Drive-In Movie Theaters

I remember Drive-In Theaters from way back. My sister is 8 years older than I am. When she was 16 I was 8 and mom made her take me with her on dates and that included the Drive-In. Most Drive-Ins charged by the person so guess where I was located? A mile up from the Drive-In I would know the routine…I would climb in the trunk. I remember smelling the old dirty tire and whatever else…I would hear us roll over the gravel and then the car would stop…my sister would let me out.

I would climb in the back seat and start watching. Although I make fun of her for this I actually enjoyed it. It was fun to do as a kid. I was a laid-back kid anyway. I remember the only movie showing one time was an R rated movie. It was called “Revenge of the Cheerleaders” from 1976…I got quite an education on the female anatomy. She would tell me don’t look now… then she and her date would go out and talk to friends parked around. I was of course looking and I never told mom…I knew I would not get to come back if I told her.

There are a few around here and once in a while, we will go see them. No Cheerleaders though.

In 1933, eager motorists park their automobiles on the grounds of Park-In Theaters, the first-ever drive-in movie theater, located on Crescent Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey. Richard Hollingshead opened it up. He thought of it because his mother was to large for theater seats. He charged just 25 cents per car.

The Drive-In didn’t really take off until the in-car speakers were invented by the late 40s. By 1958, the number of drive-ins peaked at 4,063.

Indoor theaters were more practical because they could show a movie 5-6 times a day and not have to worry about the weather or being light so the Drive-In’s started to get B movies (Revenge of the Cheerleaders!) and the fad started to slow down. Also, land value pushed the Drive-In’s out.

Now there are roughly 400 Drive-Ins left in America.

In Nashville, they are building an indoor Drive-In Theater. When it is finished I will check it out. You will not drive in with your car…you will walk in and sit in one of the classic cars they will have ready for you…I’m ready…but no trunks

A rendering of the August Moon Drive-In theater planned

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My Memories of 1977

In 1977 I turned 10 years old. It was the first year I wanted to know what was going on in the world. I started to watch Walter Cronkite reporting the world news. Keywords I remember were Sadat, Middle East, Son of Sam, Concorde, and Inflation. Local news would be Chris Clark on channel 5 an affiliate of CBS…keywords locally… Snow, Ray Blanton (the name would be more popular the next year…in a bad way), and Larry Schmittou…who would bring Nashville minor league baseball the following year with the “Sounds” a Reds farm team.

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I missed around 3 weeks of school because of it being either closed or the bus would not run down our rural road because of snow…sledding and exploring time! In Middle Tn… 1 inch of snow will shut down a city.

I remember Star Wars hit the theaters with lines around the corners. I didn’t see it the month it was released but soon afterward. It was everywhere and the talk of the school. We had never seen anything like it before.

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I remember Queen releasing News of the World. A friend of mine brought the album to school and we studied every inch of the cover (by Frank Kelly Freas), a giant robot picking up the bodies of the band. We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions played non-stop on the radio. This is when I started to explore other bands that weren’t named The Beatles.

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The TV mini-series Roots was huge and historic.

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I was watching Gilligans Island and it was interrupted by sad news. Elvis Presley was dead at 42 years old. My mom and other grown-ups around were really upset. I knew his songs and it was sad but I didn’t understand everyone’s reactions for someone they didn’t know. Three years later when I was 13 I understood perfectly clear when John Lennon was murdered. Three days after Elvis died Groucho Marx passed away…In October Bing Crosby passed away.

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I paid attention to the inauguration of Jimmy Carter as President in January. I would hear about peanuts, teeth and his brother Billy for the rest of the year…and about one of those keywords again…inflation.

I remember the Son of Sam killings. In August of that year, David Berkowitz was finally apprehended. He killed six people and wounded seven others. I also remember the blackouts in New York in July…

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The Concorde was all over the news that year. To a 10-year-old in 1977, it looked like something out of a sci-fi movie.

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In March of 1977, I started to follow baseball. I’m not from California but my Dad always rooted for the Dodgers and it was passed down to me. I read from a young age about Babe Ruth, Christy Matheson, and the older players… but this was the first year I followed modern baseball from start to finish. Cey, Lopes, Garvey, Russell, Yeager, Dusty Baker, Reggie Smith, Don Sutton, Tommy John…I loved that team. I still can imitate the batting stance of all of the starters. Ron Cey was my hero and I played 3rd base in Little League because of him.

Our insurance salesman would come to our house every now and then and he knew I was a Dodger fan. He said he went to games in LA and would bring back something for me… I believed him totally. My mom told me not to get my hopes up as he was busy and might forget… A few weeks later…there he was with a Dodger 1977 pennant in his hand to give me…I still have it. I couldn’t believe the pennant in my hand came from the mythical Dodger Stadium where my heroes played.

