18 October 2012

DRIVE-IN MEMORIES

 

 

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Remember drive-in movie theaters?  If you are old enough, you probably have fond memories of those precursors to football tail-gate parties, where instead of hanging out in our cars at a football stadium, we did it  at the movies.   For baby boomers, going to the drive-in for a double feature was a typical family outing in the summer. Growing up in the 50s and 60s, my family were big patrons of the drive-in.   As soon as it was dusk,  we would load up the station wagon with toys and food and  head off to the neighborhood drive-in.  Before we left, my dad would spray everybody down with mosquito repellent. The dreaded culprit back then wasn’t West Nile Virus, but St. Louis Encephalitis – remember that?!   The movie that was playing was almost incidental to the experience, which was, of course the attraction.   If you had a cool mom, she would back up the car to the screen and open the lift gate on the station wagon so the kids could lay down on blankets and pillows and watch the movie.  The parents would then sit outside on beach chairs.  It was most fun when two or three families went together and you could run back and forth visiting each other’s cars.

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  To get a good spot, you had to leave well before the sun set.

 We never cared what movie was playing mostly because you could never hear it.   The metal speakers that hung off the car windows were so poor, you could barely make out the dialogue over all the scratchy static.  We would always bring a car load of food and candy, probably to save money, and also because the concession food was so terrible.  But, that didn’t stop us kids from begging to go buy some red hots or popcorn every 10 minutes or so.   

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Photographs of abandoned drive-ins portray a unique desolate beauty.

 

Of course, trips to the bathroom were more frequent than those needed during a church sermon.  Mostly they were just another excuse to go back out to that great concession stand with its candy and greasy hamburgers and soda pops in glass bottles.    Those were fun days and just thinking about them takes me right back to our ever-present station wagon with the padded “way back” that my dad always had installed, ready for our long summer road trips that we took across the country.  Whatever happened to those days?  Today we take planes everywhere, but back then, we drove to national parks and camping grounds.  We drove all over  America, so it doesn’t seem all that strange that we would also go see movies while sitting in the security of our own cars. 

 

 

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An abandoned drive-in ticket office.

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The first drive-in was in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey – built in 1933. It cost just 25 cents a car plus 25 cents a person to get in, which was actually more expensive than an indoor movie.  In order to attract customers to the new drive-ins, advertisers came up with reasons to see a movie in your car: you could smoke during the movie,  you could talk as loud as you wanted without bothering anyone, and you had the freedom to eat in the privacy of your car.  An even more important attraction was that sleeping babies and toddlers could be brought, bundled up in their blankets and pajamas - saving the expense of a babysitter. The earliest drive-ins didn’t have the individual speakers – there was just one booming speaker up front that most likely disturbed the surrounding neighborhood. In fact, in the early days, a lawsuit was brought in Detroit claiming the sound of the main speaker traveled over two miles!

 

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That original drive-in in New Jersey closed within a few years and the outdoor theatre business became tied up in messy legal affairs for years.  But, still, the idea slowly gained in popularity.   The introduction of the in-car individual speakers in 1946 was seen as a  major improvement.   With the war now over and the soldiers back home, it meant hordes of new customers for the drive-ins.  The baby boomer generation quickly added to those numbers.    To fill the demand during the 1950s,  thousands of drive-in were quickly built around the country.  One remaining problem was the movie studios who felt that the drive-ins cheapened the movie going experience.  Hoping to drive them out of existence, the studios kept first run films for inside theaters only.   Still, by 1957, there were over 3,700 drive-ins in America aloneThe genre was also popular in Australia, England and Denmark.

 

 

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As the popularity of drive-ins grew, so did the experience.  Many theatres incorporated amusement park rides and playgrounds, along with bigger and fancier concession stands.  They also provided in-car heaters during the winter and bug spray in the summer.  In the 70s, the speakers were abandoned when the sound was made available through car radios, first on the AM dial, and  then later on FM.  

 

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While drive-ins were sold as wholesome family entertainment, they began to get a reputation as a place to “neck” and they were nicknamed “passion pits.”  Before long sex in the cars wasn’t the only issue, but sex on the screen was.  Huge images from spicy movies could be seen for miles and some churches began to object.  As the popularity of drive-ins started its decline, the desperate owners began showing racier and racier films to attract more customers.  The days of the pj-clad kids at drive-ins were over.  

