Joined: 21 Sep 2017
Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:35 am
Post subject: Wondering how much spending money to take to Poland on schoo
The Coburg drive-in, which proudly calls itself Melbourne's last "picture show under the stars", is adding another screen in December. Kristine Robertson jumps in her car, puts pedal to the metal and heads for the outdoor cinema. IT'S NINE o'clock. Sunday night. Ten cars are parked in the main field of the Coburg drive-in, half an hour before the start of the first feature.
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The music piped through the speakers is interrupted only by the crunch of gravel. One man gets out of his car and wipes his windscreen he flicks off insects and dust before settling back and waiting for the show to begin. People going to the drive-in today in search of nostalgia will be surprised to discover some of the changes that have occurred since the golden days of outdoor cinema. Warren Cotter, the manager at the Coburg drive-in complex, the last still operating in Melbourne, says that parking your car at the drive-in today is different from the experience in the 1960s.
The dashboard-cinema culture has changed people no longer go there just to wriggle in the backseat, watch R-rated schlock flicks and pig out on choc-tops. The drive-in film genre has, thankfully, improved. In the 60s and 70s, drive-ins were notorious for featuring B-grade flicks with fabulous titles such as Billy the Kid Versus Dracula, Attack of the Crab Monsters and Viking Women and the Sea Serpent. Anything R-rated was a bonus.
Cotter says the film was usually the last thing on the minds of drive-in patrons. Today, the Coburg complex features the same Hollywood blockbusters showing at the local cinema. Cotter says the emphasis is on the entertainment on the screen, not the backseat. "We now actually have people watching the movie instead of what they were doing before." The introduction of a narrowcast FM frequency to transmit film audio has also changed the experience, and allowed patrons to hear the film via their car radio, rather than the speakers.
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Picture quality, says Cotter, has also improved with the 32-metre-wide screen arguably as clear as that of any hardtop cinema. In Melbourne, the drive-in opened in Burwood in 1954. During the 1960s the big outdoor screens and car parks started popping up all over the suburbs, acting as a breeding ground for many a teenage romance. But the boom was short-lived. Since 1980, 23 drive-ins across Melbourne have closed down, a casualty of color television and home video. The huge paddocks left vacant by their closure has proved a boon to property developers, with the land usually sub-divided for residential and industrial purposes.
The Coburg drive-in narrowly escaped a similar fate. It 1982 the owners put a "for sale" sign on the site, but when no buyer could be found they decided to reopen it in 1986. Now the twin-screen drive-in has the capacity for 826 cars, with the construction of a third field almost completed. Cotter says the extra screen will be a valuable addition to the theatre. While it will not increase overall car capacity, it will offer more choice. At interval at the Coburg complex, patrons slowly emerge from their cars. Some people sit with their car engines running, warming up the cabin. A few people ignore the cold, stretching out their legs and lighting up a smoke. A group of twenty-somethings jeer noisily at the advertisements on the screen.
They are sitting around their van on deckchairs, each of them wrapped tightly in a blanket, an esky at their feet. The group is from nearby Ascot Vale and decided to come to the drive-in because it was either that or the pub. Esmerelda, 24, says she often comes to the Coburg complex because it's more entertaining than the hardtop cinema, or putting your feet up with a video at home. "It's the combination of the open air and the big screen. It's just really great, " she says. "You also get more privacy at the drive-in.
At home with a video, you have to put up with your parents or your brothers and sisters butting in and annoying you. Here you can do what you like." Meanwhile, the patrons from the diner make their way back to their cars balancing coffee and chocolate bars. A few of them stop to catch the opening scenes of the second feature while trying to negotiate the doors of their cars. Gail has worked at various drive-ins for 20 years. She supervises the cafe at Coburg, working five nights a week serving popcorn and hotdogs to hungry film goers.
She is full of stories about her time at the drive-in. One regular, she recalls, proposed to his girlfriend via the giant screen. A slide asking the big question was shown along with the paid advertisements at the start of the show. An answer was promised at interval. When his girlfriend accepted (after the first feature), the crowd responded with toots of their car horns. The staff celebrated, playing Going to the Chapel over the car speaker system. Both Cotter and Gail say their clientele is regular and loyal.
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They both refer separately to the drive-in as a community. "There's a couple that come every Tuesday night without fail," says Cotter. "There's a couple that come every Saturday night without fail, even when we repeat the movies, they still come here." Gail says there are even those who have followed the drive- in experience from theatre to theatre as they closed down during the 1980s. People she served at Northland drive-in 15 years ago she now serves at Coburg. "Over the years you really get to know these people and it becomes just like a family," she says.
Last edited by adrienne224 on Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:19 am; edited 4 times in total