Friday, November 6, 2009

The Drive-In is Dead.....or is it? - Part 2

Drive-ins had already been around 15 years by the time the San Pedro Drive-in opened.

The First

The first drive-in opened on June 6, 1933 in Camden, New Jersey. Admission was $0.25 per person or $1.00 for a full car load! Three main speakers were mounted next to the screen that provided sound. The sound quality was not good for cars in the rear of the theater or for the surrounding neighbors.

California Drive-Ins

California's first drive-in movie theatre opened in June of 1938 (there were less than 15 "auto theaters" in all of America at that point). Within just ten years, another 43 drive-ins had opened up and California was on its way to becoming one of the top drive-in states.

Between 1948 - 1958, the number of drive-ins in the state of California more than quadrupled and, while the number of operating drive-ins in most states had peaked in the late 1950's, the number of drive-ins in the state of California kept climbing through the 60's, with more than 220 in operation by end of the decade.

Since that time, the number of drive-ins operating within the state has declined by 90%. Still, California is one of the Top 5 Drive-in states and more than 20 remain open.

The Largest

The largest drive-in theater in patron capacity was the All-Weather Drive-In of Copiague, New York. All-Weather had parking space for 2,500 cars, an indoor 1,200 seat viewing area, kid's playground, a full service restaurant and a shuttle train that took customers from their cars and around the 28-acre theater lot.

The Smallest

The two smallest drive-ins were the Harmony Drive-In of Harmony Pennsylvania and the Highway Drive-In of Bamberg, South Carolina. Both drive-ins could hold no more than 50 cars.

The Strangest

An interesting innovation was the combination drive-in and fly-in theater. On June 3, 1948, Edward Brown, Junior opened the first theater for cars and small planes. Ed Brown's Drive-In and Fly-In of Asbury Park, New Jersey had the capacity for 500 cars and 25 airplanes. An airfield was placed next to the drive-in and planes would taxi to the last row of the theater. When the movies were over, Brown provided a tow for the planes to be brought back to the airfield.

The drive-in theater movie experience cannot be beat.

Now What?

Hey, this is the digital age. So many things that have faded over time reemerge disguised as a "new idea" and marketed to those who never experienced the "old idea" that is being revived by this "new idea".

Introducing the Open-Air Cinema! Old idea in new packaging! The only thing missing is all of the other people you can meet. Of course, nowadays, in this "chicken little" era, a lot of us are afraid of "the other people". Somehow, watching a large TV in my backyard doesn't do it for me. It lacks the "unique experience" you have at the drive-in. For those of you who have never experienced the Drive-in atmosphere, it's quite a unique experience that has all but disappeared.

Where Are the Drive-Ins?

Seek and you shall find.......!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Drive-In is Dead.....or is it? - Part 1

When I was a kid, I remember my dad taking us the San Pedro Drive-In. This was usually on a Friday evening after he got off work at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach. My mom never went with us because she also worked at Douglas but on the swing shift.
The routine was to get in the car, and go to Brown's Liquor on the NW corner of 1st and Gaffey (Currently "Hello" Liquor). There my dad would buy a 6 pack of Lucky Lager for himself and Barnum and Baily Animal Crackers for all of us.
If it was a good movie, there was a line at the pay booth. If not, we would get in quickly. They always showed two movies with one or two cartoons between them. After the first movie, all of the perimeter lights would come on (like a night game at Daniel's Field) for the intermission. Most of the time we would go to the grass area at the foot of the screen and play on the swings. Sometimes we would go to the snack bar but that didn't happen very often because, after all, we had Animal Crackers and after having paid 10 cents for each box, we were expected to eat them. Other times, we would stay in the car and watch the "battle of the spotlights" on the screen. We knew that the intermission was almost over because the lights would dim. Hopefully, you remembered where your car was. After the intermission came the cartoons which was followed by the second movie. It was usually not as good as the first so it was common to see a good number of cars putting away their speakers and leaving.
When all the movies had played and it was time to leave, we would wake my dad, he would put the speaker back on the post, most of the time, and we would head home. As we traveled south on Gaffey and crossed Channel, my dad would hand the empty six pack to my older brother, Pete, who was riding shotgun. It was his job to dispose of it. Pete would roll down the window and as we made the turn from Gaffey St. onto Summerland Ave., Pete would fling the 6 pack out of the window into the empty lot on the corner (There were no littering laws at the time). After every throw, we would analyze the quality of his throw and compare it to previous throws (distance, height, spin and how many bottles left the container before hitting the ground). There are apartments located there now and I happen to know that under those apartments are a whole bunch of empty Lucky Lager bottles courtesy of my dad.
The San Pedro Drive-In opened on June 6th, 1949 so in was not at all "old" when my dad would take us in 1953 and on. It had enough spaces for 831 vehicles. That's alot when you condider that if each vehicle had 4 people, and at intermission all of them go to the snack bar, you would find 3,324 people inside getting snacks. Even if only 10% go to the snack bar at the same time, we're talking about 332 people which is still alot.