 

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By the 1980s, drive-ins were a  thing of the past – mostly due to multi cinema houses, where people had  8 to 10 movies to choose from and of course, there was now cable TV.  Another often overlooked reason for the decline was the valuable real estate the drive-ins occupied.  Many suburban neighborhoods sprang up around the once remote land and the urge to sell was matched by the amount the owners were paid.  In the 90s, the number of theatres left standing was only 750 – a number that remains constant today.  Recently, there has been a small resurgence of the family friendly drive-in.  Some drive-ins have marketed themselves as a nostalgic trip back to the 50s – hosting theme nights where customers dress in costume and  car shows where owners show off their remade muscle cars and hot rods.

 

 

 

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In two towns close to Houston,  there are now two new drive-ins.   In 2005, the owners of the Crossroads Drive-In in Shiner constructed a new drive-in theatre, the Starlite, on Highway 59 near Kingwood. The following year, the Showboat Drive-in opened in Hockley near Tomball. For those Houstonians who are willing to make the drive, it is still possible to see a movie under the stars, just like the old days.

 

 

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Cars line up two hours before showtime at The Showboat in order to get a spot.

 

The Showboat was built by two brothers who wanted to return to the good old days of the drive-in.   Their theatre has the usual gravel drive which produces that distinctive crunching sound -- immediately bringing to mind those nights spent at the drive in, years and years ago.  There are two screens and a 1950s style snack bar with video games for teenagers. The owners laugh about the kids who hide in trunks to get in free – and they say they just look the other way. Working here, they claim, is more fun than toil.  Some five years in the making, the brothers call The Showboat a dream come true.  Cars line up two hours before showtime for a nostalgic tailgate party and to get a good spot.  On weekends, the theatre can fill up quickly – the venue is extremely popular.  Go HERE for information on the Showboat drive-in.

  

 

 

 

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The desire to return to the days of wholesome family fun has spurred on a new business – the home outdoor theatre.  Today, you can set up your own drive-in theatre, or back yard theatre, with systems that are sold for a few thousand dollars.  Other places provide the equipment as a rental for a one time party.  How fun!!

 

 

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Courtney, the Houston blogger of Inside the Loop, had a back yard movie party a few years ago – HERE.  She sent out invitations to 25 friends, rented the popcorn machine and a big screen and set up a drinks table.

 

 

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And of course, there was a candy concession stand.  So cute, love the chandelier!

 

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They rented the big screen and set it up in the backyard.

 

 

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And they watched a vintage movie – Charade.  Isn’t this the cutest idea ever? 

By the way, Courtney now runs her own business, selling textiles from southeast Asia HERE.  OK, I’m going to buy a few of her scarves!! 

 

 

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This family set up another back yard party – the kids sat in box cars.  Too cute!

 

 

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You can either buy these systems – or rent them.  They cost upwards of 2 and 3 thousand dollars – so I would think renting at first would be a good way to see if you really would use it a lot.  This party, above,  wasn’t too concerned with the “décor” – they were more serious about the movie.

 

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Some backyard screens are inflatable.

 

 

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Of course, styling the backyard is a must – isn't this darling!  Pottery Barn set up this party.  They used a sheet – but a sheet isn’t really a good screen, it wrinkles and moves in the wind.  Better to rent a real screen. 

 

 

 

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Design Sponge showed this cute party  - the cuter the better, for sure. HERE.  One blogger wrote that she set up the outdoor theatre each weekend during the summer and her kids and neighbors loved it.   Such a great idea for family togetherness.   We would have a problem in my family – no one would want to watch the same movie!

 

 

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On Pinterest, these are really cute movie party ideas.

 

 

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Here, they had a Christmas party – a good idea for someone in Florida or Texas only where the weather would be warm enough!

 

 

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This family had plenty of land to set up a permanent outdoor theatre – along with a firepit.  They then enclosed the entire area with logs and rocks.  My sister in law should do this at her ranch.  She has the space – and it would be so much fun to sit around the firepit and watch a movie.  Usually, we just watch Kirk’s antics instead.  ha!

