Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Night At the Drive In

Not the Knox Auto Theater of my youth in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
This one's in Radcliff, Kentucky.

Night At the Drive In

You younguns' may not think so today, but going to the movies was a big deal back in the day. Cable wasn't as widespread, no internet &, aside from 8 & 16 mm films in cans or reel to reel video tape, home video didn't exist.

It's not like today, where every other home seems to have the equivalent of a movie studio /theater in the living room. When a flick was released, it hit the theaters, then you'd wait at LEAST a year before it got on television. If you wanted to see it then, then you had to see it THEN. Otherwise it was a nine month wait til the next time. Now it's weeks between theater & disc.

If a studio felt they could get an extra nickel off a flick they'd put it in a second run. The drive-in theater came in pretty handy for that. The pre-released flick would be the second (or later) feature on a double bill. That's where this story comes in.

I really DID want to see Planet of the Apes (The ORIGINAL '68 version, not that abortion of recent years.). I Remember as a kid reading installments of it in Argosy magazine a few years before (I must have been eight or nine then.) It was THE movie of the year for some. I was quite happy when informed by the parents we were going to see it that week in that summer of long ago.

It was, howsomever, the second feature I was a trite more anxious to see. The thick icing on the cake so to speak: One Million Years BC. I had actually seen the original '40 flick while trapped in military school a year before & wanted to catch this.

The Ray Harryhausen dino effects was what got my attention, not Raquel Welch who, I suspected at the time, was one of Mr. Harryhausens' more fabulous creations (No one looking that good could be real!). Puberty finally hit me a few months later then it was ... OH! Maybe she was real.

So flashback to the Knox Auto Theater in that summer of '68. Planet is over & we're loaded up on popcorn & sugar from intermission. My brother & I seated on the closed/window down tailgate of Dads' Plymouth Fury lll looking out over the roof, little sister in between.

We're part way into the film when the first real special effects sequence lumbers onto the screen. It's not one of Harryhausens' stop motion dinos however. Something more out of the Bert I. Gordon school of fun cheesiness. A GIANT ... IGUANA!


Little sister ducks into the car. She wasn't gonna let that lizoid get her!

"What happened back there!" Mom

"Oh ... Sheila saw the monster." Dad

After a while, she figured the critters weren't coming after her & alternately sat with Mom or between brother & I. Good fun had by all.

One Million Years BC Wikipedia review here.

One Million BC Wikipedia review here.

Raquel Welch Wikipedia bio here.

Ray Harryhausen Wikipedia bio here.

Argosy magazine Wikipedia article here.

Go to Jays' Tee Vee blog main page here.


  1. My best drive in memories were seeing "Pinocchio" with Momma in Bennettsville, SC (I must have been 3 or 4), and when I was twelve, going with cousins to a TRIPLE feature! "Battle Beneath the Earth", "The Conqueror Worm", and a third that escapes me at the moment.

  2. AH!!! "THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS" was the top-billed flick that night.

    1. Are you sure it was Fearless? It might have been Zombie Rapture Bunnies From Mars 2.

      Howzabout MY Little Poney Friendship Is Murder?

      I do remember The Conquerer Worm at the drive in. It was the second bill to Frogs.

  3. "Zombie Rapture Bunnies From Mars 2"

    I would pay to see that. Sounds like a TROMA title!

    It was definitely "Fearless". I recall my fascination with Sharon Tate.

    1. Do you recall Chuckie Mansons' fascination with Sharon Tate?

      Now THERE is an arguement for capital punishment. How'd he get life anyway?

  4. Replies
    1. When God shook out the rest of the United States, California was where all the "funny" people landed.