Dave Stancliff A Tribute to Drive-in Movies: most are gone, but not forgotten blogarama.com

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Tribute to Drive-in Movies: most are gone, but not forgotten

Good Day World!

I’m feeling pretty nostalgic today.

Growing up, one of my favorite sources of entertainment was going to the drive-In movies. In the 50s when I was a kid my whole family would go to the drive-in every Friday night – which was payday for my Dad. My brother, sisters, and I would watch the movie from the playground most of the time.

When high school rolled around, the drive-ins took on an even more entertaining aspect, necking with your girlfriend and steaming up the car windows. I knew some guys who had vans, the ultimate make-out vehicle. They’d back up to the screen and open the rear doors.

When my wife and I were dating we went to a drive-in theatre every weekend. Those were great times in the early 70s.

Now most of the drive-ins are gone.

The lights haven’t completely gone out on all our open-air theaters: there are 357 still-operating drive-ins in America (from a peak of 4,063 in 1958).

But they are last remnants of an industry whose decline — like Ernest Hemingway's famous description of a bankruptcy — came gradually, then suddenly. Many more sit abandoned and neglected.

Here’s one example:

REDLAND DRIVE-IN
Lufkin, Texas
Opened: unknown
Closed: unknown
Drive-ins represent a carefree time straight out of American Graffiti. Now, many of them just attract American graffiti. The long-defunct Redland, which ran adult movies in its final days, is a handsome reminder of a once-thriving business, with its remaining neon tubing seemingly just a flick of a switch away from beautifying the night sky again.

A salvage yard now sits behind the so-called “screen tower” (on which the screen was mounted). And, yes, that’s a home, also abandoned, built onto the bottom of the tower. Note too, the extensions added on both sides of the tower to accommodate the various widescreen formats (like Cinemascope) that were popular in the 1950s. Go to source for more examples.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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