Drive-Ins Sans Cars

By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz

I’m excited about Thursdays. The other days are boring because they don’t have outdoor movie night at the Ranch. Instead, on those non-Thursdays, there’s a never-ending rerun of men lying about their golf scores and handicaps. A Monday golfer says, “Put me down for a three.” His buddy says, “You shot an eight.” A Tuesday golfer says, “Put me down for a three.” His buddy says, “You shot an eight.” A Wednesday golfer says, “Put me down for a…” His buddy interrupts, “Don’t say it. You shot an eight.” Same story runs on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. By Sunday, the golfers are sick of bickering all week and agree to score the round by third party arbitration. The Aflac duck arbitrates that the golfers buy his disability insurance with policies that cover any score, including the get even score of angry nine-iron swinging housewives, who want to know where their husbands have been all week or take a load of this handicap, misters. Tiger Woods had this policy.

Going to the movies is safer than golf, but not foolproof. I can remember, as a teenager, trying to score at a silent film festival of the “Keystone Cops,” starring Laguna’s Slim Summerville. “Touch me again and you’ll be eating through a straw,” my date shouted. To this day I prefer someone screaming fire in a theater. I was so mortified that I can’t look at a picture of Slim Summerville and not have an urge to apologize to him. Those teenage years are a fading memory now. Today, I use my touchscreen iPhone and marvel when Siri says, “Hi Mark. Please compute. Touch me again.” Better late than never, I think.

Back in the 1960s, my parents used to take us kids to drive-in movies. For those of you who have never been, the drive-ins had a huge screen and a speaker box for each parking space that you lifted from posts to hook onto the driver’s windows. In the center of the parking lot was a refreshment stand with all the heart attack delights that kids are immune to. Drive-ins were a big deal. We would get dressed in pajamas and bring blankets and pillows and fill up my dad’s station wagon. Back then the cars were so big we could have fitted in our bunk beds, but never did. The last time we went was in the summer of 1963 and saw “Snow White.” My dad ran us better than a train schedule and we arrived early. We got the snacks and all settled in. And then the X-rated movie began. There were eight dwarfs instead of the expected seven and they were up to mischief. I didn’t see much of it through the blanket Mom threw over us, as Dad did a rendition of a movie yet to be released “Fast and Furious.”

In the hubbub to save our innocence, Dad drove off with the speaker. I clearly remember thinking how can I still be hearing panting from a speaker torn from its plug. Looking back, the sound my dad could not out drive was probably coming from the hundred other speakers still plugged in at the drive-in. Yes, I still have that speaker. Someday, I hope to salvage a 1963 American Motors station wagon driver’s door to hook it up to. Then I’ll sit back and watch “Snow White & the __ Dwarfs.” You pick the number.



Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago. He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.” His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.

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