 

 

Wondering why I even got interested in outdoor movies?  Writing a blog involves lots of research.  I’m always looking on the internet or in magazines or books for inspiration, hoping to find something to write about.  Sometimes, I look for days before finding something that interests me.   Lately, I’ve fallen in love in Californian Colonial Spanish houses – ala Reese Witherspoon’s ranch – and so I’ve been looking at lots of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara real estate ads.   That’s  how I stumbled upon a house designed by Belzberg Architects.  Which lead me to Belzberg Architects web site, which then led me to THIS house:

 

 

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And yes, it’s not what would usually catch my eye.   Normally, I wouldn’t even take the time to study it, but……    Built in 2007, at 5800 sq. ft and located in Los Angeles, this contemporary house has two structures on the property.  At the right is the main house while the garage and guest house is on the left.  The house is sited to the views of downtown – which are stunning.  The house has won many awards, including two from the AIA.  Notice the distinctive wooden slats that covers the back side of the house and the guest house. 

 

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The house over looks the valley and further out to the coast.  The doors open to make the living area an indoor-outdoor space.  There’s no need for walls for art work.  The views ARE the art!

 

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Inside or outside – it’s hard to tell.   If I owned this house, I would remove the centered hanging fireplace and furnish it with antiques – French and Oriental – it could be stunning with old patina woods that play against all the glass and slick surfaces.  Think Saladino…a few busts or urns, here and there.  A frayed, old rug.  A Spanish styled dining table piled high with books….

 

 

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A view at night of the pool and the long side of the façade on the right.  That fireplace!    

 

 

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The slatted wood on the side of house creates a shadow play along the walls and floors, so interesting. 

 

 

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A view through the living room – wait - is that a billboard back there?? 

 

 

 

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Actually, it’s a movie screen that reaches across the front of the guest house above the garage.  See the two people watching the movie at the bottom right of the picture?  It must be hooked up to a computer in the house because you can see the Windows application at the very bottom of the screen.  Incredible!   This is L.A. after all.   I wonder if a studio head lives here?    Underneath the screen is the garage, with the guest house beyond and above it.

 

 

 

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The balcony seats are located right off the living room in the main house.   I wonder if there is a fire pit there too?   I just LOVE this!  I wonder if they leave a photograph on the screen when movies aren’t playing.  What photograph would you put there – or would  you have a revolving choice of them? 

 

 

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Here you can see into the guest house on the right, with its two story living area. 

 

 

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The back side of the guest house is covered in the wood slats, just like the main house.  The shadows must be incredible in the two story living room. 

 

 

 

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The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

 

I wasn’t familiar with Belzberg Architects, but they have quite an impressive resume, including this building, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust which appears to grow organically out from the ground.   Take a look at their web site to see more of  projects, HERE.   I actually found their web site when I was looking at a house that is for sale in L.A. that I particularly liked.   Belzberg  designed that house and I planned to show it here,  but then I found the movie-screen house which led me to back yard movie parties and then to drive in movies.   I know it’s a circuitous route to take to write a simple story, but there it is. 

In Part Two of this story – I will show you the house for sale in L.A.  It’s got a back story to it that I discovered but it was just too much to combine it with this story.  So, until next time!

 

69 comments:

  1. Presumably the fun loving backyard film fans are wearing headsets. Certainly these nice people wouldn't project noise pollution into the surrounding homes and environment.

    The Florida League of Conservation Voters: Noise Pollution Drives Sprawl
    http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20080624/COLUMNIST13/806240707

    The Deleterious Impact of Projecting Noise into the Home Environment
    http://www.barkingdogs.net/exposeindex.shtml

    Sam Twain

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    1. We have issues with a few of our neighbors playing their music to loudly, or watching loud action films in their garage with the door open. They've joked in the past about the police showing up at their house a few time because of the noise, and thought it was funny. You can just imagine how much we adore these people. Anyway, if folks want to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is nice, I say go for it, but consider those who live around you. Let your neighbors know what your plans are, how late the party might be, and ask to do a sound check with them so you can test the volume before hand. The extra effort to keep the peace in your neighborhood will go a long way.

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    2. I think that goes without saying. I could never do this in my yard - the neighbors are way too close, but for people wit a big back yard, it's probably fine. if not- they invite the neighbors to come watch it too!

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    3. Good neighbors keep their noise to themselves.