As the photo shows, it had a distinctive painting on the back side of the screen and the name was illuminated by neon lights. It dipicts a hacienda "Don" or caballero on horseback waving to approaching ships which is representative of San Pedro's history as Rancho San Pedro.

It was located at the SE corner of North Gaffey Street and Westmont Drive and the map below shows what it looks like today.

The map below shows what it looked like in 1953 when I was 5 years old. I added the text onto the map for general info:

View of screen and snack bar.

I ride my bike past this area about 4 times per week and can't help but reminese about old days gone by. I don't know exactly when the Drive-In was demolished but it, along with that Friday Night Community environment, is long gone. Nothing will ever replace the Drive -In.......or maybe there is something. After all, all new ideas are variations and extensions of some pretty good old ideas.

My goodness, how things have changed!! 01

Parents replaced by 'Play Rangers'

The Mayor of Watford (Great Britan), Dorothy Thornhill, and her Council have just banned parents from watching their own children at two council play areas in the town.
She explains the decision to replace moms and dads with council-trained 'Play Rangers' with the following platitudinous excuse to her local paper:
“Sadly, in today's climate, you can’t have adults walking around unchecked in a children’s playground.”
Nor, apparently, common sense in public office...
Last word to Mr Porter:
...parents' rights are being trampled on by this new atmosphere of fear and suspicion, brought about by the Independent Safeguarding Authority, a government that increasingly thinks it knows better than parents and local authorities that are keen to use any new power offered to them, however mad or tyrannical its application...
I myself can't imagine that anyone would stand for this. Granted, some parents (mom or dad) may be of the type that are not to be trusted but banning all parents from watching or playing with their kids is unacceptable to me. Rather than focus in on those who need a watchful eye, everyone not only gets "punished" but more importantly, get treated as though they are dangerous to their own kids. I suppose that this is a good example of the government assuming parental responsibilities. The idea of this really pisses me off.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The War on Fathers - Whistle Blower Magazine

The evidence of this almost unthinkable scenario is everywhere:

SCHOOL: In public school classrooms across America, in every category and every demographic group, boys are falling behind. Girls excel and move on to college, where three out of five students are female, while young boys – who don't naturally thrive when forced to sit still at a desk for six hours a day – are diagnosed by the millions with new diseases that didn't exist a generation ago. To make their behavior more acceptable, they are compelled to take hazardous psycho-stimulant drugs like Ritalin.

Boys are more than 50 percent more likely to repeat elementary school grades than girls, a third more likely to drop out of high school and twice as likely to have a "learning disability." And the suicide rate among teen boys is far higher than that of girls.

"What we have done," explains Thomas Mortenson, senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, "is we have a K-12 school system that seems to work relatively well for girls and does not work for a very large share of boys."

HOME: It's well known that roughly half of America's marriages end in divorce, but not nearly as well known that two out of three of those divorces are initiated by the wives. Moreover, America's family court system is scandalously biased in favor of the mother in child custody disputes. Fathers get custody of children in uncontested cases only 10 percent of the time and 15 percent of the time in contested cases. Meanwhile, mothers get sole custody 66 percent of the time in uncontested cases and 75 percent of the time in contested cases.

"Where you have minor children, there's really no such thing as no-fault divorce for fathers," says Detroit attorney Philip Holman, vice president of the National Congress for Fathers and Children. "On the practical level, fathers realize that divorce means they lose their kids."
Unfortunately, this loss by children of their fathers' influence is directly responsible – far more than any other cause – for the modern national scourges of gang life, crime and much more.

