It was a hot night in Eldorado when Neva J. and Chet and Billy B., watched ‘Attack Of The Fifty-Foot Woman,’ at the Starlight Drive Inn. The Starlight could be seen from Grandma Askew’s house…but you could not hear the dialogue. The movie was on the cutting edge for the late 1950s. Chet remarked, ‘What if Mrs. Blackwell was 50 feet tall?’ Billy B. noted that she not only would not be able to sit at her desk…but that the school would have to take the roof off of the classroom to accommodate her size.
B Movies and Kitsch and Monster Magazines and Action Figures were important components of Billy B. and Chet’s upbringing. They loved the Action Figures of the day, such as Johnny West and Chief Cherokee and Stony the Soldier and the prize of all…Daniel Boone. Before Action Figures there were tiny green soldiers and western figures…but the foot tall Action Figures were reminiscent of the 50-foot woman. The size added a realism to the fantasy that was compelling.
When discussing magnified realism…there was nothing more potent than to enjoy popcorn and a coke and other somewhat obscure snacks at the Starlight Drive-Inn. The projected film images were much larger than the IMax Screens of today. The movies also had cartoons before their showing. At the Starlight, it was exclusively the Pink Panther. Billy B. and Chet really did not see the Pink Panther anywhere else but at the Starlight Drive-Inn. Now…at the Orpheum Theatre in Eldorado there were the conventional snacks such as; popcorn and candy bars and Coca-Cola…but at the Drive-In, you could get a slice of pizza or a hamburger or hot dog. Many of the viewing audience came in by way of their friends or families…trunks of their automobiles. When the Sun was just about to set…trunks popped open all over the lot. It cost 75 cents to enter the Starlight…while it was 35 cents to see a movie…all day long…at the Orpheum. Although you could often view a double feature at the Drive-In. Chet and Billy B. entered by way of a car trunk to see the movie, Midnight Cowboy, which they were not old enough to attend. After, Chet asked Billy B., ‘What was all of the hubbubs about?’ The speakers for the Starlight Drive-In weighed about 5 pounds and were made of metal. You took it off of its hook next to your parking space and placed it on either the driver’s side or the passengers’ side of the car window…after you rolled down the window. This…of course, left a gap at the top of the rolled-down window for the mosquitoes to enter the car. Cars would park on a gravel road near the Big Screen and watch the movie for free and strain to hear the ambient sounds of the screen and metal speakers.
Television was not the varied entertainment option during the 1960s that it is today. There were 3 channels and 2 of them were fuzzy. The channels also ended at midnight and closed with a rendition of the National Anthem. Eldorado was a Dry-Town…meaning that there were no bars or liquor stores within the city limits and the thirsty people of the City of Gold had to drive to the much smaller town of, Muddy, to Molinarolos Package Store to obtain libations. Never on Sunday was a popular movie of the time and also could be said for sinful quests such as purchasing alcoholic beverages or mowing your grass. In those halcyon days, the idea of paying for TV was as laughable as…The 50 Foot Woman…