Vintage Buick

Americana: Drive-Ins

I just stumbled on to this great pictorial at Buzzfeed about a classic Americana concept; drive-in theatres. They still exist today, but aren’t nearly as wide-spread or in vogue as they were when I was a kid. Especially in rural America.

Now, growing up in West Hollywood meant there was clearly no shortage of movie theatres. And even if my friends and I would prefer riding our bikes up to the Cinerama on Sunset (the big-ass white dome) or pick one of the dozen or so theatres on Hollywood Boulevard (like Groman’s/Mann’s Chinese Theatre) to watch a double or triple feature on Sunday afternoon, I could just as well have chosen to see a film closer to home on Santa Monica, Beverly, Melrose or Fairfax. Come to think of it, that small theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard, near King’s Road and the old Mayfair Market, was called the Pussy Cat and only showed XXX flicks. I remember looking at the marquee as the bus to school swished passed the Pussy Cat, wondering what went on in that place. In the late 1970s, West Hollywood was an interesting place to be a teenage boy…

Anyway, so I’m old enough to have experienced the concept of “drive-ins”. Can’t remember where, when or what movies I saw, though. Even if the screen was probably huge for that day and age, I can only assume how inferior the picture and sound quality must of been, at least when compared to what you got at a regular movie theatre. The small speaker that attached to one of the side windows, must of sounded horrible.

The auto industry must surely have embraced this car-centric entertainment venue wholeheartedly.

I shot the old Buick above on Main Street in Santa Monica about six months ago. More images from L.A. can be enjoyed here.