CULTURE: Fifty years ago, "Father Knows Best" was a hit TV show, in which insurance agent Jim Anderson (actor Robert Young) would come home from work each evening, trade his sport jacket for a nice, comfortable sweater, and then deal with the everyday growing-up problems of his family. He could always be counted on to resolve that week's crisis with a combination of kindness, fatherly strength and common sense.

Today, television virtually always portrays husbands as bumbling losers or contemptible, self-absorbed egomaniacs. Whether in dramas, comedies or commercials, the patriarchy is dead, at least on TV where men are fools – unless of course they're gay. On "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," the "fab five" are supremely knowledgeable on all things hip, their life's highest purpose being to help those less fortunate than themselves – that is, straight men – to become cool.
As this issue of Whistleblower shows, experts like Ph.D. scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, author of "The War Against Boys," agree: "It's a bad time to be a boy in America." Sommers provides example after example of what can only be called an all-out anti-male campaign:

"The carnage committed by two boys in Littleton, Colorado," declares the Congressional Quarterly Researcher, "has forced the nation to reexamine the nature of boyhood in America." William Pollack, director of the Center for Men at McLean Hospital and author of the best-selling "Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood," tells audiences around the country, "The boys in Littleton are the tip of the iceberg. And the iceberg is all boys."

In fact, Sommers reveals, it has become fashionable in elitist circles to conspire to change boys' very identity:

There are now conferences, workshops, and institutes dedicated to transforming boys. Carol Gilligan, professor of gender studies at Harvard Graduate School of Education, writes of the problem of "boys' masculinity … in a patriarchal social order." Barney Brawer, director of the Boys' Project at Tufts University, told Education Week: "We've deconstructed the old version of manhood, but we've not [yet] constructed a new version." In the spring of 2000, the Boys' Project at Tufts offered five workshops on "reinventing Boyhood." The planners promised emotionally exciting sessions: "We'll laugh and cry, argue and agree, reclaim and sustain the best parts of the culture of boys and men, while figuring out how to change the terrible parts."

"Terrible"? As this edition of Whistleblower shows, there is nothing wrong – and a very great deal right ? with boys and masculinity. As maverick feminist Camille Paglia courageously reminds her men-hating colleagues, masculinity is "the most creative cultural force in history."
"The problem," said David Kupelian, managing editor of WND and Whistleblower, "is that misguided feminists, intent on advancing a radically different worldview than the one on which this nation was founded, have succeeded in fomenting a revolution. And that revolution amounts to a powerful and pervasive campaign against masculinity, maleness, boys, men and patriarchy."
Issue highlights include:

"Banning 'Mom' and 'Dad,'" by Joseph Farah, who exposes the latest in bizarre and dangerous legislation by the California legislature.

"The fathers' war" by Stephen Baskerville, a troubling look at how increasing numbers of America's military men risk all to serve their nation in wartime, only to be divorced by their wives and lose their children.

"The war on fathers," by David Kupelian, an in-depth look at what's really behind the feminization of America.

"Why men are being attacked," by Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who says: "It isn't all about hating men – it's largely about disdaining and dismissing them."

"Has the bias pendulum swung against men?" Fewer college-bound, higher suicide rates, shorter life spans suggest males are getting the shaft.

"Paternity fraud rampant in U.S.", showing how 30 percent of men assessed for court-ordered child support are not actually the fathers of the children receiving the support.

"'Shared parenting' seen as custody solution," a look at bills in New York that would require courts to treat mom and dad equally.

"Resolving the boy crisis in schools" by Jeffery M. Leving and Glenn Sacks, showing how today's public schools are profoundly unsuited for the genuine needs of boys.

"Child support gold-diggers" by Carey Roberts, who shows how frequent fraud results in fathers being victimized by the justice system.

"Hating our fathers, hating ourselves" by Bob Just, a penetrating look at the high cost of resenting the fathers and husbands in our lives.
And much more.

"This is one of the most soulful, important and insightful issues of Whistleblower we've produced in a long time," said Kupelian. "I urge people to read it – it's much more than eye-opening. It could be life-changing. Really."