Skip to comments.Stars and Stripes Drive-In Owner Ready for Premiere Showing in Lubbock on Thursday
Posted on 08/17/2003 5:21:43 AM PDT by Theodore R.
Stars and Stripes Drive-In owner ready for premiere showing Thursday By JOHN DAVIS AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
He's keeping his fingers crossed and he's feeling opening night jitters, but local drive-in theater operator Ryan Smith said Thursday's the day his dream comes to life.
As workmen finished digging the fenceposts and awaited the arrival of cabinets on Friday, Smith said he's ready for Thursday night when the projectors start rolling at the Stars and Stripes Drive-In.
"I don't know if we're going to have a packed house," Smith said. "I want people to come early. I'll be ready to get people in here and get the first show going."
Smith said he's worked hard to give the diner a 1950s feel. It's adorned with chrome stools, stainless steel splash guards and a checkerboard floor.
He consulted his grandparents, who built and operated the Sky-Vue Drive-In in Lamesa, his parents and his sisters for advice while planning and building.
But, when he looks around, there's not just one thing he's proud of most.
"The whole thing," he said makes him most proud. "Just how nice it is. Just how all of our efforts have come together to make a first-class drive-in for Lubbock."
Many people have come down the driveway over the past few weeks to inquire about opening night, said Ryan's mother, Linda.
"One guy said 'I can't wait,"' Linda said while taking a break from cleaning countertops.
Her son dropped out of law school, but she said she's not concerned because he's doing something he loves.
"He's always been a people person, and he's always been an entrepreneur," she said. "I think it's really going to fit him well. I think he's learned a lot about starting a business, that's for sure."
Ryan said the cash-only box office opens at 7 p.m. and the show starts around 8:30 or 9 p.m. Entrees and snacks will be under $10. Tickets cost $5 per person.
The Stars and Stripes Drive-In, with room for 1,000 cars, is located at 5101 Clovis Highway, between Quaker Avenue and Frankford Avenue on the south side of the street.
The Hill Top lasted a little while longer by opening up on weekends as a flea market. Located next to I-80, the flea market was big for awhile but it couldn't keep the place afloat.
The land that the Hill Top was located on was eventually sold to developers for a shopping mall.
They have 4 screens each. 2 movies per screen. You tune your FM radio to a certain station and your sound is as good as the system you brought with you.
No poles to run into or driving up and down the hills to find a working speaker.
We order Pizza from a Poppa John's close to the theater and pick it up hot when we get there.
We buy soda or some snack from the snack bar just to make sure the owners make some money off the the snack bar.
The kids still love to run and play outside before the show starts.
Family's still back into the parking space and spread out the sleeping bags in the back of the trucks, Suv's, and vans. Put that lawn chair out there too.
Because of the Swap meets, during the day, there is a large white box painted on the ground for the swap meet vendors.
This gives you more space to spread out then the "old days" when you had to park car door - to car door between the speakers poles.
Some family's bring a small BBQ and fire it up for a real picnic experience.
The drive-in is a great family entertainment value.
You can smoke your brains and not bug anybody.
If by chance should have "a" holes or boorish people near you start the car and move. Or notify the manager who brings security to solve the problem.
The names of the drive-ins are, The Mission, located in Rubidoux, Ca and the Van Buren located in Riverside Ca.
Come early get a good spot and don't forget the pop corn.
I first saw Bullit in Salinas, Calif.
Lot of memories and nostalgia stirred up here.
Ahhhhh yes, stirrin' up memories of my high school days ... err uhhh ... nights.
Lubbock still had a number of drive-ins when I came here to attend Texas Tech in the mid-70s, but they were all closed by about 1980 iirc. Natives have a hard time understanding this impression, but Lubbock itself seemed as exotic to me as an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel and the drive-ins were part of this. I was a total stranger, a recent immigrant with a heavy North Country accent and no real knowledge of local customs other than what I had picked up in the Army. I must have seemed as strange as a Martian to my fellow students, yet they took me in without batting an eyelash.
Several drive-ins featured dollar-a-carload nights. One time, nine of my friends and I piled into a decrepit International Travelall and paid a dime each to get in. The dollar-a-carload movies were often sixth-run Italian gladiator features or Japanese sci-fi with ludicrously bad dubbing. It was a lot of laughs. There was also a drive-in (on west 19th) that ran the soft-core porn of the time. I hear that this was even funnier; yeah, that's it, all second-hand, you understand.
