I suppose arriving at this Drive In doesn’t look too special, but to go back there on a hot July 1955 day a fan would likely pay any cost. Yet in the fashion of what makes budding youth so dear, something passed in a single day which no price would ever have the power to return.
Co-owner of the Joy Drive -In John Cobb saw a certain act while attending a regular venue motivating him enough to see if he could use it to boost his own business. After some discussion and for $25 a show, he was able to book a weekend programming draw for 2 nights. In anticipation for the promotion, he borrowed a flatbed truck from a local feed store using it as a makeshift stage right there next to the snack bar.
And so set the course for the first evening. If you didn’t like the “the Blue Moon Boys” then you still could look forward to a memorable film such as Murder is my Beat. But I doubt a single person complained. Unless that is you planned on attending the second night, which never happened. The evening snatched away one of its own and to see that star there again would be only on the silver screen.
If the special feature is starting to look like the Pacific Drive In Theatre hour there’s good reason….
Variety in need of repair
So tonight ahead of schedule, we have the multi-faceted Ira Cook. Talent talent talent- it always amazes when people like Ira hold it ace high. Hailing from Duluth MN, he studied at Stanford, graduating with a medical degree. Mr. Cook takes a draw from the deck and decides to move to Los Angeles. There he starts at KMTR as a record librarian and part time announcer. He served his country when WWII called collect, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge also serving as an Armed Forces Radio announcer, later again into the 1960s. Because of his interest in broadcasting, he got back into commercial radio right after the war. 1949 began a long 16 year career at KMPC which took him through the heady days of the 1950’s music era.
In 1957 when the DJ pay for play scandal erupted Ira made the following comment, “It’s safer than stealing, more legal than gambling, easier than loafing, and it beats working!” Although a great comment Ira’s actions are that of a working man. He was a big promoter of Hawaiian music and brought Don Ho over to the mainland USA.
He also was doing a show called “Lunch with the Stars”, and wrote a book called “Cook with the Stars”. He composed music and co-wrote songs. As an actor he had bits in movies and on television shows.
Ira’s statement and reason for retirement in the 1980s “The music really turned bad” is classic. Let’s go further back to check the virtues of this March 23 to April 5th 1955 lyrical lineup, another Pacific Drive In Theatre pre show and intermission recording.
If you have a nostalgic eye on the 80’s, here’s a double jeopardy. Ozoners were freshly declining at an exponential rate, and this 1987 video cassette contemplates what will become of the “only” 1000 remaining drive ins, how the VCR would soon likely change that number to zero.
Directed by Tim Ferrante on a shoe string budget (www.timferrante.com/drive-inmadness.php) it includes great recollections of 1960s and 70s B pictures played against a balance of 1980s movie magic. Yet viewed today it reveals how those eras were not so far removed after all.
The film includes James Karen, Linnea Quigley, Russell Streiner, John Russo, Samuel M. Sherman, Bobbie Bresee, ( bringing up Mausoleum and the good old drive in days of a whopping 4 years earlier. Not recommended is her drive in etiquette) Forrest Ackerman, George Romero, and Tom Savini, all telling tales geared towards exploitation, skin, and horror flicks. Which means quite a bit of blood, gore, and R ratings all around for those who wish not attend.