Sunday, April 26, 1964
117th Day - 249 days to follow
Got up at 10:30 A.M., got dressed, and went to church. After church I went to M's for a minute then went out Aunt Helen's. Mother, Clozell and I came home around 2:00 P.M. and they packed up. Aunt Helen and Uncle Claude came over for a while but they left when Mother and Clozell did around 3:30 P.M.
Read some of Goldfinger. Paul came over around 5:15 P.M. and took me to fellowship. We showed the films I made at last year's retreat. Paul and Betty picked me up at 7:00 P.M. We went to Mullin's and ate then went to Woody's Drive-In and saw part of Hud and Wonderful to Be Young. I got home around 10:10 P.M. Watched the last half of another favorite movie of mine, Abandon Ship.
Bob came over and we went and got a coke. I got in at 11:30 P.M.
I'm now going to bed.
Drive-in movies were a big part of my teenage years and I feel sorry for the later generations that never had the chance to enjoy them the way my generation did. When I was growing up, there were five drive-in movie screens offering late night entertainment for me and my friends. I say five screens because one establishment had twin screens with the snack bar and projection booth located between them. Cars faced east to see one movie while other cars faced west to see the movie on the other screen.
The movies offered were always second run movies and double features were usually the bill of fare. It should also be noted that drive-ins were known for showing more risqué movies than downtown theaters, and though the studios had not started producing the explicit sex scenes we know today, there were sometimes flashes of skin that perked up the attention of teenage boys. Sometimes there were some all-night features which showed up to five movies from dusk until the following dawn and sometimes special nights allowed a whole car load of viewers to get in for one price. In the early days of my movie going, the drive-in snack bars were the only place where you could view a show and get something more to eat besides popcorn, candy, and drinks. All the sit-down theaters downtown only offered those snacks in the beginning and later added large dill pickles and hot dogs to their menu. Drive-in movies offered much more including hamburgers, French fries, ice cream, and cups of chili.
One of the few jobs I had in high school was working at a snack bar in one of the local drive-in movies, and I hate to admit it but I was only employed there for about a week. This was due primarily to the fact that it kept me out too late on school nights. The snack bar did not close until about 10:30pm and then we had to clean the grill and sweep the floor and wipe down all the fixtures. By the time all of that was done it was usually around 11:30pm before I ever got to my car to head home and midnight before I was ready for bed. I know I stayed up late a lot of nights, but having to work those hours was much worse than taking early naps and staying up.
My duties included popping the popcorn and cooking hamburgers. The manager kept track of his hamburger sales by the number of buns used, so each night when we closed we had to break down all the unsold hamburgers and put the unused buns back into their original packages which were later inventoried. As a worker we could eat as many burgers as we wanted, as long as we supplied our own buns; the amount of hamburger patties we ate did not matter. I knew I was not cut out to work there when I started dreamed of popping popcorn each night after I went to sleep.
When I was just a customer at the movies I normally did not have enough money to eat in the snack bar, except for sharing a bag of popcorn ever so often and getting a fountain drink. Of course if I took a date I would normally come up with enough money somehow to insure I could buy her something if she wanted it.
Tickets to the drive-in movies were about the same price as tickets to downtown movies, but the value for the money was normally better, especially when it involved a date. It was much more private to sit in a dark car alone with a date than to sit in a crowded indoor theater. It was also a better value for the money if you went with a bunch of friends and one person bought a single ticket while the rest of us hid in the trunk of the car. In the early days, before the invention of spike strips, we sometimes even avoided the cost of the single ticket by turning the car lights out and driving in the exit. Sometimes we got caught, but the number of times we did not made the risk worth the effort. There was no real punishment if you were caught, you were just fussed at and asked to leave.
Another way of running afoul of the management was to forget to take the speaker out of your window before you started to drive off. I know many of my friends who forgot to do so and tore the speaker off the pole as they started home. We were lucky the wires were weaker than the windows or it could have been an expensive lesson to learn.
Today, most of the drive-in movies that once populated almost every city have become extinct. The theater we went to this night in 1964 ceased to exist many years ago and ironically, the new school which was built to replace the one I was attending then was built on the same lot where we sat watching the movie that night. We still have one drive-in movie here in Memphis and it is still popular in the warm summer nights, but the introduction of daylight savings time requires the movies to start much later in the night than they did before the observation was introduced in 1966. When my daughter was young I took her and her cousin to the drive-in one night and let them sneak in hiding in the trunk, just as I did when I was a teenager. I wanted them to have the bragging rights when they got older of doing so. I did not bother to tell them they were under the age that they needed a ticket, and would have been admitted free if they had not been hiding in the trunk.
There are some rites of passage everyone should experience.
