Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rainbow Drive-In


Most of the movies we saw as a family when I was a kid were at Rainbow Drive-In. One of the most vivid memories of Rainbow Drive-In was when the family went to see Disney's THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR (1961). This movie was in black and white and still looked incredible to see the Flubber Mobile seemingly fly around over the cars against the night sky of Etowah County. I believe we went to this movie during a 1963 reissue. I think we saw it as a double feature - with SON OF FLUBBER (1963). This movie also starred Fred MacMurray, and was Disney at it's best - very funny.

I don't recall dad and mom ever taking us to The Rebel. I went to The Rebel more in my teen years with Brooky and Jamey Moore. We'd see all the Spaghetti Westerns, Hammer & American International horror films there.

I've always have enjoyed the drive-in. I can recall a bunch of times growing up when dad or mom would ask me what I wanted for my birthday and I would say, "I want to go to the drive-in." The last movie that my parents ever took me to see at the drive-in was at the Rainbow. George C. Scott was filling the boots of George S. Patton. Man that old general sure could cuss up a storm. I was really surprised that dad let me watch the whole movie without leaving early. I think PATTON (1970) was a movie that not even dad wanted to leave - cussing or not. Mother said that dad enjoyed that movie.

I look forward to going to the drive-in real soon. We've had some perfect nights for it. Often I'll take a buddy (Jose") - sometimes a bunch of friends. My girls love the drive-ins as much as I do. We've got to be on the look out for some family oriented double features. Every now and then, when I don't have a friend and yet still have a hankering - I'll go at it alone. I drove out to the Centre Drive-In last Spring in my VW and sat out there in on a brisk night. Being home-bound this past week has really got me wanting to drive up to Sand Mountain or Centre and enjoy a show under the stars.

By the way, I ran across this Rainbow Drive-In handbill (as seen above) about ten years ago. The movies date back to 1968 and 1969. I didn't go to any of these movies, but I like the way theaters used print to promote coming attractions. This is the inside and outside of the handbill. It folds in the middle - you should be able to tell which side is the front. It's an interesting piece of local memorabilia. Though I probably saw more movies at the old Rebel Drive-In, the Rainbow Drive-In was the nicer establishment.

Bobby Scarboro's Collection (now at Gadsden Public Library) has many images of the Rainbow. One of my favorites images is that of Sunday morning services at the drive-in there. It's really humorous. You'd just pull up in your car and hook the speaker to your car. Vwa-lah - instant service. I kiddeth thee not.
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