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shadetree77

Drive-In Movie Speaker

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My Dad and I were browsing through an antique store the other day looking for some "man-tiques" to add to our garage and I came across this. It's a drive-in movie theatre speaker from the 50's. It's made by a company called Eprad out of Toledo, Ohio. I mentioned to my Dad that it would be cool to hang this outside our Buick on a pole at a car show(when we make it to one). I have never seen one used like this at a car show but after buying the speaker and bringing it home I see on the internet that this is far from an original idea! Nevertheless, I think it's cool and I have some plans for it too. I took it apart to check it out. No easy task by the way. Eprad used a now-obsolete anti-theft screw on these called a "gulmite" screw. They don't make the tools to remove them anymore. Not affordably anyway. The top one came out with needle nose pliars and lots of penentrating oil. The bottom one required a drill bit though! I popped it open to find what I believe to be original parts. There was even a quick-fix that someone put in there to keep the speaker from rattling. It consisted of a folded piece of cardboard and electrical tape sandwiched between speaker and back plate. I can just see some drive-in maintenance guy way back in the day going around and servicing 100+ speakers at a drive-in and sticking this in there to stop speaker rattle. You can also see that this speaker wiring also had the steel cable hidden inside the wire casing that was famous for busting out many a window back then from what Dad tells me. So anyway, I'm planning on buying a cheap set of computer speakers and replacing the drive-in speaker guts with the computer speaker guts. That way, when I go to a show and I have a couple drive-in speakers hanging on a pole next to the car, I can plug the 3.5 mm headphone jack into my laptop or ipod and play a little music out of them. I just need to buy a matching speaker and a junction box/hanger. Then build a base and pole.

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Edited by shadetree77 (see edit history)

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Fond memories of by gone days... thanks for sharing, thats pretty cool. They were built pretty good as my Dad's 72 Pontiac could attest to. Yup, forgot it was there, didn't bust the window but put one hell of a scratch in it.

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Just another idea...

You could use an old flashlight mounted inside the pole for power and put a matchbook sized mp3 player inside the speaker housing. Then rig buttons to change tracks and sound....

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I can't resist a comment here.

MMMMMM the Drive Inn.

It's a good thing they didn't have Web-cams in the speakers back then.:):):):)

The ol' Drive Inn in Ames is now a Mini-storage building.:(:(:(:(

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Here you go Rick....this one's for you.

<iframe src="http://www.archive.org/embed/AnnoucForYoungLovers" width="640" frameborder="0" height="480"></iframe>

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Robert; I got my speaker from the TRANSIT DRIVE IN out of LOCKPORT NY. they have a neat website,and are still going at it today.they did the switch to fm radio in the 80's and are selling the drive in speaker by single[around $30.00] or double with the pole[around $60.00].They were boxed and put in heated storage all these years,mine was like new,and works good!! they might still be on e-bay.

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Thanks 55, I've been looking for some more of these at reasonable prices. I'd like to make some stuff out of them. I sent an email to the Transit Drive In. I didn't see any from them on ebay. Hopefully, he still has some. Thanks again!

Here's a few videos to bring back some memories. Enjoy!

<iframe src="http://www.archive.org/embed/Drive-inGoodnight-replaceSpeaker2" width="640" height="480" frameborder="0"></iframe>

<iframe src="http://www.archive.org/embed/Intermission6bw" width="640" height="480" frameborder="0"></iframe>

<iframe src="http://www.archive.org/embed/Drive-inIntermission2" width="640" height="480" frameborder="0"></iframe>

Edited by shadetree77 (see edit history)

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I remember going to our local drive in and seeing, "The Love Bug" movies. Also "Bed Knobs and Broom Sticks", and others that I don't recall right now. Sadly, on a windy day in the early 90's the screen went down and that ended the Sunset Drive in. The snack bar had Pizza back in the mid to late 60's, and it was the first time I remember having it. After all these years, I can still smell and taste it. And also hear the sound comming from that window speaker which crackled after it rained. You could sometimes see lovers in the cars ahead of us necking and we use to laugh. :D Thanks for the memories. :) I think the speaker idea at a car show is cool. :cool: Dandy Dave!

