the Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion

Monday, August 01, 2005

Red screen, blue screen

Most young'uns today don't understand the quintessentially American experience that is the drive-in movie theatre. But how many of you my age and older have fond memories of coppin' your first feel in the back seat at the drive-in? And sometimes, there might've even been somebody in the back seat with you!

My first drive-in experience, by the way, involved no feel coppin'. It was at the much-missed M-104 drive-in with Squirl, and we saw Alien. Yeah, it was a few years ago.

I was talkin' to Jess the other night, and when I mentioned that Jim and I were goin' to the drive-in, she seemed genuinely surprised that we had not one, but two drive-ins within easy driving distance. Truth is, we're the exception to the rule around here: we've got one drive-in that's less than a mile from our place, and another that can't even be ten miles out. As the other drive-ins in the country disappear one by one, I cross my fingers that at least one of mine will survive, for just another year.

We understand what a rare commodity this is, and we try to go at least once a summer. Hey, that's pretty good for two people who rarely see a movie before it comes to cable.

One of my most treasured memories is from a balmy summer evening we spent at the US-23 Drive-In, it had to be over ten years ago, maybe more like 15 years ago. I don't remember what the double feature was, but I do remember vividly that we had Little Caesar's pizza and a cooler full of ice and Classic Coke. Hell, no, I don't drink beer at the drive-in. Not because it's against the rules, since I laugh in the face of silly silly rules - rules are for mere mortals - but because I don't wanna have to make sixteen trips to the questionably cleaned restrooms in the dark and in the middle of a movie to which I may or may not be payin' attention.

It was such a beautiful evening, and the mosquitos were even polite and non-swarmy enough that we could sit with all the windows open, relax, and enjoy our night. I had just started on a fresh slice of pizza when Jim asked if I would get him a Coke. So, I gripped the pizza in my teeth, leaned over the seat, and commenced to fishin' around in the cooler for a Coke.

Something about my posture inspired my body to release the hounds, so to speak, and the loudest, longest, rudest, most impressive belch suddenly issued forth from my dainty mouth, right around the slice of pizza, and was so mighty and booming that it reverbrated all 'round the parking lot with an authority I scarcely knew I possessed. Jim and I froze in stunned silence for a moment, then I turned to him, Coke in hand and pizza slice still lodged firmly betwixt my teeth, and said, somewhat muffled but in my own defense: "Pizza pizza!"

That's when he really knew what a dainty and charming little filly I am.

Just this last Saturday night, Jim and I took a trip out to the Miracle Twin drive-in to catch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As we waited in line for the box office to open, I was riveted by some smokin' hot rods that were in line for the Red Screen, and weren't mingling with us Blue Screen riff raff. Then Jim pointed out the truck immediately ahead of us in line, and I could just kick myself for not havin' the camera along, because under its trailer hitch, this truck had a nice, neat little nutsack hangin' down. I'm pretty sure it was made of nylon, and probably wasn't an actual severed nutsack, but it was still worth about five minutes of gigglin' in our car. Makes me wonder where I can get one o' those, or a female equivalent. Could I put rubber labia around the tailpipe of my Cruiser? I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Once we got over the nutsack hilarity, we got our tickets and found a spot where we could see the screen, but weren't surrounded by hordes of children. Hey, nothin' against kids, but if I wanted 'em swarmin' me at the movies, I'd've had my own beastly little offspring. As it was, Jim and I were set up in our own little kingdom out there, with our cooler full of ice and pop, and that bucket of greasy greasy KFC. What more couldja want on a perfect Saturday night?

We were there exceptionally early, so we had plenty of time to fart around before the movie started. For the first 45 minutes or so, we turned on the stereo in the car and stood outside, groovin' to a funk mix and tryin' not to drop the slippery chicken (now if that doesn't sound like a euphemism, I don't know what does..."We tried not to drop the slippery chicken, but the rabbit done died..."). Then the theatre started to broadcast music through the sea of obsolete but still functional speakers. Yes, kids, once upon a time, we had to hang speakers from our car windows to hear the audio from the movie; you little fucks have it so easy, just tunin' your radio to the theatre frequency. Hmmmph! In my day, we hung speakers on our doors, forgot they were there, and drove off with 'em. And we liked it.