      Being invited to a noise polluting event doesn't mitigate the damage done by that noise projected into the home environment.

      Without containing walls, amplified noise is projected at great distances.

      Noise pollution is not merely a nuisance. Regular exposure to noise projected into the home from the outside can make people sick.

      Noise pollution is as damaging as air and water pollution. It's an increasing public health hazard. It's damaging people's health, costing billions, and threatening the world's natural sound systems in the same way that climate change is altering its eco-systems.

      People must educate themselves about the ill effects of noise pollution, raise awareness, and demand the authorities enforce the noise laws to protect the public health. Where those noise laws are weak, work to strengthen them.

      The Deleterious Impact of Projecting Noise into the Home Environment
      http://www.barkingdogs.net/exposeindex.shtml

      The East Herts Council Public and Environmental Section - Neighborhood Guidelines
      http://www.eastherts.gov.uk/index.jsp?articleid=9951

      excerpt:

      Amplified Sound - Controlling Noise Levels

      Amplified sound can arise from several sources in the home - eg, music systems, radios, televisions, computer games, musical instruments.

      Excessive Volume could result in neighbouring properties not being able to enjoy their own environment.
      Open doors and windows let noise out

      Avoid playing amplified high levels of sound if the windows and doors are open.
      Do not place equipment in the garden, or on the balcony.

      Summer Time

      Do not play amplified sound out of doors
      When doors and windows are open reduce the volume at which you play amplified sound. You should not be able to hear the sound outside the premises

      The East Herts Council Public and Environmental Section - Neighborhood Guidelines
      http://www.eastherts.gov.uk/index.jsp?articleid=9951

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    4. I agree with Sam Twain and KO. Headsets are the way to go if you're going to watch movies outside.

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  2. I'm so happy you wrote this! I've been longing for the return of the drive in. There is a few here and there but a trek to get to. The best was climbing on top of the car with your best friend to watch. I saw Grease this way and I'll never forget it! Also remember when folks applauded at the end of a movie? I wish we'd bring that back too.

    have a beautiful weekend!
    Jen xoxo

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  3. The Showboat is the perfect place to make some special memories with your family. Before the shows, the playground is filled with the sweet sounds of kids playing OUTSIDE. Where else can you play tetherball under a big ol' Texas star filled sky?

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  4. Oh, I remember............we always got a bucket of KFC! What memories!
    Thanks for another great post!! Looking forward to hearing about the LA house!

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  5. I went to the movies as an older teenager on dates. I kept on the move, back and forth to the bathrooms as I used for an excuse to get out of the car and away from the 'wolf'! LOL I would turn down drive-dates after a couple of them, learned my lesson! I then went with groups (hiding some kids in the trunk, we felt so guilty!)

    Loved the atmosphere of the drive in though, and remember sitting on the swing in the kids play area. The movie 'Grease' makes me think of the drive ins back in Massachusetts.

    Thanks for posting. I still remember buying and sharing popcorn and soda, somehow it tasted better there!

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  6. Cool post, Joni! I've never been to a drive-in movie....look forward to that experience one day. And that modern house w/ those views: WOW! A bit streamlined for me, but that outdoor screen is the bomb! Definitely awesome!! xo, Loi

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  7. I have been disillusioned all these years! I thought drive-ins were still a part of every American childhood!! Was always envious when I saw it them on American films, don't think they ever existed in the UK? Unique, fun post - thank you Joni.

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    1. in my research, they said they were big in the uk? i guess that was wrong!! and denmark? that seemed weird to me too. I did see pictures of them in australia, so that must be true.

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  8. Really fun post! My memories of going to the drive in were with friends and libations were always involved.

    We held a movie night for my son's 14th birthday party. We placed the big screen at one end of our patio, set up chairs, and had several food and drink tables. I was worried that the teens might think the whole theme lame and the party would crash and burn. Not the case at all! We chose a scary movie and the kids loved it and screamed through the whole movie. It was one we won't forget.

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  9. Love this post! You are so clever. I've always wanted to go to a drive in, but never have. If I owned the house in LA, I would have a scene from Breakfast At Tiffany's or another Audrey Hepburn film showing when movies aren't in progress.

    Maureen

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    1. breakfast at tiffany's would be a great one. i would probably choose the dining room scene from Something's Gotta Give, or a living room scene. it still remains my favorite movie house of all times!