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Robert nothing opening when I click the box.

Some may remember the jingle.

"Let's all go to the Snack bar"

With the cartoon of the Soft Drink Cup and the Popcorn Box dancing.

Followed by .........

"7 Minutes till SHOWTIME"

Then .......

"6 Minutes till SHOWTIME"

Then let friends out of trunk!!

This may be a topic for a new thread. Movies I saw at the Drive Inn.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (11 times)

Midnight Cowboy

The Graduate

Kelley's Heroes

The War Wagon

True Grit

Night of the Grizzly (what ever happened to Clint Walker?)

The Ugly Dachshund

Swiss Family Robinson

Creature from The Black Lagoon (Late Late Feature)

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I spent way too much time at the TRAIL Drive In which was within a stone's throw of where our shop is now located. Dad advertised his tire biz there so he always had a thick pad of passes. We even bought a '28 Model AA Ford truck that was boarded up inside one end of the movie screen. As the drive-in craze faded the owners transitioned to X rated films just so they could stay in business and care for their paraplegic son. They lived in an apartment under one end of the screen. One night they showed The Ten Commandments followed by an X rated feature (I hear). Another night it got so foggy you couldn't see the screen. The owner came on the speaker and offered everyone their money back. Strangely almost no one left. My 28 year old son doesn't want to believe me when I tell him how the drive ins were open 7 nights a week in the Summer and if you didn't get there early you were out of luck. Noted Packard expert Ed Blend, now deceased, worked as a "surveyor" travelling the East scoping out likely locations for drive ins...finding a number of Packards along the way.

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I remember checking into a Holiday Inn in PA that had chairs near the elevators. Later that evening, I learned there was a drive-in screen with X rated films that could be seen from the hall near the elevators on the upper floors.

I think they charged extra for those rooms....

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Anyway back on topic.

I always wanted to buy some to hang out on the patio, but had thought there would be sound quality concerns.

A great idea for car shows Robert.

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Robert nothing opening when I click the box.

Hmmm...don't know why that would be. Anybody else having trouble? What kind of device are you using Rick? It might not work on a phone, tablet, ipad, etc. Try going directly to the source at the link below. It's a listing of over 150 drive-in clips. Intermissions, commercials, etc. They are public domain too so you can download all you want legally. I downloaded them all and weeded out the ones I didn't want. I'm going to rip the audio off of them and when I'm at a show with my speakers hooked up to my laptop I'm going to make a playlist of all of them to play through my speakers. Hope you get them to work. There are a lot of cool shots of old cars mixed in with the clips. As for the sound quality issues, all you need to do is take apart any speakers you already have or buy some new ones and put the guts into the drive-in speaker box. A lot of people do this. One cool idea I saw was to do this with the rear surround sound speakers on a home entertainment system. You can also make nightlights/lamps, ipod docks, even wire them up to you car stereo.

Internet Archive Search: collectiondriveInMovieAds

The ol' Drive Inn in Ames is now a Mini-storage building.

Check this out Rick. Found this on EBAY if you're interested. Claims to be from the Ranch Theatre in Ames, Iowa.

Drive In Speaker RANCH THEATRE AMES IOWA, ISU LOOKS & WORKS GREAT! Last one! | eBay

Edited by shadetree77 (see edit history)

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Who can forget "dusk to dawn" movies. My brother would show up in a 1962 chevy biscayne by himself,pay and get in,then in an obscure area of the lot the rear seat back cushion flipped down,5 heads popped up.Was one of his inventions!!The thing had a big trunk.Then i heard about the time on one of the rare occassions my dad took us to see the movie "THEM"it's about giant ants in some nuclear testing ground,well part way in the movie it poured BUCKETS,and BUCKETS!!they shut the movie down,it was raining so hard,i was very small but my mother always laughed when she told the story,and that all my dad said was the last*%%&!##@$%&&%$@#&**()&%%$# i'm ever going to!!! He stuck to his word,Dad's been gone 20yrs,Mom went christmas day 3 yrs ago,GOD BLESS THEM BOTH,I'm still laughing about this as i write. MARK P.S. there was at the time 7 kids for a total of 9 in the station wagon.

