Bengies has one last summer

Reprieve: The drive-in theater was supposed to close last season, but open-air film fans have a few more chances to get there before the end

June 04, 1999|By Ann Hornaday and Chris Kaltenbach | Ann Hornaday and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

It's future may not be bright, but niggling details about its pending sale have earned the Bengies Drive-In Theatre a one-summer reprieve -- good news for movie fans who now have another season to enjoy the easygoing, 1950s atmosphere of Baltimore's only remaining old-style drive-in.

"My son opened it up for the summer because there's no sense letting it just sit there," owner Jack D. Vogel said yesterday from his offices in Salem, Ohio. He warned, however, that fans should not get their hopes up. "There's a lot of people interested in seeing it stay open, but it's just not in the cards in the long run."

Vogel wouldn't get into specifics of the possible sale, other than to say he didn't think the prospective owners were much interested in operating a drive-in.

"I wouldn't want to promise anything beyond this summer," he said.

Bengies operator D. Vogel reluctantly decided to close the Baltimore County landmark last year, saying he was exhausted from the 16-hour days needed to operate the drive-in and citing his stepfather's interest in selling the property.

The Bengies concluded its season with an all-night slate of films last Halloween.

D. Vogel had said he was reluctant to reopen the drive-in after all the hoopla of last year, but in the end, decided that showing movies for one more season was better than having it just sit there.

Maintaining the drive-in will also give its new owners the option of keeping the 43-year-old operation going, he said.

Should the Bengies close, Churchville's Bel Air drive-in -- which lacks the Bengies' classic ambience -- would be the area's last open-air theater.

`Husband' at the Charles

"An Ideal Husband," Oliver Parker's new adaptation of the Oscar Wilde comedy starring Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett and Minnie Driver, will be the featured film at Cinema Sundays this weekend at the Charles Theatre.

Critic and Wilde aficionado Mike Giuliano will introduce the film and lead the post-screening discussion. Walk-up tickets to the penultimate Cinema Sundays program will be available for $15 when doors open at 9: 45 a.m. The screening will begin at 10: 30 a.m. As usual, coffee and bagels will be served. For more information about Cinema Sundays, call 410-727-3464.

`Dutchman'at Heritage

The Heritage Shadows of a Silver Screen is kicking off its campaign to nominate "America's 100 Greatest African-American Films of the Century" Saturday with a screening of "Dutchman" (1967), the screen adaptation of an Amiri Baraka play starring Al Freeman Jr., at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Heritage, which is preparing to announce a new location in the Howard Street entertainment district, will use proceeds from the screening to defray costs of moving from its former location at North Avenue, and to renovate its new location. The short film "Black and Tan," featuring Duke Ellington, will precede "Dutchman." The screening begins at 7: 30 p.m. Tickets are $8. For ticket information call 410-764-1210.

McGuire's `Andromeda'

The underground films of Anne McGuire will be featured at the Red Room at Normals Books and Records on Saturday. This will be the Baltimore premiere of "Strain Andromeda The," McGuire's re-working of the science fiction classic, "The Andromeda Strain." McGuire's "When I Was a Monster," "The Waltons" and "I'm Crazy and You're Not Wrong" will also be shown. The show begins at 8: 30 p.m. Admission is $5. Normals is located at 425 E. 31st St.

For more information, call 410-243-6888.

Pub Date: 6/04/99

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