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  10. Joni too much!! I remember us all packing up and heading to the drive-in.
    We would make enough popcorn to fill a grocery sack!! I don't know of any in this area.

    That home is amazing!! Like you, I would do the interiors in-antiques, some oriental touches and find someplace to hang art of course!

    Xoxo
    Karena
    2012 Artists Series

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  11. When I was in high school (during the 80's) we had a drive in in the small N. Ca. farming town I grew up in. The price was $5 a car. My friends and I would load up the pick up truck with lawn chairs and back in to watch the film or leave a car a mile away on the side of the road and piled into the trunk. (I would be horrified if my kids did such a thing! :)
    Once, when I drove, we forgot to remove the speaker and almost drove away with it!

    Here in Scottsdale/Phoenix we still have 3 drive ins and you have reminded me that drive in season is almost starting here ~due to the cooler temps. You have to get there early because they are always packed on the weekends.

    I too often fall down the computer rabbit hole. I am in the midst of a "30 Days of Design Series" and was researching either Spanish or Federal interiors and was shocked to find I had gone so off course a few days ago. My stupor was only interrupted by my son coming home from school.

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  12. I grew up in Pasadena, Texas (a/k/a "Stink-a-dena" to my fellow Houstonians) and spent many sunsets with my family at the Pasadena Drive In on Shaver! The humidity and vulture-size mosquitoes only made those memories better! Thank you for reminding me of such simple pleasures. Stephanie Lynton from B-ham, AL

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    1. i always wondered how people who lived out there could stand it. no offense, but it smelled awful. the sulfur. for those not from texas - the ship channel and all the oil refineries were just the stinkiest things in the world. we would hold our noses when we drove by there. stinkadena - that's exactly what everyone called it. i don't think it smells like that anymore? does it? maybe all the new regulations about spewing smoke into the air stopped it? but when i was little, i could never understand how people lived with the odor. they probably didn't even smell it anymore? omg i am cracking up! only in houston!!!!

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  13. I loved drive-in's in the 60's! My older sisters would take us all to the drive-in. My younger two sibs often ended up in the trunk! That way, we had more money for snacks at the concession stand! So fun!

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  14. What an interesting post that brings back memories. I worked in the ticket booth at the local drive-in as a teenager in the late 70s. It was a fun summer job to have, with lots of funny things happening, including finding kids in the trunk and people leaving with the speakers.

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  15. Throw the children in their PJ's(they adored it)+ blankets, grab some KFC go early to the drive-inn movie. Haaa fond memories. Grand post. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  16. This is a wonderful post. So interesting. And I just heard a radio interview on Dallas' KRLD AM 1080 earlier this week with a man who is building a brand new drive-in movie theater in Ft. Worth. He is a developer with a vision. I can't wait to drive over there from Dallas to catch a flick!!! Thanks, Joni!

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  17. Great departure from your normal pretties, glad you showed us some L A ! Love the movies.

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  19. I remmeber as a kid going to the drive in pretty often with my parents (this was in the 80s) and it was SO much fun! They were often kid friendly movies of course. I saw E.T. this way! And we were there every Saturday morning for the flea market as well!

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  20. Hi Joni. As always, another terrific post. Here in Oakville, Ontario Canada, we still have a drive-in theater. It's 5 minutes from us and my kids enjoy going with friends. It costs $10 a car and just like the old days, they watch the top billing movie at one end and then drive around to the other screen to watch the other screens top billing movie. It makes me smile when I see their instagram and phone pics of them on the swings, or sitting on lawn chairs with snugglies. Such fond memories!

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  21. Living in PA at the time, I took my four year old son to his first movie and of course it was at the old-fashioned drive-in, out in the charming country! We live in FL now and have something that is even more fun... "Dive-In Movies" at pool in my neighborhood. The kids all watch the movie from the shallow end of the pool while the parents bring our own libations and relax! We even have life guards on duty! In the coolor months we move the movies to the village green of our neighborhood and drive our golf carts up and then sit in camping chairs or on blankets and enjoy the show. Watching movies under the stars (and palm trees) is one of the best memories I know we are creating for our children.