They had four players with 30 or more home runs that year…Cey, Garvey, Smith, and Baker. They made it to the World Series but broke my heart. They played the Yankees and Reggie Jackson (it still hurts to type his name) hit three home runs in the sixth and deciding game to beat my Dodgers. It took a while to get over that…well I’m still writing about it 41 years later…but it’s always next year.

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I’ll close it out on Matchbox and Hot Wheels…I had a huge collection that I carried to friends houses to trade and race.

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If only life was that simple again…

 

Jake Bugg – Two Fingers

This song caught my attention in 2012 when it was released. It has an older feel to it. It did not chart in America but it did peak at #28 in the UK charts.

In December my son and I saw him at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville with Kelsey Waters opening up. There was an even mixture of young and old to see the 23-year-old play. He has listed influences as diverse as  Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, to Nick Drake.

He is an artist I think should have a good career. His music is refreshing compared to most of the mainstream music of today.

 

Two Fingers

I drink to remember, I smoke to forget
Some things to be proud of
Some stuff to regret
Run down some dark alleys in my own head
Something is changing, changing, changing

I go back to Clifton to see my old friends
The best people I could ever have met
Skin up a fat one, hide from the Feds
Something is changing, changing, changing

So I kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain
Light a cigarette and wish the world away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay
So I hold two fingers up to yesterday
Light a cigarette and smoke it all away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay
He’s down in the kitchen drinking White Lightning
He’s with my momma, they’re yelling and fighting
It’s not the first time praying for silence
Something is changing, changing, changing

So I kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain
Light a cigarette and wish the world away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay
So I hold two fingers up to yesterday
Light a cigarette and smoke it all away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay

There’s a story for every corner of this place
Running so hard you got out but your knees got grazed
I’m an old dog but I learned some new tricks yeah

So I kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain
Light a cigarette and wish the world away
I got out I got out I’m alive but I’m here to stay
So I hold two fingers up to yesterday
Light a cigarette and smoke it all away
I got out I got out I’m alive but I’m here to stay

Hey, hey it’s fine
Hey, hey it’s fine
Hey, hey it’s fine
I left it behind

Steve Earle – I Ain’t Ever Satisfied

I first found out about Steve Earle through this song. It has remained one of my favorite songs. Steve has released a lot of great songs since but it’s the honesty of this song that I like so much.

After I heard it I immediately bought the album “Exit 0” and enjoyed the complete album. The lyrics ring true of the human spirit…we are never satisfied. The 80s were not my favorite musical decade but Steve Earle was one of the highlights for me.

Steve is a very underrated American songwriter.

The song made it to #26 on the Billboard charts in 1987. The album Exit 0 made it to #15 on the charts.

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The Byrds – Drug Store Truck Driving Man

This song is on the Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde album by the Byrds. The song is decent but the interesting part is the story behind the song. It was written in response to an on-air argument with Ralph Emery, at the time an all-night country DJ on a country radio station. It was written by Roger McGuinn and Gram Parsons.

In 1968 The Byrds were in Nashville promoting their new country album “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” and got a cool reception at the Grand Ole Opry. They got into an argument with Emery on air when he said that “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” wasn’t country and then proceeded to call them long-haired hippies and would not play the record. He also didn’t understand what the song meant and Roger told him that Dylan wrote it…that didn’t help.

Ralph Emery would not budge…It was the 1960s in a very fifties Nashville and Ralph could not get past the hair. It would open up a bit in the early seventies with Outlaw country music by Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings.

This is from an interview with Chris Hillman.

“There was the funny story with Ralph Emery, the DJ in Nashville, where he had The Gilded Palace Of Sin tacked on the wall outside of his office, and with a big red pen it said, ‘This is not country music.’ Roger and Gram had gone to do an interview with him when we were all still with the Byrds, and Ralph was such a jerk to them then that they wrote that song “Drug Store Truck Driving Man”. A classic! I wish I’d written a part of that. But later, whenever I’d go on his show with the Desert Rose Band, Ralph would ask, “Did you write that song?” Finally, I had to say, “No, but I wish I had!” So when Roger was on later, Ralph would say, “Well, how is Gram doing?” and Roger would answer, “He’s still dead.” McGuinn was pretty darned quick in those situations!” 

