this story has appeared here a few times. folks seem to enjoy it. anyway, it is what it is. i should write something new but…meh. for some reason re-doing this has screwed up my front page. it also refuses to be fixed. sweet.
drive-in movies are a thing of the past. they played a sorta minor major role in my life at times over the years. you don’t see them around here much anymore. land is too expensive for that use now a days. as for the rest of the country i don’t know. though it’s probably the same.
when i was a kid there were 2 local drive-ins. well, in the early years actually only one, the ‘valley drive-in’. it had a really neat neon sign on the back of the screen. a spanish vaquero with a couple of oxen pulling an ox cart, of all things. i think i might even have a photo of it buried someplace in an email account. too far underground to find. at any rate during the day it was a very nice sorta mural. at night it was magic. there was also a monkey house located inside. the typical monkey deal of years ago.
lots of really pissed off monkey’s running around in a not very clean monkey house. by high school or sooner the monkey house was closed down. no one really missed
times change of course and movie viewing has changed as well. if i’m not mistaken, my first trip to the valley drive-in was to see ‘the bridge on the river kwai’, yeah a long time ago. lots of grade b horror films as a youngster as well. one of the neighbor ladies loved crappy horror flicks. she would take her son and a few others along to be her runners for the snack bar. yeah, she was a big one. one of the original junk food junkies.
by the time high school rolled around we drove ourselves to the drive-in it became standard to try and avoid the entry fee. a couple of guys curled up in the trunk was the obvious place. as night fell and the show started trunks opened up and kids got out. they got wise to that action and started asking kids to open the trunk up at the gate. a friend of mines parents owned a vw bus sorta tricked out camper style. there was a tiny closet just big enough for one of us to hide in and under one of the bench seats 2 of us
could squeeze inside the box frame. totally uncomfortable and cramped but it worked. they would ask to look inside the van but they never came in and searched. the things kids do to save a dollar.
i suppose the real allure to drive-ins was the fact that there seemed to be all kinds of action there for young hormone powered youths, there was, usually in the last couple of rows. the date crowd. which was fine. though if you didn’t have a date the movie, after awhile, became secondary with all the hormones careening wildly about. then it became a search for babes.
most of the time it was wishful thinking especially if you were drunk. which more often than not was the case. amazing amounts of red mountain dago red swilled in those high school drunken drive-in days. the usual scenario was watch the first movie and get drunk. by half way through the movie alcohol infused hormones took over. semi demented youths wandering about looking for unescorted babes.
it was like, over there. see em? yeah, lets get closer. they seem hot. ok. cool. look, no one is parked next to them. let’s move. so back to the car and the move was made.generally speaking it was a called strike three. then it was off to greener pastures. more often than not with the same results. cars driving around or kids walking around looking for some action. action that was a white rhino if you get my drift. though sometimes the action was great. you don’t always take a called third strike.
i remember one night vividly. it occurred late in my drive-in life. i even remember the movie. hitchcock’s, ‘torn curtain’, the cold war spy drama. a good movie i guess but to complicated for a couple of drunk guys to follow. then it became let’s find babes. no walking too drunk for that. we’ll drive around instead. at the time i had a 1962 ford falcon station wagon. 3 on the tree. ah, 3 speed stick shift,on the column. a real babe magnet for sure. yeah, uh huh. though as a surf wagon it worked out nicely. also for those semi rare lucky times. drifting.
we wandered drunkenly about finding a car of babes here and there and of course they want nothing to do with us. we of course got drunker and drunker. we’ve searched pretty much the whole place. no luck. only place left are the slots up front. we had avoided those due to the high family occupancy rate. close to the restrooms and play area. desperate times and desperate measures. we ventured into the family zone. too drunk to care. too stupid to realize what we were getting ourselves into.
the slots up front were on a semi hill. they had to be in order for you to see the screen. ergo, the closer to the screen the higher the hill. a combination of quantum physics, geometry and drive-in engineering. something way beyond our drunken state. we found an empty spot beside a family and a couple of babes right in the front row. i managed to park the car without any trouble. the ladies were not amused. nor interested. time to move. getting in the spot was easy getting out turned into a nightmare. the
hill bump whatever was as steep as any hill in san francisco. even sober they can be death defying with a stick shift. i couldn’t got off the hill. we were stuck.
in some sort of mack sennett moment we came up with the idea of the century. i would man the wheel, of course, as well as the clutch and hand break if needed. my friend would get on the floor and operate the gas and the brakes. yeah, fucking genius at work. pure drunken logic. i don’t know how long it took to finally get out of there but the clutch was damn near on fire by the time we did. hell, it stunk so bad itmay have been on fire. lots of yelling on my part. more gas! less brake!! stomp on it!! the engine revving to rpms not meant for it’s simple 6 cylinders. why the police weren’t called i’ll never know. they may have been. by the time we got off the hill we realized we had better leave.
there ya go. drive-in movie madness. there were times my friends and i had dates for the drive-in. those are for another time. perhaps. though one date the friend from the story and i had with 2 lovely surfer girl types is the reason i started to think about those drive-in days. of course the date was a bust for both of us way early in the evening. i don’t think the sun had even set. the ladies ended up sitting together in the backseat while my friend and i at up front and got very drunk. the lady who was my date for that long ago evening died last month. i just found out about it this past weekend. life comes at you hard and way too fast.
ok. i found the photo of the valley drive-in.
the date mentioned above passed away in 2010 i believe. my friend in the story passed away this past march 2014.
music provided by, the art farmer quintet, ‘blame it
on my youth’.