Sunday, December 11, 2005


I just got back from my office Christmas party, and despite it being late, and two Hefeweizens later, there are a couple of Southern California drive-in notes, Christmas presents for the ozoner in your family, that I felt compelled to pass along:
1) Lawrence Hammett, Technalight technician and member of the Yahoo! Drive-in Movies discussion group, announced this week that the superb illumination system has now been installed in all three projectors at the Rubidoux Drive-in Theater in Riverside, California. Hot on the heels of the recent three-screen upgrade at the Van Buren Drive-in, also in Riverside, this means that all ten screens run by De Anza Corporation in the greater Los Angeles area, including the four lighting up the night at the Mission Tiki in Montclair, are now fully Technalight operational, showing movies under the stars seven days a week all year round. Hammett says, in a message posted earlier this week, that the Rubidoux was perfectly functional before, but “nothing compares with what the images are now; the big screen is so bright, it is showing the cracks in the screen. It might end up as the brightest, biggest screen I have done.” Mission Tiki manager Jeff Thurman, in a later post, hastened to add that “there is so much light on the screens now at the Rubidoux we'll have to cut all-new aperture plates, as the light is flying past the screen onto the freeway traffic behind the #2 screen!” Thurman also mentions that the Mission Tiki just celebrated its first year of being back to a seven-day-a-week operation, and that the Rubidoux has been seven days as week for three years now. Finally, the Mission Tiki installed a brand-new anamorphic Cinemascope lens in theater number one for what Thurman describes as “super-sharp focus” to go along with all those perfectly clear and bright images that have become the hallmark of the De Anza drive-ins in Southern California. To paraphrase Pat MacDonald, the future’s so bright for Southern California drive-ins these days, you gotta wear shades.

2) Jeff Thurman also points to a new music video recently shot at the Mission Tiki from hip-hop artist Juelz Santana. The song is called “Oh, Yes,” and the video makes extensive use of the Mission Tiki lot (screen #1), the snack bar and, most memorably, the projection booth, with Jeff’s giant reels spinning like mad for a very interesting hypno-wheel kind of effect. Jeff didn’t know Juelz from Adam (although he did know that he wasn’t related to Carlos), but apparently the kids on the snack bar staff did, and they enthusiastically approved the MT’s association with the rising star.

3) Fellow Southern California Drive-in Movie Society member Sal Gomez has related news regarding some very exciting developments that may be in store for the Vineland Drive-in in City of Industry. Details are on the Q.T. as yet, but believe me, drive-in fans, we may be seeing the seeds of an honest-to-goodness drive-in revival here in Southern California if all goes well. Sal is keeping close tabs on the situation for all of us at SoCal DIMS, and as soon as we know something solid I’ll pass it along.

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