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  22. I grew up in Los Angeles and went to many drive-in movies. I remember as a pre-teen begging my mother to take me to see Rio Bravo staring Ricky Nelson. I was so in love with him! And the concession stand had the best pizza slices. Thanks for bringing back all those "groovy" memories!

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  23. I raised my kids in Santa Cruz, California and even that little town had a drive-in. A few years ago, Sutter Medical bought the land and took down the screen. The drive-in was no more. It was so sad to see it go. But it remains to host the weekend flea market which is actually an interesting event to attend. Always some great stuff. The drive-in was next to the freeway, and when you were driving, you could see the movie!

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  24. Your research is amazing. I love some of the tangents you follow when something tickles your interest - like drive in movies. I remember them well. Family fun, no dates. My folks were wise to what could happen with a couple of teenagers in a parked car.
    The LA house with all the glass is amazing. Can see why you would suggest antiques and softening fabrics. They would, however, suffer greatly in the direct sun

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  25. I've been to the drive-in here and we loved it! And the backyard movie night was such fun, too! We had such great memories in our Heights bungalow. Look forward to hosting another one once we get through this renovation on our new house! Thanks so much, Joni, and what a treat to see the party pics again! xxCourt

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  26. Joni,
    That was fun. I guess I'm aging myself but that was the only kind of movie we went to until the Beatles movie "Hard Days Night" when I was a teenager. My girlfriends and I went to see that at a walk in theater. I loved drive in movies.
    Karen

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  27. We still have a drive-in here in the wonderful town I am so lucky to live in.













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  28. Once again, a gem of a post. I especially enjoyed knowing the route you took. At the risk of dating myself, I have fond memories of going to the drive-in movie as a child, although I cannot name one film that I saw there. The Skyview Drive-In was only open during the summer months because of the cold Midwest winters, but it included a play ground just below the screen. We wore our pajamas so that we could sleep in the back of the station wagon when we were tired and could crawl right into bed when we returned home. I don't think we ever went to the consession stand because my mother would fill a large grocery bag with popcorn to take with us. Drive-ins were not as popular when I was a teenager but I did have a few dates that involved more necking than movie watching.

    The LA house is amazing. The hanging fireplace reminds me of another childhood memory - The Jetsons - but the pool and the view ... wow! I can imagine swimming laps at dusk and then watching the city come to life at night with my feet dangling in the water and a cocktail parked in my hand.

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  29. Lynn University is hosting the last Presidential debates.. is this not where someone U know matriculates?

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    1. yep!!!!! that's where elisabeth goes. no idea in thr world how that picked that school. it is teeny tiny. but we are soooo excited about it. we've known for a year i think! seems like it.

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  30. I think the Admiral twin on old Route 66, is still open in Tulsa, the movie can be seen from the interstate nearby. My home town drive in theater is closed now, but I remember the playground and the snack bar very well. I also remember going to the drive in as a child with my Aunt-in-law, her mother and sister, all of whom smoked. I could have used that lawn chair, lol!
    With a gallon, really a quart of Behr Silver Screen paint applied to a suitable surface, anything can be a movie screen. We did this and it really is a great screen.
    Paula ~ Mise en scène

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  31. OMG I wanted to go to a drive in so bad with a boyfriend once. I finally found one about an hour away,(this was long before google or computers, so my finding involved asking everybody if they knew any drive-in's) we drove to the theater, paid and drove in. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be an x-rated movie. How could that possibly happen, porn on an outside super large anybody can see screen???
    Well we immediately left, but after an hour drive and knowing an hour back I wanted to use the restroom...my second huge mistake. I am getting sick just thinking about the gross stuff in that bathroom.
    I would be hard pressed to ever return to a drive-in, my skin is crawling right now just thinking about it. YUCK YUCK YUCK

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  32. How much fun! I remember seeing Sean Connery in Thunderball at a drive in near Bellaire or Meyerland. Later on I saw Slumber Party Massacre outside Austin. A night movie event would be great for a block party in a culdesac or the neighborhood park!

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  33. How much fun! I remember seeing Sean Connery in Thunderball at a drive in near Bellaire or Meyerland. Later on I saw Slumber Party Massacre outside Austin. A night movie event would be great for a block party in a culdesac or the neighborhood park!