I should mention that the station that was being played was Cars 108, which for me is pure mellow torture most of the time. How can you expect me to listen to a radio station that advertises that there will be no embarassing lyrics to explain to your kids, and not have me bleed from the ears? Fortunately, the theatre tuned the schlockmeister bastards in during an oldies show, which was a little more lively than the normal dull fare. Jim and I were talkin' about the songs, and about Herman's Hermits and such, and how much pussy Peter Noone must've gotten back in the day, and then the familiar strains of an Al Green tune floated from the speakers.

Al Green, in case you didn't know, has magical mojo properties in his songs. Before I knew what was goin' on, Jim had grabbed me - I was so surprised I still had a Diet Rite can in my hand - and started slow dancin' with me in the drive-in gravel. It was unexpected but very sweet and welcome. Can now cross "Slow dance at drive-in" off my list of life goals. And, it should warm your heart to know, neither of us danced into the speaker stand or the car. No fresh bruises were acquired in the course of seeing this movie.

Now, the double feature for the night was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Bad News Bears. Silly me, I just figured the Billy Bob Thornton movie would be the second (more adult) feature; nothin' against the Bears, but I was fixin' to watch Charlie and then get the fuck outta there. Shit doesn't even start 'til after 9:30, and I'm a big fuckin' wuss about stayin' up late these days. So, imagine my fit of pique when they fired up the first movie and it was the goddamn Bad News Bears.

In its defense, Jim and I had a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments during the movie, and even one or two couldn't stop laughin', tears streamin' down the face incidents. And as a fan of the original Bears, I don't think this one stomped on its legacy at all - in fact, the kid they got to play Tanner looks just fucking like the kid that played Tanner in the original. Of course, Billy Bob Thornton will always be worth a watch. I'd recommend it as worth a DVD or cable watch, at least.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was just what I thought it would be - a totally trippy, psychedelic, surreal experience that leaves the urine surprisingly drug-free. And there was plenty of impromptu dancin' in this movie, too, that made me wonder if I was gettin' a contact buzz from the screen. Johnny Depp is in top form as the bizarre, somewhat awkward Willie Wonka. No offense to Gene Wilder and his version of events, but this movie was a lot more like I remember the book. I recommend a big-screen viewing of this flick, just for the visual wonders presented therein.

Sadly, it's Monday and I'm still a little out of it from my big, late night on Saturday. How the hell did I ever gig on Friday nights after I got up at 5:30 am? I am officially OLD.

But not too old to slow dance and/or make out at the drive-in.

28 of you felt the overwhelming need to say somethin':

Blogger said...

I have fond memories of the Drive in up in Tawas and a girl named Robin. When I was really young, about 1978 (I was in 8th grade)We tried to sneak my cousin in up their. He was going to jump the fence after dark. The caught him. Our life of crime was brought to an abrupt halt. We drove a Vega. That was the ultimate chick landing car.

12:08 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Mahala said...

The only times I went to the drive-in were with my mom, so there is a serious lack of fond groping memories. We saw Herbie the Love Bug and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea I think. Seems I went to see the animated Disney version of Robin Hood with my aunt and her two kidlets once too.

12:27 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger eclectic said...

I love that image of you and Jim dancin' at the drive-in. That's gonna stay with me all day, and make me smile.

12:34 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Jeff's place - you and I must be about the same age (you an '83 grad?). Sounds like you had more drive-in fun at that age than I ever did.

Romani heart - ha! I remember seein' Herbie the Love Bug when it was in the theatre. I have found that movies with dark scenes in them are not good drive-in picks. I remember tryin' to watch the X Files movie at the drive in, and about half the time sayin' "What the fuck is goin' on? I can't see a thing!"

Eclectic - now I've done gone and showed my soft underbelly. I have no idea if anybody else joined in the dance, or stared, as I tuck my head in and shut my eyes when I slow dance. Again, a miracle no one was hurt.

12:47 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Kassi Gilbert said...

my hubby and I passed that very same drive in 2 weeks ago...I exclaimed "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is playing..we should go!" and he said "Yeah...we should go!"...but we didn't, now I'm jealous.

1:04 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Ghost of Goldwater said...

I've been to a drive-in only once. It was during my first trip to the US, in 1997... somewhere in PA, not sure exactly where, some American friends took me there. In a huge, white '66 Cadillac no less, really going in style.

We saw Jurassic Park II and Dante's Peak. Silly movies, but I can still remember that wonderful feeling of participating in a genuine piece of americana. No drive-ins on this continent as far as I know, certainly not in Norway... *sigh* yeah, yeah... I'm a wannabe yank...

