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For Ozoners Only -- On this day, in 1933, the first drive-in theater opened

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 6, 2012 11:22am | Post a Comment
THE FIRST DRIVE-IN


An advertisement for the first Drive-In 

The first drive-in theater opened on 6 June, 1933 at 2901 Admiral Wilson Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey. It was the invention of Richard M. Hollingshead Jr, who'd began screening films outdoors at his home with a 1928 Kodak projector sat on the roof of his car. He applied for a patent for his "invention" on 16 May, 1933. The feature film shown at his theater was the British comedy, Wives Beware.


The world's first Drive-In Theater

Before long, drive-ins, or automobile movie theaters, were opening in other states. California's first drive-in was the Pico Drive-In at 10850 W. Pico Boulevard, which opened  West Los Angeles in September, 1934. It was demolished in 1947 and was replaced by the Picwood Theatre in 1948. The Picwood closed in 1985, was demolished and replaced with the Westside Pavilion -- which includes the Landmark Theatre.


The Pico Drive-In

DRIVE-INS' PEAK


Although Hollingshead's pioneering theater closed in 1936 after only three years of operation -- a victim of a battle with Paramount Pictures -- the idea was popular although blasting sound outdoors necessitated the theaters being placed in less-developed areas.A major drive-in innovation occurred in 1941, when RCA introduced in-car speakers. Popularity exploded and by 1948 there were nearly 1,000 drive-ins. By the end of the 1950s, drive-ins accounted for 40% of theater grosses. In California, the number of drive-ins peaked in the 1960s, reaching 220.

THE RISE OF HOME VIDEO AND DRIVE-INS' DECLINE




Drive-ins popularity plummeted in the 1970s with the rise of home video's popularity. Family nights out could now be family nights in for the low price of a rental and some microwave popcorn. Betamax was released in 1975. VHS was introduced in Japan in 1976 and the US in 1977. DiscoVision, a precursor to LaserDisc, was introduced in 1978. Our family got our first VCR in 1978, coincidentally the last year the family went to the drive-in that I remember (Rocky at the Circle 25 Drive-In in Lexington, Kentucky -- demolished in 1982).

DRIVE-INS TODAY - CALIFORNIA LOVE


Thou shalt support drive-in theaters!

Nowadays there are about 500 drive-ins operating in the US and California – where cars double as family rooms -- is home to more than any other state. In the Southern California, drive-in lovers have some options.










SOCAL'S DRIVE-INS


The HiWay, SoCal's oldest functioning drive-in

Devil's Night Drive-In
is sort of an improvised drive-in/outdoor screening that takes place in a downtown parking garage at 240 W 4th St and screens mostly '80s movies to car-goers, bike-goers and people seated on a patch of astroturf. On 28 October, 2012 it is scheduled to relaunch as Electric Dusk Drive-In.

The HiWay Drive-In opened in Santa Maria in 1959. Today it’s the only remaining drive-in in Santa Barbara County.

The Mission Drive-In opened in Montclair in 1956 as a single screen. The original screen was demolished and replaced by four smaller screens in 1975. It was later re-named The Mission Tiki Drive-In.

The Paramount Drive-In opened as The Roadium Drive-In in Paramount in 1947. The screen went dark in 1991 and it re-opened in 2014 as The Paramount Drive-In.

The Rubidoux Drive-In opened in Riverside in 1948, with a single screen and amusement park rides thrown in. In 1983, two more screens were added.

The Santa Fe Springs Drive-In opened in 1950 in Santa Fe Springs as the La Mirada Drive-In. In 1965, they added a permanent swap meet – now a common feature at drive-ins. In 1990, in fact, the screen went dark except for rare, special occasions but the swap meet continues.

The Santee Drive-In Theatre opened in Santee in 1958 as a single screen drive-in. Around 1964, a second screen was added.

The Skyline Drive-In opened in 1966 in Barstow and went dark in 1987. In 1996, it re-opened as a single screen and has since added a second.

Smith’s Ranch Drive-In opened in 29 Palms in 1954 and has a pretty small (330 car) capacity.

The South Bay Drive-In opened in 1958 and is San Diego’s last operating drive-in.

The Sunset Drive-In opened in San Luis Obispo in 1950 as a single-screen theater and remains largely unchanged today.

The Van Buren Drive-In Theatre opened in 1964 in the historic Arlington neighborhood in Riverside.

The Vineland Drive-In opened in City of Industry in 1955 and has four screens.