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This may be a topic for a new thread. Movies I saw at the Drive Inn.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (11 times)

Midnight Cowboy

The Graduate

Kelley's Heroes

The War Wagon

True Grit

Night of the Grizzly (what ever happened to Clint Walker?)

The Ugly Dachshund

Swiss Family Robinson

Creature from The Black Lagoon (Late Late Feature)

You really watched the movies...............:eek::eek::confused:

For me it was a place to go parking without getting thrown out.

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There are two drive inn theatres still in operation close enough to us to drive the old cars to. We try to MMS it to one every year and have never driven anything made after 1970. One is in Luverne Mn and the other is in Mitchell SD. We have never made it to Luverne, it seems that when we go the show we want to see is always in Mitchell (yes the home of the world famous corn palace). They still offer several spots with speakers to hang from the window for those of us with am radios and also have the fm transmitter. We alway take a couple lawn chairs and blankets plenty of bug spray. They even wash your windshield for you as you pull in.

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"You really watched the movies...............

For me it was a place to go parking without getting thrown out".

__________________

Bob

I just saw the 1st half ;).

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We still have a drive in here in Wichita, it very busy in the summer. Two screens, the hump to park on, the speakers in the poles but you can tune your car radio to a position on the dial to play on the car speakers. I can remember my dad talking about sending heat into the car in the fall and winter so they could keep the drive in opened later in the year. He said that they problem with the heat is that it was a pipe running under ground and there were issues with mice getting into the car from the heat duct work.

Cant think that would make me want to return to the drive in.

We still do a car cruise to the drive in in October and they show films like Thunder Road, American Graffitti, Grease, and several others. Always a good time.

Dont have to sneak folks in the trunk any more they got smart and started charging by the car load...22 guys in a VW aint bad

Chuck Kerls

Edited by Booreatta (see edit history)

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Anyway back on topic.

I always wanted to buy some to hang out on the patio, but had thought there would be sound quality concerns.

A great idea for car shows Robert.

Shouldn't be much of a big deal to replace the speakers. I'd be willing to bet that after all the years since that type of speakers were used the cones would be shot in 99% of them. Anyway the impedance would probably be wrong for any modern sound system. Buy them for the look and re-work.

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During the season, the Boulevard Drive-in Theater still operates in Kansas City, KS.

No need to worry about the sound coming from the pole speaker nowdays. The sound is digitally broadcast to your car's radio on 89.7 FM. Quite effective if you have a 6 or 8 speaker system in your car with an equalizer and a subwoofer. Same effect as sitting in a theater with dolby surround.

That's now. But, I'm with Rick. Who watched the movies?

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)

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Lots of good old stories. We used to drive in through the exits, with the aid of a brick or two, which would be sandwiched up to the wrong way tire spikes. This would allow us to drive over the spikes and into the drive in. One of the times, we did this and it started to rain, so we went to the "Good Old Snack Bar" and got rain checks. What a deal!

One time I snuck in 10 or so people in a camper van, and all they did was lay on the floor. The cashier didn't even bother to ask or check for other people in the van and I paid for one, and was on my way. The trunk thing worked too!

One of my brother's friends tried to drive off with the speaker still in the window, and ended up pulling the pole out of the ground and still had to give up, as the cable was so strong it would not break.

BTW: I believe the sound system in the driveins were like PA systems in stores. They used 70.7 Volt signals to send the sound out to the speakers, and then the speaker would have a transformer to reduce the signal down to speaker impedance.

So if you are trying to hook one up using the original cable you might have a problem. Unless you have the 70.7V sound source.

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