I will definitely be at the Stars and Stripes on opening night.
It's said his motive was to sell more auto products. After all, that's what Richard Hollingshead did for a living back in the 1930's. And, he theorized, the best way to do this was to establish a place where people could park their cars, enjoy a meal, and watch a movie outdoors.
He experimented by nailing a bed sheet between some trees, put a 1928 movie projector on the hood of his car, and placed a radio behind the "screen" for sound. He even positioned a number of automobiles with blocks under their front wheels to improve viewing.
There would be other experiments along the way, including the use of lawn sprinklers to simulate the effects of rain while watching a movie outdoors. Eventually, Hollingshead had the makings of his drive-in. In August of 1932 he applied for a patent.
Richard Hollingshead opened the world's first Drive-in Theatre in Camden, New Jersey on June 6, 1933. Its successful debut prompted others to follow. The second drive-in appeared less than one year later in Orefield, Pennsylvania. Shankweiler's Auto Park opened on April 15, 1934 and is the oldest continuously operated drive-in theatre in America. By 1942, there were almost one hundred drive-ins scattered across 27 states. The Boom Years It wasn't until after the Second World War, however, when drive-ins really spread across the country. Part of the reason was improved technology. RCA introduced in-car speakers, which replaced the old and inefficient bullhorns mounted on the drive-in screen. By 1948, there were an estimated 820 drive-ins.
With the baby boom of the late 1940's and early 1950's, young families began discovering the drive-ins. Many drive-ins added playgrounds and train rides to encourage family attendance. Just like the generation itself, drive-ins were also "booming". Concession stands were a large part of the draw and success enjoyed by drive-in owners. Utilizing a cafeteria-style operation they could feed hundreds of kids and adults during the 10 minutes of intermission, which sometimes featured cartoons and a clock counting down the time to the beginning of the second feature.
The 1950's brought other innovations to drive-ins, like in-car heaters and mobile concession carts. However, their appeal was still driven by the casual and convenient alternative they offered to traditional indoor movie houses. You could put the kids in their pajamas and spend a cool summer evening at the drive-in, rather than heading for the city and a "stuffy" indoor theatre.
By 1958, there were approximately 4063 drive-in theatres in the United States and Canada. But their impressive growth and success was about to change direction, and the decline would last for three decades. Dark Skies for Drive-ins Some industry leaders will tell you the biggest reason for this decline was the introduction of daylight savings time. Many parents were reluctant to take their families to the drive-in for showings starting as late as ten o'clock at night. And, with the "baby boom era" coming to an end, there were simply fewer families with children to bring. Many drive-in operators switched to more "adult" or "occult" films. Some also tried to improve their bottom line with flea markets or church services during the daytime on the weekends.
The 1970's and 1980's brought fierce competition with the infiltration of cable TV and VCRs into many homes. To make matters worse, many new indoor movie theatres were being built in the suburbs, with multiplexes offering more screens and more movies. Now, people could watch a film in air-conditioned theatres and "grab a bite to eat" at the mall instead of the drive-in snackbar.
In the face of it all, many drive-ins decided they were better off selling their land to commercial developers, who built an endless number of bland shopping centers over the grass lots of former drive-ins. Land that wasn't sold frequently stood idle, overgrown with weeds or even trees, the once mighty screen tower now a lonely monument to the glory days when drive-ins were king. In 1990, only about 910 drive-ins remained open. Drive-ins make a comeback Fortunately, the story doesn't end there. In more recent years, a number of once-closed drive-ins have re-opened and several new ones have been built from the ground up. Operators who survived the difficult years are re-investing in multiple screens and modern FM radio sound. Playgrounds, miniature golf, and other forms of family entertainment have reappeared in many.
It seems a whole new generation has discovered drive-in movie theatres. Richard Hollingshead, the man who started it all, would be proud that his invention has withstood the challenges of time and cultural change, and is still around today providing affordable family entertainment for communities across America to enjoy.
Hollingshead's Story was written by Rick Cohen
I could see drive in movies making a come back in Texas where the weather isn't severe. Easy to take the kids and relax and eat a burger.
I always loved the drive-in theaters, and the old walk-in movie theaters that were so grand.
I don’t know how safe it would be to go to a drive-in these days, but I guess there could be security measures to somewhat handle the problems.
I recranked another dead thread!
[I recranked another dead thread!]
You sure did, and I see you thoroughly read my post too...
What do you do, search by keyword?
The car hop already fell over!