Drive In Theater


In order to eliminate all insects from the path of the light from the motion picture projector to the screen, particularly in the proximity to the motion picture projector, provide a funnel-shape guard member [Item 28] directly ahead of the motion picture projector, outside of the wall of the projection house. Clean or filtered air is blown into the small end of the funnel through suitable nozzles so that a clean stream of air passes through the guard funnel preventing insects from gathering in the funnel, or approaching the lens of the projector….                                                                                                            Patent for A Drive In Theater, 1933

My mom and especially my father liked to go to Drive In Movies, and as a result I grew up seeing a lot of films from the confines of a pale blue 1969 Chevy Impala and a vomit green 1972 Olds 98 Regency (my dad liked GMs).  I’m 50. My earliest memory of any film is King Kong Escapes (1967), which was possibly paired with Yog: Monster from Space aka Space Amoeba (1970). I remember seeing a ton of flicks and most of them were fantasy films.  Sinbad, Gwangi, Homonicus, Kali, a griffin, Caroline Munro’s cleavage, a minoton, Calibos, Pegasus, Bobo, Dioskilos, Medusa and the Kraken all entertained me at the Drive In.Shock-Waves-1977-Movie-6

I saw Amicus films with Doug McClure battling prehistorical beasts and primitive humanoids. I watched Nazi zombie super-soldiers emerge from an underwater lair, and a disappointing Captain Nemo battle a giant manta ray. I also saw Tentacles (1977), which I loved, but I never saw Jaws at the Drive In because my dad wanted to “see it in a good theater with comfortable seats” (that Olds was a beast but River Oaks 70mm Theater had recliners).  I saw some stinkers too —Hammer’s The Lost Continent (1968) and Moon Zero Two (1969) come to mind. Moon Zero Two has the dubious distinction of fucking me over twice in a lifetime. I forgot that I had seen it as a kid, and being curious as I am bought it off Juan who pitched it as a rare Hammer oddity. Achtung! Buyer beware.

So, all this leads me to comment on something that has always puzzled me and it damn well had me up a night as a kid. If moths and other flying insects are attracted to light, specifically ultraviolet emissions, then why didn’t we see them flying as silhouette on top of our favorite screen demons and monsters?  Now I know —Mr. Hollinshead’s funnel.  Can anyone confirm if this is true? Does this funnel thing really work?

Mr. Hollingshead’s Patent (1933)

2 Responses to “Drive In Theater”

  1. You might want to revisit Lost Conrinent (adapted from Dennis [The Devil Rides Out] Wheatley’s Uncharted Seas.) It’s a lot more entertain than you might remember it being.

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