The LHS '64 Senior Prom
Patsy Hughes Oldroyd
I finally found this photo of the LHS Class of '64 Senior Prom. I was a graduate of the Class of ’65, but I was invited to go to your prom by Jerry Schultz. He and his brother, Joe Schultz, were neighbors and family friends. Those two guys gave me a hard time when we were at Lee Jr. High and Lee High School when we would ride to school together. Jerry and I never dated, but we were good friends. I highly suspect that his mom told him that he should ask me to his prom. She would have been proud because he was a perfect gentleman. I have only seen both Jerry and Joe a couple of times in all of these years. Their sister, Judy, was older than we were, and she went to Huntsville High School.
I do not have a program from that prom, but I do remember that it was held in the school cafeteria. Also, I do have a vague memory of it being an island theme. That one may not be correct so you will have to rely on some of the others from your class. So sorry that you did not get a prom photo made that
night. It would be interesting to hear what thoughts Jerry remembers from that prom night. Perhaps he will be at the upcoming 50th LHS Reunion for your Class of ‘64, and I can ask him. Take care and thanks for your continued hard work keeping us all informed about our fellow classmates.
Memphis, TN - A last minute email from Patsy Hughes Oldroyd received this morning saved most of you from an embarrassing rant about the lack of support I am getting in publishing Lee's Traveller each week. In it I was ranting about how no one had bothered to help me with my memories of the senior prom and the fact that 31 of you attended the Lee Lunch Bunch and posted all the pictures and comments on Facebook, but not one of you took a moment to send me anything to share with the rest of your classmates who do not like to use Facebook.
It was about a five paragraph rant, so I think all of you owe Patsy a "thank you" for preventing me from having to publish it. Even John Drummond, who has helped so much with content lately by doing his Westerns on TV series, wrote and asked me what he was doing wrong to keep people from responding to his writings and trivia contests.
I saved the rant though, for I am sure there will be another time soon when it still holds truths.
TV Westerns of the 50s and 60s
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
by John Drummond
This week we focus on Wyatt Earp, the legendary lawman who has been featured in numerous films and TV shows. Even before we were in high school, "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" aired for six seasons, from 1955-61. It was a half-hour program (in black-and-white, of course) which ran for 229 episodes.
Hugh O'Brian played the lead role, chosen in part because he bore a physical resemblance to early photos of the real Wyatt Earp. The series began in Wichita, Kansas, then moved to Dodge City, Kansas, with the final two seasons landing Wyatt in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, in 1878. There many scenes were shot at The Alhambra Saloon. Villains included "Curly Bill" Brocius, Johnny Ringo, and the notorious Clantons. There was also a despicable, dishonest Sheriff, Johnny Behan.
Wyatt fought them with the help of his buddy, the tuberculous, hard-drinking cardsharp, "Doc" Holliday, who had a long-time girlfriend, "Big Nose" Kate.
A great action film came out around 1957, "Gunfight at the OK Corral," starring Burt Lancaster as Wyatt and Kirk Douglas as Doc. The youngest Clanton, Billy, was played by a very young and then-unknown Dennis Hopper. Frankie Laine performed the theme song.
Several other film adaptations have appeared over the past almost-60 years, including Kevin Costner as Wyatt. My personal favorite is "Tombstone." released in the early 1990s, with Kurt Russell as Wyatt, and an emaciated (dying of TB) Val Kilmer as Doc. Other young actors in the film who later became well-known include Sam Elliott, Dana Delany, Thomas Haden Church, and Billy Zane. Oh, and there was a small part of a kindly rancher played by a guy named Charlton Heston.
TV Trivia Questions:
1) Wyatt carried a special weapon: what was it called, and what made it special?
2) Wyatt had two brothers: what were their names?
3) Why was Holliday called "Doc"?, i.e. what his chosen profession when not playing cards for money?
P.S. The real Wyatt Earp died in 1929. Hugh O'Brian is still alive at age 93.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: TV Trivia
Beau Maverick was played by Roger Moore, and Bret always kept a thousand dollar bill sewn in his jacket for get out of town money.
Subject: TV Trivia
Lynn Bozeman VanPelt
Beau was played by Roger Moore. James Garner as Bret Maverick was my very first crush as a preteen and he remains one of my alltime favorite actors. I looked forward to Friday nights with such anticipation.
Subject: Lee Lunch Bunch
Patsy Hughes Oldroyd
The April gathering of the Lee Lunch Bunch had about 30+ to meet at Logan’s and share lunch and lively conversation. As seems to be the case so much these days, many of the regular attendees were not able to come due to illness, doctor’s appointments, and such. We did have several first time classmates to come this time, and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy our time together. We decided at this meeting that we would have NO meeting in December.
The December gathering is a difficult time for many, and it will fall on Christmas day this year. We will probably just scratch the December ones all together. We will definitely meet again this year, but we did discuss the possibility of changing the August gathering to another month such as October. We will
have some further
discussion on this and will get back with you for an announcement on your
Upcoming Events section of the Traveller soon.