1:18 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Kassi - you should make him take you. It's soooo worth the trip, and it looks great on the drive-in screen, since it's so bright. It's on at least its second week there, so I don't know how long they'll hold it, but we shall see...

Ghost - ha! I saw Jurassic Park 2 at a drive-in as well! But not in a rockin' cool Caddy.
Is the drive-in theatre strictly an American thang? I knew it was a staple of Americana, but I wasn't sure if it had caught on anywhere else.
And, because you once brought "merkin" to the party, you are an unofficial yank. I would confer official yankdom on you, but my hubby would be a little upset if I married you so you could gain citizenship.

1:34 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

We're not far from a drive-in. Of course we're not far from cows and corn fields. I don't mind them, and I have good memories, but I prefer the theatre...or better couch.

1:39 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger SierraBella said...

At a drive-in theater, long ago, we were waiting for the intermission to end when a very tall (and dorky looking) guy in a bright white t-shirt passed by, obviously lost.
In big letters across him back, was apparently his name- BOB.
By his third pass-by, I couldn't help myself, and cracked open the window and yelled "Bob!"
He twisted around, with a hopeful look on his face, when I heard another voice calling "Bob" from several rows over.
Then it snowballed, and most everyone was yelling his name, and he was looking like a deer in the headlights.
Don't know if he ever found his ride that night.

1:45 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger said...

Bucky, I am an 82 grad. Yes the drive-in was a good ole time. We are about 15 to 20 minutes from the Miracle Twin too. My bro in law used to go there with his old pickup and put a couch in back facing the screen. Sounds like a good idea!

1:55 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger LadyBug said...

I was expecting a much different story, when you told us about your BELCH, and then told us you had time to "fart around" before the movie.

I, too, am loving the image of you and Jim slow-dancing...your head tucked under his chin, his hand on your assless-chapped behind...

What? I just ASSumed you'd wear the chaps to the drive-in...?

2:18 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Ghost of Goldwater said...

I've never HEARD of drive-ins outside the US (and maybe Canada?), and though I've been to 33 European countries (and counting), I've yet to see one there.

2:19 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Mr. B - for some movies, especially ones with darker scenes, I prefer the indoor theatre. But at least once a year, the drive-in for us is all about the total experience, and not as much focus on the movie.

Sierrabella - Maybe that's who they meant in the movie "What About Bob?" Poor Bob. Heh heh heh...

Jeff's place - that sounds like the most comfy way to watch a drive in. Beats the shit outta my lawn chairs!

LadyBug - well, I have to confess that he already had my chaps off by that time...
And Jim and I are about the same height, so I'd have to kneel to tuck my head under his chin and, well, you know where that leads...

Ghost - in-ta-resting. I will have to research that, 'cause now I'm really curious.
Oh, and merkin.
I just like to say it.

2:27 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Maven said...

My first drive-in experience, I had to have been under the age of 5, with my siblings 4, and 1.5 in the back of our station wagon. Dumbo was the flick. And right at the moment the building was on fire, I had to take a piss. WTF is up with families who take along a "potty?" I mean, what exactly are you supposed to do with it AFTER? It's not like it's self contained with a lid or anything... MISERABLE first drive-in experience:(

2:28 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Ghost of Goldwater said...

I've done a little research, and there ARE drive-ins outside the US & Canada - but not that many. Most seem to be in Australia, while most of the European ones are in Germany. Go to and search "international" to find them all.

I had forgotten that there was even one up in the northern parts of Norway - for snowmobiles. Yeah, it's a cold country.

2:51 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Kranki said...

Ah yes! The drive in. What a wonderful story. As a wee child I remember being tucked in the back of my parent's convertible, wearing PJs and in a sleeping bag, watching Jesus Christ Superstar with those hanging speakers. It is still one of my favourite movies.

3:17 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger LadyBug said...

P.S. A Gift for You.

3:57 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Susie said...

Well, I was all ready to share my drive-in stories when ladybug sent me off to the trucknuts. A moment please, to process this new info . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK, I'm good now. I love this post. I loved drive-ins, but they're all gone now, around here, as far as I know. My first experience, I was 12 or 13 and the family I babysat for took me as a special treat, with their 3-year-old, to see "The Owl and the Pussycat." They claimed they thought it was a cartoon. It was not. I still wonder if that dad knew what he was doing. The little kid went to sleep, and the mom kept yelling when it was time for me to cover my eyes.

