What Was Your Experience? Passion Pit or Bijou Balcony?

Some anniversaries requiring acknowledging. This is one of those. I won’t tell you anything you don’t already know, but I bet it brings back some memories that you hadn’t thought about in a while.
Richard Hollingshead opened the first passion pit 75 years ago.

My memories are probably similar to yours.
The movie screen was visible from the road, if you were driving by you could catch a glimpse – just a glimpse of the movie playing.
Going to a movie at the drive-in would be kind of like waiting for a movie to come out on DVD. Never first run, but usually close enough.
In front of the screen (only one) was a makeshift playground, a few swings and a couple teeter-totters.
The projector was housed in a block building that also served as the concession area. But if you were a kid and your parents took you, usually a big brown sack of popcorn made at home was the treat. Our drink of choice was Vernor’s Ginger Ale or cherry Kool-aid in a big insulated jug with a block of ice inside.
Dad would carefully pull the car up the little gravel hill and “back and fill” until he got full assurance that everyone in the back seat could see OK. Once he had the speaker inside, there was no adjusting the car.
There was never a doubt that the speaker would work – they always did. Who would vandalize a tiny little speaker in a block of aluminum?
Invariably there was the 20-30 minute wait for it to get dark enough for the feature. There was always a bunch that was impatient and start tooting their car horns. Then it would be the “shave and a haircut, two bits” game. That was fun.
A newsreel, a cartoon, preview of coming attractions, and the cheesiest invitation to “enjoy our refreshment stand” were the prelude to the feature.
I never remember using the bathroom at the drive-in. Boys just stood outside the car and let it fly.
OH! You better not have the car open too long or the cars behind you would honk their horns because your dome light was making it impossible to see the screen. Boys learned early to get out – close the door – and then pee.
I remember thinking it was so cool after the movie was over to drive along with our lights off in the dark until we hit the fenced area.
After I started taking Nancy to the drive-in, there was a lot of kids gaining free admission by riding in the truck of a buddies car. Never did it. Never let somebody do it. I had raging testosterone (boy those were the good old days) that didn’t want to risk getting us tossed from the passion pit.
Foggy windows? Jaysus, did we fog up the windows! No center console, just that nice big bench seat with the shifter on the column.
Do boomers have a common memory here? Are there boomers who didn’t go to the drive-in? I guess the city dwellers didn’t have that opportunity, but they had the balcony at the Bijou.
I don’t care who you are, the balcony at the Bijou would never compare.
Poor city folks.

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What Was Your Experience? Passion Pit or Bijou Balcony? — 7 Comments

  1. Do you remember the hot dog jumping into the bun routine during those “Visit our refreshment stand” shorts? Now if that wasn’t a rather obvious subliminal message I don’t know what was. Guys taking a new girl to the drive in for the first time did a lot of staring at the steering wheel, dashboard, side window–anything but at her face lest he give his lust away right at the beginning after that particular wiener in the bun short finished playing.

    You know, I don’t believe I ever actually watched a movie at the drive-in now that I think about it. 😉

    Kirk M’s last blog post..The Last Exam

  2. Well, dang, I feel deprived. Not that I didn’t go to drive-ins, but we went to the drive-in in Murfreesboro TN with my grandmother and all the visiting cousins. Not exactly passion-pit-night-on-the-town.

    The most thrill we got was the night my grandmother drove off before removing the speaker from the car window of her 1949 Plymouth.

    Polly_Vous Francais’s last blog post..Why we love Paris

  3. @Polly: Oh wow… totally forgot about that scenario! Did everybody laff and tease her about it forever? 1949 Plymouth – who got to lie down in the huge back window ledge?

  4. Well…you had more luck then I did with speakers…1/3 of them never worked! And of couse there was always some pigeon brain that would rip it right off the pole when he left.
    Yes, I do remember those steamed over windows…watching to see who was making out with whom…bringing colored popcorn from home along with sodas from the Pantry Pride.
    And being from the south…mosquitos! The state bird!

    Hope you are feeling better…
    come by and see me sometime!

    ~The Baby Booomer Queen~

  5. True: I forgot about the importance of seating when it came to the pecking order.
    I remember reading about the odometer changing! Forgot you posted the picture! What a big old boat!