Lyrics

He’s a drug store truck-drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town

Well, he’s got him a house on the hill
He plays country records till you’ve had your fill
He’s a fireman’s friend he’s an all-night DJ
But he sure does think different from the records he plays

He’s a drug store truck-drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town

Well, he don’t like the young folks I know
He told me one night on his radio show
He’s got him a medal he won in the War
It weighs five-hundred pounds and it sleeps on his floor

He’s a drug store truck drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town

He’s been like a father to me
He’s the only DJ you can hear after three
I’m an all-night musician in a rock and roll band
And why he don’t like me I can’t understand

He’s a drug store truck-drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town

He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town

This one’s for you, Ralph

 

 

Juinor’s Farm/Sally G. by Paul McCartney and Wings

Juinor’s Farm/Sally G. single by Paul McCartney and Wings.

I had this single as a kid. Juinor’s Farm and Sally G were both partially recorded in Nashville during Paul’s six-week stay there in 1974. Juinor’s Farm is one of my favorite songs by Paul McCartney. The song rocks and the solo was performed by a 21-year-old Jimmy McCulloch. The song reached #3 in America. The band stayed at a farm in Lebanon TN around 30 miles from Nashville. I remember at the time it being big news that Paul McCartney was going on record in Nashville. I was seven years old and remember seeing Paul on the local news.

Jimmy McCulloch was a guitar prodigy… He was playing in a band when he was 11. He was in a band supporting The Who when he was 14 and in the band Thunderclap Newman in 1969 when he was 16. He went on to play with John Mayall (That guy knew how to pick guitar players) and Stone the Crows… He then went to play with Paul McCartney and Wings in 1974. He gave Paul’s songs an edge and I wish he would have stayed in Wings longer.

He left Paul to play with the reformed Small Faces in 1977.  In 1979 died of heart failure due to morphine and alcohol poisoning. You have to wonder how much better this guy could have been…

The B side was Sally G. and it hit #17 on the Billboard charts and even #51 on the country charts. This song has stayed with me through the years. When I listen to it…I think, now this is more of a what a country song should sound like. I really hate modern country music. No pickup trucks or tractors in this song. Modern country music could learn a lot by listening to country songs in this period and earlier. Paul composed the song after visiting a club in Printer’s Alley in Nashville.

This was McCartney’s last release on Apple Records

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This is from the Tennessean about Paul’s 1974 visit to Nashville. It was written by Dave Paulson

1974
Paul McCartney touched down at Metropolitan airport with his family on the evening of June 6, 1974, emerging from the plane wearing a green battle jacket and flashing a peace sign. The Tennessean reported that Paul answered questions “briefly but willingly” and even humored a group of kids who were amused by his British accent (he said the word “elevator” at their request).
The music superstar told a crowd of about 50 fans and members of the press that he’d come to Nashville for his three Rs — rehearsing, relating and riding. Music producer and executive Buddy Killen, who would act as the McCartneys’ Music City guide during their six-week stay here that summer, greeted the family upon their arrival.
The McCartneys rented a 133-acre farm just outside of Lebanon from songwriter Curly Putman (“Green, Green Grass of Home”) for $2,000 a week. They had requested a farm within 50 miles of Nashville that had horses and swimming facilities.
“I’ve got a farm in Scotland,” McCartney told reporters during an informal press conference on the farm. “You’re not the only people who have farms, you know. Back in Scotland, we’re country people in our own way.”
During their stay, the family visited the homes of Johnny Cash and Chet Atkins and even took in a few movies at their local drive-in.
McCartney and his family caused quite a stir when they joined the audience at Opryland for the third annual Grand Masters Fiddling Contest on June 16, 1974. During the intermission, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton performed their final show together before Parton embarked on her solo career. Linda McCartney got out of her seat several times to take photos of the duo. The McCartneys went backstage to meet with Wagoner and Parton, and then escaped into a waiting automobile.
McCartney told Nashville reporters that he was raised on country music, and he tried his hand at a bit of country songwriting while he was in town: He wrote the song “Sally G.” after a trip to Printer’s Alley.
McCartney drove around on a newly purchased motorcycle during the family’s Nashville visit. When a group of reporters waited at the Putman farm gate for a “highly informal” press conference, Paul and Linda rode past, smiling and waving.
Linda told The Tennessean she was “not much into materialism anymore,” though she had made a recent trip to Rivergate to purchase gifts for her family. Another big machine Paul loved — the Mellotron synthesizer — was not readily available in Tennessee at the time, to his chagrin.
As his time in Tennessee came to a close, McCartney told a group of local reporters that he hoped to mount a U.S. tour the following year, and that if it happened, Music City would definitely be on the itinerary.
“We just couldn’t skip Nashville,” he said. “We have too many friends here.”
McCartney continued to skip Nashville for the next 36 years.

When Paul did come I was there in 2010… he also came back in 2013 and I was there again. Three hours of one favorite after another…