Tuesday, December 27, 2005

...plus, a childhood memory thrown in for good measure!!!

One of the "disappearing memories" that a lot of us who've "been around" hold dear, is that of the outdoor drive-in. You and your friends, or date would park in a big field with a bunch of rows that were elevated at an angle, so your car would tilt "up" and you'd all get a good view of the screen. The sound would be heard over klunky cast-iron speakers wired to a post at the spot where you parked, and you'd fasten the speaker to your car window, and you'd be watching an outdoor movie! Later outdoor drive-ins transmitted the movie audio via radio waves so your car radio could pick it up. But here, we're gonna talk about waaay back when. And hopefully none of you ever broke or cracked a window with one of those klunky drive-in speakers!

What you're seeing here is the big sign posted outside of the Coeur d'Alene Drive-in, which was located in that vacant field that's located across from the Sunset Animal Clinic, just north of Safeway's new store, up there on Government Way, north of Neider Avenue. The part of the sign that's chopped off, is where the titles of the movies being shown were posted.

When I was a little kid, I was so fascinated with the big "star" on the drive-in's sign. Reportedly, I would always point to the sign when our family drove by, and I'd say, "see star?" Well, one day, I got a close-up look at it. Back in 1957, this is me, on top of my Dad's shoulders, still in awe of that big drive-in sign. That's one of the earliest memories I have, and I really treasure this picture. Later on, in high school, me and a few buddies would go out there and see movies; I was even fortunate enough to take a date out there once. Not being a makeout artist or anything, we behaved ourselves. As proof of that, I still remember the movie we saw..."Deliverance". I didn't think it was very good.

The OTHER drive-in movie place in CDA was the "SHOWBOAT". Yep, when the drive-in closed down, the "Showboat" moved out to the intersection of Hiway 95 and Dalton Avenue in the mid-70's. But here it is, in all its old glory; it was located north of the freeway, along the frontage road, just west of Goodies' gas station, on Appleway Avenue.

I never saw a movie at this drive-in, but I remember seeing the building quite a bit. The first place our family lived at (in 1956-7) was the old "H & D" trailer court, which, up until a couple of years ago, was still in existence, right behind (and below) 'Goodies' gas station, near the "Showboat"! My Dad was one of those who passed through CDA, "on the job" many years ago, liked CDA, and decided to settle us all here. And so far, I can't get myself to leave. Once CDA grabs ya, it GITS ya!

But changes continue to happen. Both the Showboat and the Coeur d'Alene Cinemas (located just west of that vacant field where the drive-in was), are now part of a moneygrubbing mega-huge-o-plex hyoooooge movie theatre (theater?) located over there in ye olde Riverstone development. So "really new" residents of this area won't remember the two "separate" movie theatres, let alone "drive-in" theaters that are now are but a figment of the imaginations of residents who were here back in the days of ten-cent phone calls, 27.9 gasoline, and pinball games which were 3 for a quarter. But I remember...


I was gonna wait to post this, but the temptation was too great. It started when I found the "Showboat" picture on Ebay, and then I remembered the photo I had in my collection. I had to "fix" the top photo; you can see a "blob" in the upper left corner. I had actually WRITTEN on the photo. Something I gripe about, when Ebay merchants do it. Go figure!


Blogger stebbijo said...

You make me think of the 'old days' gone by - as a youngster raised in these here neck of the woods - like when my friends and I hitchhiked to Sandpoint, ID to catch the bus to Spokane, WA to shop for school clothes, 'cuz CDA,ID did not have a K-Mart. Those were the days.

9:27 PM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

Stebbi, I'd be able to take you all around town and show you "what used to be where". I have so many memories, from different portions of my life, of Coeur d'Alene...growing up, high school, moving away and returning in 1983, and all of the memories since then. I remember when there was NO FREEWAY thru Spokane...you had to drive all the way thru on Sprague Avenue!

10:01 PM  

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