*****

If you've never been to a drive-in show, you really need to do yourself a favor by visiting one in the near future. Especially in SoCal, where you've got great weather, serious car love and a fair number of these treasures still operate.
*****

Follow Eric Brightwell

San Francisco's "Russian Embassy" is a House of Legends

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 30, 2012 02:45pm | Post a Comment
house of legends russian embassy fulton street alamo square Some know San Francisco’s Westerfeld Mansion as the “Russian Embassy,” the site of an infamous brothel run by Czarist Russians in the 1920s. Some know it as a ramshackle boarding house for Fillmore district jazz performers of the 1950s. Most remember it as the magical crash pad of 1960’s counterculture luminaries that inspired Tom Wolfe, Janis Joplin, Ken Kesey, Anton LaVey, Bobby Beausoleil, and Kenneth Anger alike to fly their freak flag from the turrets of this Victorian palace.

For all of us who have wanted to know what mysteries Invocation of my demon brother kenneth anger house of legendsare contained within the walls of this Alamo Square manion, F for Fake Pictures brings you House of Legends, a feature-length documentary that explores the making of a legend by investigating the history and the myths behind San Francisco's Historical Landmark #135. 123 years in the making, the Westerfeld Mansion has a brilliant story to tell through many of its famous, infamous, and colorful inhabitants and visitors over the past 12 generations.

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Children of Paradise: Life with The Cockettes, Photographs by Fayette Hauser

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 23, 2012 06:30pm | Post a Comment

Cockettes Fayette Hauser San Francisco Canessa Gallery

"It was complete sexual anarchy. You couldn't tell the men from the women. It was really new at the time, and it still would be new."
-- John Waters, San Francisco Chronicle, 2002


It can be said that we San Franciscans inherited our gender-bending theatricality from The Cockettes,Cockettes San Francisco Fayette Hauser the flamboyant ensemble of late-'60's SF hippies -- gay, straight, and undecided -- who performed in glittery drag of all sorts in a series of legendary, over-the-top midnight musicals at the Cockettes San Francisco Fayette HauserPalace Theater in North Beach. Founded by Hibiscus (real name, George Harris, Jr.) in 1969, the troupe enacted their own outrageous counter-culture parodies of show tunes (and some originals) and gained an underground cult following that eventually led to mainstream exposure. With titles like Gone With the Showboat to Oklahoma, Hell's Harlots, and Pearls over Shanghai, these extravaganzas featured elaborate costumes, rebellious sexuality, and exuberant chaos. They were soon pinned as the cutting edge of Freak Theatre and appeared in Rolling Stone, Paris Match, and Playboy. The group disbanded in 1972, after attempting a tour to New York.cockettes san francisco fayette hauser

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(In which we return from where our roots are rooted.)

Posted by Job O Brother, January 3, 2012 11:59am | Post a Comment


Home is where the hearth is. Downtown Nevada City, California.


The boyfriend and I have recently returned from frolicsome fun in my hometown of Nevada City, California. This year my most shiny of celebrations was neither Christmas nor New Years, but my sister Jacquie’s 50th birthday (for which I provided the cake, subsequently learning that Christmas day is a lousy time to buy baked goods).

Some highlights of the trip were…

Teaching my mother how to prepare absinthe. Who doesn’t love this quintessential Christmas pastime*? Equipped with a curvaceous reservoir glass and ornate, slotted spoon I enthusiastically gave a demonstration on how to prepare absinthe in both the traditional French method and the more dramatic (and efficient) Bohemian method. Both methods were merely informative, not practical, as my Mammy and me prefer our green fairy sans sucre.


My Mom, enjoying her beverage
(artist's depiction)

Armed with our booze and one clove cigarette each, we sat in her English garden and contentedly sinned with some of Satan’s most pleasingly perfumed indulgences. Once we felt sweetly weak-in-the-knees it was time to make some pie. (Drinking and driving is a bad idea, but drinking and pie making is a sign of advanced evolution in a species. Word.)

Mom has a recipe for Oregon Chess Pie – an heirloom handed down for generations which I’d never had the pleasure to consume. With the help of one of my best friends, Carrie, and her toddler daughter, Major, we set about to baking six slices of history. Here’s the recipe:

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Rare Summer of Love-Era Documentary on the Haight-Ashbury Viewable Online

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 18, 2011 04:13pm | Post a Comment
"Bizarre world of drugs, sex, and sloth" or "a beautiful neighborhood"?Michael McClure Richard Brautigan 1966 1967 Summer of Love San Francisco

This Haight-Ashbury documentary filmed during the Summer of Haight Street Hippies 1960 60s Straight Theater Summer of LoveLove is truly outta sight! Besides priceless images of Haight Street, local businesses, and the general artsy milieu, this short film features poet (and then Haight-Ashbury resident) Michael McClure serving as a visionary guide through the incense-filled scene. You'll also see The Grateful Dead and legendarily weird writer Richard Brautigan. Watch for The Psychedelic Bookshop, The Straight Theater, and Hare Krishnas in a shop front near Kezar Stadium! 

View this video HERE at the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive!

-- Audra

Staight Theater summer of love haight street haight-ashbury Michael LcClure William Tara antonin artaud 1960 60s
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