Mixsonian Morrs and Barbara

The Drive-In Movie Theater

With Morris making extra money working for Barbara’s father, they had a bit of extra spending money and would go to the drive-in movie that only cost a dollar a carload. Barbara would make Kool Ade and popcorn at home and then they would all pile into the car and go to the movie with the kids in there pajamas so when they got home, they could go right to bed.  Upon arriving at the drive-in, dad would pull into a spot a few rows Drive in Moviein front of the projection and concessions stand.  The rows all had a slight incline so that the car would be at an angle looking up at the movie screen so, from the back seat of the car, the movie filled the windshield of the car.  After getting the car parked just right, dad would roll down the window, take the speaker hanging on a post at each parking spot and put it on the dash of the car.  One of the kids, my brother, sister or I, would get to sit in the front seat between Mom and Dad, the ’55 Chevy having a full bench seat in front.  The other two kids sat in the back although we would trade positions several times during the movie.  Before the movie begin, they would show several cartoons such as Bugs Bunny or the Road Runner, Tom and Jerry, I will always remember Looney Tunes music which the cartoons started with, then a short film of all the things you could get to eat and drink at the concession stand followed by the movie .

On summer nights it would be warm, so it was always a tradeoff between the windows rolled up and it being hot and stuffy, or the windows rolled down and being bitten by mosquitoes.  Dad usually went with the windows down, but he would go to the concession stand and buy a mosquito repellent which was a green coil about three inches in diameter that was curled up like a snake.  You would light the end of it with a match and it then would smolder putting off a distinctive smelling smoke as it burned that was supposed to keep away the mosquitoes.  Dad would always be moving it around, on the dash, on the floor in front, in the back window and we kids had to be careful not to knock it over and set the car on fire.  Even with the repellent, we all got bitten by mosquitoes.

On cooler nights there would be no mosquitoes but since it was cold we would have the windows rolled up but in doing so the windshield would soon fog up and you couldn’t see the movie so Dad would have to run the car for a few minutes with the defroster on.  On perfect nights when it too cool for mosquitoes but warm enough to be outside we would lay on a blanket on the hood of the car which would be warm from the drive there.  Halfway though the movie there always would be an intermission which short films would be shown, and we would all pile out of the car and go to the bathroom at the concession stand with Dad taking David and I and Mom taking Brenda, after which Dad would give us a nickel or dime to buy a box of candy before returning to the car. 

Barbara wrote in her diary about going to the drive-in, “The first show was a haunted one & it really scared the kids. Brenda & David wouldn’t look at it at all & Larry hid his face quite often. Can’t take them to such a one again. Even scared me!”  The movie was “The House on Haunted Hill” and the one scene I always remembered was the people in the house went down into the basement where they pulled on a rope raising a trap door under which there was a pit of boiling acid in which bones were floating and then a scull rose to the surface, one of the missing guests at the house.

When the movie was over all the cars would turn their lights on and try to rush to get out and of course a line would form as the cars exited.  We kids would be asleep before we got home never quite remembering how we got into bed when we woke up the next morning.

Some of the movies we saw at the Drive-In in the '50's and early '60s:

1955 Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, which my brother loved for he thought of himself as Davy Crocket and even had a “koon skin” hat.

1956 The King and I, but way to much singing I thought.

1956 The Lone Ranger with the line that is forever stuck in my mind, “Hi Ho Silver Away” as the Lone ranger horse rears up and then he gallops away.

1956 The Forbidden Planet, Robby the Robot - Another one of my favorite science fiction movies.

1957 Old Yeller, the saddest dog story ever.

1957 Lady and the Tramp, very cute, happy dog story.

1957 The Bridge over the River Kwai, one of the best ever war movies.

1958 The Fly, accident during an early transport switches man and fly’s head. The technology got worked out many years later in Star Trek although they too had issues like when Captain Kirk got split resulting in a good and a bad Kirk.

For my fourth birthday Mom had a party which a few friends and family came.  After cake and ice cream I opened my presents and then Grandpa Junior gave me a very pretty children’s bible for my birthday.  I couldn’t read at the time but the bible had pictures of the various bible stories that I had been hearing all my life at Sunday School and church so I would sometimes find a picture and ask Mom to tell me the story again.  

Updated: 05-29-2023