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  34. How much fun! I remember seeing Sean Connery in Thunderball at a drive in near Bellaire or Meyerland. Later on I saw Slumber Party Massacre outside Austin. A night movie event would be great for a block party in a culdesac or the neighborhood park!

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  35. I always loved going to the drive-in, and we went with the whole family. I can remember seeing "Sleeping Beauty" on top of the car and being terrified of the scene where the prince chopped through the thorns. Funny what you remember.

    But this house.... WOW! That is the coolest. I loved seeing this, Joni. Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to Part II of your LA findings.

    XO,

    Sheila

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  36. Oh the memories! We went to the drive-in all the time back in the day. One time I even hid in the trunk as we went in - is that not ridiculous! It was a bunch of us girls being crazy! When we were younger, our grandparents would take us - there was something very cozy about being tucked in the car and watching a movie in our pajamas. There is still a nice drive-in in Newton IL close to where I live - we went a few years ago and had fun! Thanks for the fun post!

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  37. So much fun to go down memory lane. The post evokes memories of the film greats like Kim Novak, William Holden, Marlon Brando, etc. Loved ordering burgers on the speakers and having them delivered to the car. Such a fun and innocent time. Thanks for the memories. Glad to know that elements of this era are coming back into vogue.

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  38. I love the places and threads you find on the Internet sure can eat up time! I was not often allowed to go to the drive in ( bad teenagers go there) so I treasured the few times I got to go.

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  39. What a fun post! Can recall going to the Drive-In Movie as a child (going in our p.j.'s was the norm) and during my Teenage years (taking turns of who hid in the trunk). Unfortunately there are no longer any in our vicinity but a quick internet search claims there is still a total of twenty-four venues in Canada that operative. -Brenda-

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  40. Joni,
    What a great post. Original. Loved the memories this post brought back.
    thanks.
    Donna
    leviheart@aol.com

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  41. wow .. fantastic post
    this is my first visit for this blog but i will follow it cuz its amazing blog

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  42. its pretty - we will wait for more ideas

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  43. I remember my big brother taking four of us to a really scary drive in movie...so much fun... I'd like to go to Courtney's house for a movie and Hot Tamales.

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  44. Have you checked out what Diane Keaton has done with Spanish Colonial homes in California? I'll think you'll love it!

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  45. Ha! And some snarky Anons made fun of me earlier this year when I said it would be fun to have a party in my Herb Garden among the roses and lavender while watching movies on a big-screen. Thank you, Joni, for showing the L.A. house with the outdoor screen over the garage. Not what we have set up here on our property, but it shows what can be done when you are open minded enough to dream!

    Some years ago, before 72 inch screens were affordable to the masses, I had a projector that connected to my computer. I used it for presentations to large groups for my work. We enjoyed many "movie nights" at home with friends and family simply using a large wall in our family room. Our "screen" was 10 feet high and 16 feet long. Not optimal picture quality, but lots of fun with minimal expense.

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  46. We went to a back-yard movie night with those rented screens this past summer. So much fun for the kids, and way too much candy as well! No one fell asleep like I used to when I went to the real drive-ins growing up! Thanks for a fun post Joni!

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  47. This post brought back some great memories. My parents used to take us to the drive-in in our pajamas. My dad had a piece of plywood to fit in the back seat, creating a big bed for my brother and I. Can you imagine? No seat belts. Just bouncing around in our pi's, going to the drive-in!
    Love the whole outside, backyard movie theater idea though. Would love to do that in our wine country home. We could turn up the column--no one would hear it! Not so much in town though. Our neighbors complain about every little noise!
    Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

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  48. Much lower key, but we've taken the iPad outside and cuddled up on the hammock with the two kids. For some reason watching a movie is just more fun outside.

    Cris

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  49. A lovely trip down memory lane. I am in Sydney and we had drive-ins. My favourite memory is playing on the swings underneath the big screen before the movie started. The other enduring memory is the refreshments hall, all the choc-ices, coke and pop-corn, I can still remember the smell of those rooms (good). Indelible memories. I'm giving my age away but distinctly remember seeing the movie "Ice Castles" at the drive-in when I was a little girl

    One other thing, I remember when things got very high tech and the sound was connected via a wire to your car's aerial which was relayed through your car radio, which had to be set to the drive-in radio station.

    Looking forward to the next post on this modern house, not usually my type of place but looks wonderful.

