Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Drive In Movie Theatres

This time of year I think back fondly to the Drive-in Theaters of my youth. In the post World War II era , 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.

As a kid I loved drive in theaters .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 these  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 the 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. I still have a black & white photo in my "movie room" of my sister and I on ponies taken at a drive-in theater before the movie. We must have been 4 and 6 years of age. It is one of my favorite pictures. 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,  in retrospect , were not 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. My dad would always make fun of the kissing scenes and my mom would always kid us about the hero being the only one left standing at the end of  war/western movies. My mom would put her head on my dad's shoulder and fall asleep. 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's and now DVD's and high land prices. I still miss them.
If I could go back in time to be with Mom & Dad & Marva it would be at a John Wayne western at a drive in movie.