Remember When Encore: Drive-in Theaters

   John Gilbert worked at WRBL in the 1970's when the news was captured on film instead of video tape. 

   But John's love of film, cameras and projectors goes back to his boyhood.  “I grew up in a drive-in theater.  My dad was the manager of the Rexview Drive-in which was located on 45th Street.  He retired at the Edgewood Drive-in when I was just out of high school,” says Gilbert.

   His dad's job made John a hero at school.  “Oh yeah, I was everybody's best friend.  They wanted to come over to my house to go to the drive-in.”

   It wasn't all fun having a dad who managed a drive-in.  When John got old enough, he had to cut the grass.

   John recalls, “My favorite place was the projection booth.  I loved to watch those big machines running, and just enjoyed how the movie got onto the screen.”

   Whether you were coming to see Esther Williams in “Easy to Love” or Alan Ladd in “Hell Below Zero,” the routine was the same.

   John describes it this way.  “You'd pull up to the ticket taker.  Of course, they didn't ask how many were in the trunk.  You'd hear the crunch of gravel.  You'd put the speaker in your car.  You could smell that popcorn and those hamburgers frying, kind of wafting acrosws the lot in the evening.  And then old Ben Parsons would say, 'It's show time!'  And the music would go off and the screen would light up with the big 20th Century Fox fanfare.  And to me those are just some of my fondest memories.”

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