In college, there was an X-rated drive-in that I went to with girlfriends, and we turned down the sound and did our own audio. There was pants-wetting. Um, I mean we laughed until we peed. This is, IMO, the only way to watch porn -- providing one's own "dialog."

Then there was the time Jif and I took his dad's big ol' Lincoln to the drive-in, and attached the speakers to the windows. When we were done, ahem, I mean when the movie was over, we did, in fact, drive off with the speakers scraping the windows and on down the side of that powder blue luxury car. I hid while Jif told his dad, who, thankfully, wasn't too too upset.

Al Green. Oh yea. And Smokey does it for me, too, every time.

4:51 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Nina said...

I just love this, slow dancin' at the drive-in! We still have a drive-in in town. The last time I went I had three little pj clad kids in the back. I have some fond memories of my youth at the drive-in, enough memories that my daughter wasn't allowed to go to the drive-in with a date. Nough said about those memories.

4:53 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Nugget - I find it's just easier to wear Depends.

Ghost - Snowmobiles? Brrrrr! Wonder if they do that in any towns up north here...

DP - Al Green will not be ignored. And some women just don't appreciate their man bringin' home a spare set o' balls.

Kranki - JCS is one of those shows/movies I've always meant to see and haven't. How cool that this was your first drive-in!

LadyBug - Woohoo! You get the Gold Star of Linkage for the day. Hmmmm, shopping, shopping...

Susie - I really do think porn is better with no sound (for purposes of actual arousal) or with me-and-my-friends supplied dialogue, such as yours, for sheer entertainment.
And I'm sure all you and Jif did in that Lincoln with the mattress for a back seat was hold hands and think pure thoughts. Yup.

Nanina - I have to say, if I had kids, I'd be horrified as I watched 'em tryin' to do all the awful things I did. I'd be all "DON'T BE LIKE YOUR MOTHERRRRRR!"

5:08 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Squirl said...

I love the slow-dancin' story. We still have four screens at the Getty Four in Muskegon. Yeah, they're too late for me. Maybe I should just put up with one late night and go to the drive-in sometime with Ichabod.

Oh, and love Al Green, too.

9:00 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Random and Odd said...

Al my favorite singer in the whole wide world. hands down. no need to think about this one.

Glad you had a good weekend. Any weekend that involves dancing to Al Green is going to be a good one!!

9:53 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

Squirl - You should take a nap someday and go to the drive-in.
What? I'm serious!

Kristine - Al Green's voice could melt the panties off a nun.

10:20 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

My fondest memories of the drive in were at the long defunct Waterford Drive In just outside of Pontiac. My first teen drive in experience was an Easy Rider/Matt Helm (Dean Martin) double feature. I went with my best friends sister, my best friend and his girlfriend.

Easy Rider was magnificent, and you knew that Fonda, Hopper and Nicholson were going to be stars. I have no idea about the Dean Martin movie, because the next thing I knew, it was 3am and there was one lonely car in the lot occupied by four mostly naked teenagers.

I got a black eye the next day for taking advantage of my my best friends sister, not that he was mad, just on general priciples. And it was a small price to pay for seeing a great movie and getting layed!

10:35 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

p.s. I am old enough to remember Al Green before he was a reverand! (I...I'm still in love with you...spendin my day thinkin bout you girl...)

10:46 PM, August 01, 2005  
Blogger Jomama said...

That is so sweet that Jim danced with you at the drive-in. That is truly romantic :)

I only have one vague memory of the drive-in, seeing as I'm quite the young'un. It was probably around '85 and I have no idea what we went to see because I was in the back seat with a blanket and a pillow and I fell asleep.

6:14 AM, August 02, 2005  
Blogger Amy said...

Okay reading this was like a mini vacation in itself. Thanks you!

The nutsack thing....I can't get a visual and it is tearin me up insahde.

My parents took us to the Starlight Drive In to see the first Superman. Except the bastards played "Starship Invasion" first! So the four of us, aged 5,7,8 and 9, got to watch people commiting suicide because their minds were controlled by aliens. THEN we got to watch Superman. Nightmares, I tell you.

7:06 PM, August 02, 2005  
Blogger MsPerdie said...

OK, now that was FUNNY!!! Pizza Pizza... I forgot that was in the Little Ceaser's commercial.. Let's see, I'm 29 and the last time I was at a drive in was maybe 15 years ago, in Colorado Springs... of course, that's since been closed. I don't remember what I saw, or who I went with, that's bad, huh? I like your site...

4:51 PM, August 03, 2005  

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