The Drive-In Theatre: An American Classic, INTERMISSION
By Bob Pakes
Even though the first Drive-In’s had seen the light of day over 20 years earlier (and in fact some still exist today, while new ones are being built), in the percepetion of many a 50’s fan the Drive-In is as much part of the rock ‘n’ roll era as are Elvis Presley and James Dean.
In this topic we will present a pictorial history of the Drive-In Theatre and let the photographs do (most of) the talking.
The owner’s slogan was:
‘The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy your children are!’.
The information sheet below shows exactly how this “newly perfected system” worked.
To the right: In 1934 the Pico in L.A. was California’s first drive-in (and the 4th in the USA).
To the far-right: An interesting Pico-program from 1935 advertising the new “Sound Sensation” that brought sound to your car “in all its naturalness directly thru your radiator”.
Till this point the image and the sound (coming from one big speaker on a tower) were often out of sync.
A closer look at this new sound sensation, shown here at the Pacific Drive in L.A., in 1938, which had speakers attached to a rail in front of your car.
This was a huge step forward from the original system, but still far from perfect, and it would take another 3 years before RCA Victor would introduce the first in-car speaker.
“Any type of dress is correct at the Drive-In Theatre, and you can smoke, converse, and relax within your own car without the least disturbance to your neighbours in the audience”.
Stay tuned for PART 2, in which we take a look at the 1940’s, before we dive into the glorious 50’s.
Before we continue our history of the drive-in phenomenon, here’s a little something about an interesting Elvis Presley/RCA Victor/Natale Wood-connection: