If you were a movie-mad kid in the '60s and '70s like I was, ads like these will look very familiar and may send you off into uncontrollable daydreams of leafing through the paper and trying to take in all that there was to see. And if you were a movie-mad kid in the '60s and '70s who, like me, had to get your movie fix largely from imagining the thrills to be had from triple features like Mad Doctor of Blood Island, Blood Demon and Battle Beneath the Earth because you
A typical drive-in movie ad from
the Drive-In Theaters.com Gallery
lived in an isolated town and the paper you looked into every day was from a city 400 miles away (Portland, Oregon), then you'll know that staring at these ads could often, and often had to be, as good as seeing the movies themselves. (In fact, in the case of some of these pictures, your imagination probably far outstripped the actual movie.)
I would see an ad for a drive-in showing something like a triple feature of The Green Slime, Night of the Living Dead and She and know there were better, grander places beyond my hometown just waiting for me to get there, drive up to the boxoffice, lay my money down and settle in for a world of ridiculous and awesome wonders. And what's amazing is, some of these places were showing triple features made up of the likes of The Wild Bunch, The Green Berets and Cool Hand Luke. That's not cut-rate fare-- well, The Green Berets isn't a very good movie, but it was certainly positioned as one by Warner Brothers at the time. It was an epic, an event, not a B-movie horror flick or biker adventure (my own hometown drive-in, in a rare display of enthusiasm and showmanship, trumpeted it on the marquee thusly: "The Big One Is Here!") And if that triple feature in particular was running during the mid-summer months, the show wouldn't start until about 9:00 (if your projectionist was conscientious and didn't fire up the carbon arcs until dark had arrived completely). These three movies together, not factoring in intermission times, clock in at just over seven and a half hours, which means that if you wanted the biggest bang for your buck, you'd be blearily hitting the exits at around 4:00 a.m. And these triple features of Hollywood fare and cheap horror weren't one-off dusk-till-dawn novelty shows booked to stir up attention or give local car clubs a place to rev their engines all night long, as they would be today-- this was standard operating procedure for a lot of these places. How absolutely wonderful and amazing is that, in an age when exploitation pictures are the meat and potatoes of big budget Hollywood and no longer the sole province of renegades like American International Pictures, when most drive-ins can only afford bare-bones presentations of mainstream Hollywood fare if they expect to survive?
Take a gander at some more great ads at Drive-In Theater.com, and other wonderful newspaper clippings of the era, walk-in and drive-in, courtesy of Drive-InThruWisconsin.com, and be amazed.
(If anyone knows any other places to which I can provide links that feature ads such as these, I'd really be grateful if you'd let me know.)