Friday, June 27, 2008

Drive In Theaters

This time of year I think back fondly of the Drive In Theaters of my youth. In the post World War II era of the 1950's families were trying to find an entrainment option as they raised the "baby boom" generation. What follows is an "oldie goldie post" of a few years ago.

I loved Drive In Theaters as a kid.In fact, if I were to pick the favorite thing of my youth it would be Drive In Movies. I grew up in Ogden, Utah; Boise, Idaho; Roseburg, Oregon; and Coos Bay/North Bend, Oregon in the 1950's. Each of those towns had drive in theaters. I can remember going to two or three movies a week in Ogden in the summer before we had TV. This was when I was 4 or 5. My dad didn't like indoor movies because as he said there was always someone behind him chewing on gum which he hated. My mom would make us sandwiches (usually tuna) along with Kool-Aid in a thermos and cookies.(Coke was too expensive) There was always a commercial before the intermission between double features for the snack bar food. I remember an ad for a foreign food I had never heard of called "pizza". My dad said it tasted like card board so we never got any. My mom loved pop corn so we always got some. To draw family's the theaters sometimes had special attractions like pony rides or steam engine train rides. They all had playground equipment we would play on till the movie started. The movie always started with a cartoon I remember running to the car as the cartoon started. I even loved and still love the previews. Before the movie dad's would often turn on their spot lights and play games on the screen.

The movies, or shows as we called them, often were not in retrospect that good. I can remember Ma &Pa Kettle, Here Come the Nelsons ( Ozzie and Harriet before TV) and the Bowery Boys. Not real sophisticated stuff. But their was always John Wayne. I can remember campaigning for weeks to go see "Blood Alley". Not because I knew anything about it other than it's name and John Wayne was in it. I loved saying "Blooooood Alley." I knew if Jeff Chandler was in a movie I could talk my mom into going. My sister who still likes to go to bed early would always sleep through the second feature but not me. The sound was usually terrible but I loved the big screen and how it transported me out of small town America in the days before color TV. Most of them are gone now the victim of VCR and now DVD and high land prices.