As the Drive-In Summer campaign rolls along, I thought it would be appropriate to share some vintage newspaper advertisements for the drive-in theater. Enjoy the retro artwork and make sure to visit a local drive-in theater near you this weekend. And remember, folks, if you don’t have a theater nearby, grab a few retro B-movies, pop some popcorn, and make it a drive-in night right at home. Now, on with the show!
by Steve Habrat
One of the most memorable aspects of the drive-in movie theater is the intermission bumpers that played before or between double features of I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and The Blob. These whimsical little numbers would happily remind moviegoers about all of the delectable treats that waited for them behind the concession counter, and it gave warm warnings about how much time remained before the show got underway. The creative team behind all those dancing hot dogs, marching popcorn bags, and strutting popsicles was Filmack Studios—or Filmack Trailer Company, as it was known at the time—a family-owned that opened its doors in 1919 and remains in operation today. In the 1950s, Filmack sent out a catalogue to drive-in theater owners and operators, reassuring them that they were chock full of ideas that would keep cars parked under the stars, prevent moviegoers from driving off with speakers still attached to their car windows, and have the concession stand lines nice and long. In addition to providing the intermission entertainment, Filmack has also been responsible for giving many individuals their start in the entertainment business, including the king of animation, Walt Disney.
Today, many drive-ins will continue to show these charming little animations between mega-blockbusters like Transformers and The Avengers—offering small little slices of gentle nostalgia to the adults that can remember seeing them with their date back in the good ol’ days, while allowing a younger generation to catch a glimpse of a simpler time. If you’re local drive-in isn’t showing them, you can revisit them on YouTube, where large, fifteen-minute blocks play for your entertainment. If you’re a fan of classic exploitation, you can also find some of these bumpers nestled between trailers for such grindhouse classics as The Devil Within Her and Machine Gun McCain on the cult trailer series 42nd Street Forever. So, in honor of this Drive-in Summer, enjoy a few of these beloved animations. I bet you’ll start craving a hot dog, a soda, and even get the itch to head to the drive-in!
What were your favorite intermission cartoons? And remember, make sure to get out with the family and go to a drive-in theater near you. Make sure to share the experience on Instagram under the hashtag #driveinsummer!
And don’t forget to visit The Droid You’re Looking For for swell vintage drive-in photos!
Anti-Film School, The Droid You’re Looking For, Furious Cinema, and The Grindhouse Cinema Database Present…Drive-In Summer
Going to the movies should be an event. Whether you’re seeing a small independent feature or a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster, a trip to the movie theatre should be a larger-than-life adventure that transports you completely. Over the years, indoor chain movie theaters like Regal Cinemas and AMC have been the places to catch the latest Iron Man movie, but there is another spot that can be even more fun than elbowing your way through crowded rows of teenagers staring down at their iPhones. The drive-in movie theater is the ultimate cinematic adventure, and for years, it has been slipping from the American public’s memory. Audiences have seemed content to plunk down $13.00 a ticket for a 3D movie, and then forced to spend almost $40.oo more on throwaway concessions. Many family owned drive-ins offer more bang for your buck, provide a breezy family atmosphere, fill you with nostalgia, and practically scream summer right in your face.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been taking a social media graduate course through Kennesaw State University. The class required us to create and execute a social media campaign. I choose to encourage readers to get out and support a local drive-in this summer, before the cold weather forces us all back into the crowded multiplexes. Over the next week, I will be partnering with John LaRue of The Droid You’re Looking For, Furious Cinema, and The Grindhouse Cinema Database to spread awareness about drive-in movie theaters, educate readers about their rich history, and attempt bring enthusiasm about these wonderful establishments. Feel free to seek any of us out on Facebook and Twitter, share stories about the drive-ins, share information about local drive-ins near you showing retro double features or throwing a nifty summer shindig. Also, share photos of your drive-in trip on Instagram, and make sure to label everything you post to social media with the hashtag #driveinsummer. With only 370 drive-in theaters remaining throughout the United States, lets get out there and show our support by catching a flick under the stars.
The Droid You’re Looking For has kicked things off by posting a map that allows you to find a drive-in theater near you. Make sure to visit and check it out. If you wish to get involved and do posts of your own on your blog, feel free. The more participation there is, the more business and awareness we can drive to these theaters. There is more to come! Enjoy the show!
-Theater Management (Steve)