Fine Art Tuesday

Those of us of a certain age usually have fond memories of drive in movies. I remember the playground in front of the screen, where you could play with the other kids who were equally bored with the movie their parents made them come to. And the magic of the concession stand. And the even better magic of the projection room, when the projectionist saw me peeking in the door and invited in for the grand tour.

The first movie I can remember was Big Jake, a John Wayne movie. I think it was also the first of his movies I ever paid attention to. A big Hollywood name and a big movie to match.

Despite the many blockbuster movies that were shown in drive ins in the 50s-70s, there is a special genre, known as the “B movie”, that was invented for drive ins. The B movie is a movie that had a low budget, low production values (usually) and, we can say, appealed to low-brow tastes. Movies like Porky’s and The Kentucky Fried Movie (Samuel L. Bronkowitz presents “Catholic High School Girls in Trouble”-I’ve got a stupid grin on my face just thinking about that one) spring immediately to mind. Yep, right up my alley.

Of course, not all of them were made to appeal to junior high school tastes like mine. At least, I think there were some that weren’t intended to appeal to junior high school tastes. Can’t recall one of the top of my head, but there had to have been some. Maybe a few. One?

Drive ins showed this sort of movie for a very simple economic reason-the big blockbusters were expensive to rent. Given most drive ins were priced by the car-load, it made sense to show movies that would attract a crowd, so the concession stand could do its best possible business. Plus, if you were a certain age and had a girlfriend, or maybe just the right date, who cared what the movie was? You were just interested in a bit of privacy, and it was considered bad form to gawk at the goings on in the neighboring cars.

It kind of takes the concept of “performance art” in a different direction, don’t you think?

Despite it being early February, warm weather-drive in weather-is right around the corner. Find yourself a local or not-so-local drive in and relive your childhood.

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