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  50. A lovely trip down memory lane. I am in Sydney and we had drive-ins. My favourite memory is playing on the swings underneath the big screen before the movie started. The other enduring memory is the refreshments hall, all the choc-ices, coke and pop-corn, I can still remember the smell of those rooms (good). Indelible memories. I'm giving my age away but distinctly remember seeing the movie "Ice Castles" at the drive-in when I was a little girl

    One other thing, I remember when things got very high tech and the sound was connected via a wire to your car's aerial which was relayed through your car radio, which had to be set to the drive-in radio station.

    Looking forward to the next post on this modern house, not usually my type of place but looks wonderful.

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  51. Hi Joni: Great post! I am lucky to live within 20 miles of TWO drive ins here in Maine - incredible and they are both operating and very popular in the summer. My Dad has a lake house near Warwick, New York where there is still a drive in too. I even went to a drive-in back in New Hampshire years ago that I believe is still operational. I think they will stick around as long as people love movies. I absolutely love this house in LA with the movie screen - that is living!! ;-)) I would watch TV shows there as well -

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  52. Loved the house. It reminds me of the ones designed by Lake-Flato Architects in San Antonio. Living in a glass house would certainly require a certain mind set. I would be perfectly content with all the glass in the daytime. All that exposure at nightime, however, might be another story.

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  53. I adore this!! Our neighbourhood did the outdoor movie thing last summer and it was wonderful.
    I do well remember going to drive-ins with my parents. Though I must say I don't remember the movies very well.... I was usually out of the car exploring. I never did find out Who Shot Liberty Valance!
    xo,
    p

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  54. I've only been to a drive-in once, but it was a lot of fun! Sometimes we have movies play on a big screen out on the quad at school.

    <3 Melissa
    wildflwrchild.blogspot.com

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  55. Hi Joni,
    Being a night owl I am reading your post on a Saturday night and guess what we just got back from the drive in. Yes, we go to the drive-in almost every weekend. We live in Dallas and there is a drive in called the Galaxy Drive In, in Ennis Texas (Galaxydriveintheater.com). It is perfect for us because we have a 9yo and a 2.5 yo and the 9yo will sit through movies but the 2.5 gets bored quickly. So it is a great way for us all to see current movies without the hassle of dragging into a theater with a stroller, etc. We (girls) usually wear our PJs and bring blankets and pillows. Our drive in has two great concession stands and they say that buying concessions helps to keep them open because they do not make as much money from the sale of tickets to the movies as you would think. We were in Boston recently and discovered a website Driveintheaters.com. It listed all the theaters in the US (open and closed.) It is a good resource if you live in an area and are not sure if there is a Drive in near you. There is another drive in in our area, (Fort Worth) we have never been to it because it only shows one feature and the Galaxy has 5 screens and shows two features for one price. Another nice thing about our drive in is that they show family entertainment. Boatloads of families are there, especially on the weekends. They almost NEVER show anything over PG13. And the night before a great movie like are listening Joni... Breaking Dawn 2 they have Midnight showings just like the major theater. By the way I am attending an all day marathon with my nieces on November 15. It starts at 11:30 am and goes until 9:30 pm and then we get to see Breaking Dawn 2 at 10pm before it officially comes out on Friday November16. This reminds me of the Fright Night Marathons they had in my home town during Halloween. I won a prize (along with a few other crazy kids for lasting through the whole thing...to this day I still can't believe my over protective mother let me stay in a theater all day watching Horror movies...Well as always... I love the research you put into your posts...and the Drive in Bug has hit Dallas. The Galaxy Started out with 2 screens and now has 6 screens and it is good wholesome family entertainment. We have been known to go twice in a weekend. Have you Twilight Moms gotten your tickets for Breaking Dawn 2 yet??? Many Dine In theaters here are sold out already!!! Amy from Dallas

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  56. I loved going to the drive-in when I was little and I love that house! I don't think I could live there, but I do want to knock on their door and ask if I can look around. That's the way I feel whenever I see homes from the 50s-60s. This house reminded me of another LA house...Case Study House #22 by Julius Shulman. I live in a newly built traditional house, but if I had a mcm home with a Mamie Pink bathroom...ahhh...that would be heaven on earth. ;)

    Cheryl

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