, but he has a soft spot for one particular genre — biker movies. Dzikowski and his partner, George Reis, are bringing their version of the biker movie marathon events that were popular in the ’60s and ’70s to the Mahoning Drive-In this weekend.
“It’s always been a dream to bring this type of show,” Dzikowski said. “When I was a kid I looked at newspaper ads and I would lust after going to these movies. Of course they were rated R and I couldn’t go at the time. We’re just trying to bring back the retro biker movie marathon shows that were big at drive-in theaters. We’re trying to bring back that experience tying into Lehighton bike night.”
The 17th Annual Lehighton Bike Night is on Saturday, Aug. 8 from noon to 9 p.m., and the biker movies at the Mahoning begin screening at dusk. Drive-In gates open at 6 p.m. and admission is $10 per person, with camping available at $10 per party. The films curated for the event were carefully chosen due to their rarity.
“We could’ve brought “Easy Rider,” but that one already gets a lot of play at these retro festivals and we wanted to do something different,” Dzikowski said. “(We’re screening) “Wild Angels,” Roger Corman’s groundbreaking film that really started the biker movie trend, “Born Losers,” American International Picture’s highest-grossing movie adjusted for box office, and “Glory Stompers.” These films are rarely seen outside of video.”
Dzikowski said if they’re successful this year they hope to bring in more films and possibly extend the event. He said they’ll be playing supplementary material before films, including cartoons, “The Three Stooges” shorts and retro trailers for classic biker movies.
The movies are expensive to screen, so Dzikowski said they’ll need to attract a sizeable crowd of bikers, movie goers and retro buffs just to break even. He’s hoping the event will make enough to both cover itself and provide some extra money to the drive-in, which is trying to maintain its 35 mm film focus while other theaters and drive-ins are converting to digital projectors.
“There’s an interest in this,” Dzikowski said. “We’re bringing back the first biker movie show to the drive-in theater in decades. Something that’s fondly remember by drive-in movie buffs. We’re going to have a lot of music—a sound system playing the biker movie soundtracks and the psychedelic rock music from that era. We’re going to have the sights and sounds of the era.”
The Mahoning Drive-In will host a separate biker movie marathon on Aug. 7. “The Jesus Trip,” “The Losers” and “Cain’s Way” will screen and the cost for admission and camping are the same as they are on Aug. 8.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO:
What: Biker movie marathon
Where: Mahoning Drive-In, 635 Seneca Rd., Leighton
When: Aug. 7 and Aug. 8. Gates at 6 p.m., screenings begin approximately 9 p.m.
How Much: Each night is $10 per person and camping is available at $10 per party