A Visit to the Vineland – By Jim Crouch

The following is a letter posted on the Yahoo Drive-ins newsgroup. I have reprinted it here with the permission of it’s author Jim Crouch.

Here is Jim’s report on his first visit to the Vineland Drive-In

Hello all. Sorry it took me a while to talk a bit about my Vineland Drive-in experience, but I had to go out of town for a couple of weeks. I had a really nice time at the Vineland Drive-in down in LA — or the City of Industry, if you prefer. The night that I went, the movie I chose to watch was on screen #2. I liked this screen. It looked better than screen #1. That lot looked smaller and had empty boxes laying all over the ground. Screen #3 looked nice as well, with a nice big lot, and screen #4 I didn’t get a good look at because it was directly behind me and behind the snack bar as well. I actually had a really good clear view of screen #1 as I watched my movie on screen #2. I thought that was cool.

I chose to park on the very far righthand side of screen #2, and I soon learned I was in for a neat surprise. Parking on the far righthand side on screen #2 gives you a front row seat to the passing “tram” or train. It was like an above-the-ground subway that carries people to different parts of LA. This had to be the neatest thing I saw at this drive-in. I looked at my watch, and about once every hour or so, a “tram” full of people will fly by. I noticed that the people on this tram were looking out the window at all the people at the drive-in, too. That was so cool to me.

One time when the tram came by, I saluted everyone on the tram by holding up my drink in the air. lol. I had a hot dog while I was there. It was pretty good. The drive-in restrooms are different than the ones I go to here in central California — lots of urinals to choose from. It was a big restroom. That fact that the restroom was inside the snack bar was different as well because the drive-in restrooms that I’ve been going to have no access to the snack bar. It’s always on a different side of the building.

I thought all the bleacher seats near the snack bar was a nice touch, too. If you get tired of hanging around your car, you can go to the bleachers.

As you all may or may not know, I live in Bakersfield. I made the trip in 2 hours and 15 minutes. I left my house in Bakersfield at 4:00 p.m, and I got to the drive-in line at 6:15 p.m. when I told the lady at the ticket booth I came from Bakersfield, she was absolutely shocked. It was funny. I became famous. She spotted me later that night at the snack bar, and she was telling the other concession workers that I was that guy from Bakersfield.

It would have been nice to see all the people from the SoCal DIMS, but I will return there and when I do, it will definitely be on a night that you guys have one of your meetings there.

I left the drive-in a little past midnight at 12:15 a.m. It was about halfway through the third movie. (they played the first movie over again after the second movie). Since I lived over 2 hours way, I wanted to leave at a time where I can get home before 3:00 a.m. The plan worked. I got home about 2:30 a.m.

Once again, I had a great time at the Vineland Drive-in in LA and will be looking forward to a return trip someday. My next drive-in adventure will be sometime within the next month or so at either the Hi-Way Drive-in in Santa Maria or the Sunset in San Luis Obispo. I will keep everyone posted.

jim

Bon Voyage to 2017

Hello Fellow drive-in theater fans,

Well what an exciting year it’s been for the Southern California Drive-In Movie Society and drive-in fans in general. SoCal DIMS has come a long way since that very first meeting at the Mission Tiki Drive-In. I don’t believe any of us that night would’ve expected the impact we would have amongst the Southern California drive-in community.

So after a long and exciting year we’ve decided to take a winter break. We will be faced with many changes in the next couple of months so now is a good time take a short breather, enjoy the holidays and regroup in January.

As a way of saying bon voyage to 2017, we would like to invite everyone out to the Rubidoux Drive-In in Riverside this Saturday night, November 11th. It will be an informal gathering of SoCalDIMS members so everyone can have a fun and relaxed night out at the movies, with loads of hot chocolate.

We hope you can make it on Saturday night. Keep checking the SoCalDIMS website for any SoCal drive-in news and keep visiting your local drive-in movie theaters.

We will see you in January.

Happy Holidays!

A Special Report: KCET Fundraiser Night at the Drive-In

From the very beginning the mission of the Southern California Drive-In Movie Society has been to make as many people aware that the classic drive-in movie experience we all remember from our childhood is still alive and well and prospering. This past Saturday night. October 14, 2006 marked the culmination of a 15 month project.

How we arrived at last nights event

The first great push to drive our mission was to enlist the help of someone influential. We knew that to get the public’s attention we would need a great deal of help from someone outside of our society. We needed someone people trusted so we focused our attention on a great local television personality that has for the last 20 years made a name for himself by telling his PBS/KCET viewers about all the special people, places and things that make our great state of California a wonderful place to live and visit and explore with family and friends. Huell Howser was a perfect fit for what we at SoCalDIMS wanted to accomplish and so we set out to peak his interest in a truly American and quintessentially Southern California experience.

After emailing Huell Howser for over 4 months we finally received a phone call from the man himself. He was definitely interested in producing a program about drive-ins.

WooHoo!!

Well not only was Huell Interested in a single drive-in show but he was also interested in setting up a fundraiser night at the drive-in that would include 2 classic movies, free popcorn and soda and a special prize for the most innovative approach to having the most people per carload. How fun is that?

So the wheels began to roll and the mission of SoCalDIMS was beginning to get some major legs under it and began to bring other influential people involved in the process. So after several emails and phone calls between SOCalDIMS member Sal Gomez and Huell Howser and his producers, Huell settled on shooting his program at the Mission Tiki Drive-In in Montclair California on the outskirts of Los Angeles, a theater owned and operated by Teri Oldknow and her family’s company, De Anza Land and Leisure Corp. Teri and her family had invested so much money, time and love into the old Mission Drive-In and transformed it into a lush and glorious Tiki paradise. The New Mission Tiki is beautiful, clean, wide open and a comfortable drive-in theater. With the help of the talented Tiki Diablo this theater has been reborn. Huell Howser and his production staff were so impressed with this theater that the decision was made to hold the fundraiser here.

So in August of 2006 SoCalDIMS members Sal Gomez and Dennis Cozzalio along with Teri Oldknow and Frank Huttinger met up with Huell Howser and his cameraman Cameron Tucker at the Mission Tiki Drive-In to shoot an episode of “Visiting… with Huell Howser” and what an exciting night that was for everyone, especially Huell who admitted that he had not been to a drive-in since he was a teenager.

The show turned out to be 100 times better than any one of us could hope for and it aired on KCET Channel 28 here in the Los Angeles area on the following Sunday. We all joined Huell Howser live in the studio for the announcement of the fundraiser night and the tickets began to sell like hot cakes.

All this brings us to last nights event. And what a turnout we had. The Martini Kings entertained the crowd in the patio area as the crowds began to roll in and line up for the free popcorn and soft drinks. SoCalDIMS was set up in the snack bar and we received many inquiries about our society and how to join up. But the the real question on everyone’s lips was, “where is Huell”?

It didn’t take long before the man of the evening made his first appearance and he did not disappoint his eagerly awaiting guests. By our estimation Huell stood and shook hands, autographed DVD’s and other memorabilia, and posed for hundreds of photos for well over 2 hours before the first films hit the screens. Everyone in attendance seemed to have a very good time.

The members of the Southern California Drive-In Movie Society feel very proud to have been an integral part of making this night a complete success. To all of you who attended this event, thank you very much for supporting PBS and KCET, We doubly thank each and everyone of you for coming out to the drive-in and we ask that you tell your family and friends that the drive-in can still be a part of a family night out.

See you under the stars!