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Posts Tagged ‘Drive-in movies

The passing of the passion pit…

 The Pike, Montgomery, PA

Connecticut photographer Carl Weese uses oversize “banquet cameras” to document that quintessentially-American institution, the drive-in movie.  While the first drive-in appeared (in New Jersey) in the early 1930s, their heyday was the golden age of suburbs, the 1950s and 60s.  First pitched as a place to bring the whole family (“no matter how noisy the kids are”), drive-ins fell victim to proliferating “hard tops” (as Variety calls indoor theaters); Daylight Savings Time (which shaved an hour out of the evening’s viewing time); the growing availability of feature films on vcr, then cable and dvd (which made for an even more convenient family film night); and rising land prices (which made many “soft tops” comparatively uneconomical to operate).  For many teens in the 50s and 60s, the drive-in provided an intimate privacy unavailable elsewhere.  That too changed, as TV sets proliferated throughout the rooms of most households…  There were over 4,000 drive-ins in operation in the 60s; today, there are under 400.

 Deer Lake Drive-In, Deer Lake, PA

 [TotH to Co.Design for the photos]

As we learn to pop our own corn, we might note that this date marked the end of one American political thinker’s life, and the beginning of another’s:

Author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat Benjamin Franklin died on this date in 1790.

 They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety (source)

And on this date in 1854, Benjamin Ricketson Tucker, the champion of  “unterrified Jeffersonianism” (AKA American individualist anarchism) was born.  Tucker founded and published Liberty, a magazine that featured everything from the social economic ideas of Herbert Spencer and Lysander Spooner to articles on Free Love; it carried George Bernard Shaw’s first article to appear in the U.S. and the first American translations of Friedrich Nietzsche.

 Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, these three; but the greatest of these is Liberty. Formerly the price of Liberty was eternal vigilance, but now it can be had for fifty cents a year. (source)

Written by LW

April 17, 2012 at 1:01 am

B-ing all that they can B…

As the emphasis at American Movie Classics has slid every more completely from “Classics” to “American,” viewers have had to take consolation in channel originals like Mad Men and (the less-well-known, but arguably even better) Breaking Bad

Now, as though in penance, AMC has fielded “BMC”– “B-Movie Classics“– a web site on which one can stream the best of the worst…

Bikinis! Monsters! Motorcycles! Welcome to BMC, your new go-to site for B-movies by the likes of John Carpenter (Dark Star) and Roger Corman (Saga of the Viking Women). Now online and in full screen, watch unsung classics like Asylum by Psycho screenwriter Robert Block or Corridors of Blood with the inimitable Christopher Lee. Want to see international icons before they made it big? Check out Raquel Welch in A Swingin’ Summer or kung fu king Sonny Chiba in Terror Beneath the Sea. Looking for the unexpected? How about The Ruthless Four, a spaghetti Western starring Klaus Kinski.

Now updated with even more B-movies featuring femmes fatales (The Cat Girl), jungle adventures (Curse of the Voodoo) and talking ventriloquist’s dummies (Devil Doll). Whatever your B-movie taste, BMC has got you covered.

(As a special treat, check out Carnival of Souls– a B-Movie that transcends…)

As we salt our popcorn, we might recall that it was on this date in 1593 that the Vatican opened the seven-year trial Italian philosopher, mathematician and astronomer Giordano Bruno– whose championing of heliocentrism and an infinite universe landed him in the dock.  Bruno’s theory went beyond the Copernican model in identifying the sun as just one of an infinite number of independently-moving heavenly bodies; indeed, he was the first person (Western person, anyway) to have understood the universe as a continuum in which the stars one sees at night are identical in nature to the Sun…  Not a view comfortable to the Orthodoxy.  Bruno was convicted of heresy in 1600, and burned at the stake.  All of his works were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1603.

Giordano Bruno

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