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Thursday, 14 January 2010


The comment I also posted at The Lens:

"Nice work, Carl! These scenes echo ghosts of their heritage, all the wonderful evenings spent gazing at the screens...or ignoring the screens in favor of other entertainment, as the case may have been. All gone. All gone. Forever."

As I commented on "The Lens":

Seeing these institutions, landmarks of the American way of life, now in their decaying state certainly creates feelings of melancholy--even for an European, knowing the fun of drive-in theaters as described by Ken Tanaka only from literature or movies.

But as so often, this melancholy comes with gratitude for the quiet, unobtrusive beauty these buildings now offer in their decay. And this gratitude has to be extended to Carl Weese for delicately capturing this passing beauty and preserving it as part of a cultural heritage.

7x17, as in, inches? Amazing. I thought 8x10 was the largest other than those huge honkin polaroids. Just showing my youth I guess.

I want a 7x17 sensor.


Please, try to convince CW to present here a Pt/PD print offer, as you've done many years ago at Phototechniques.
What an offer was that!!!

I'm sure the closure of so many drive-in movie theatres is connected to the declining birth rate!

I love these photographs. I would really love to see the original prints, full size. I find this recording of the traces of our popular culture history to be so important, and photography is so right for it.

Thanks Carl, very much. I'm sure future generations will be grateful, too.

Hey Carl, I want to thank you for making these images, for taking the time to find these places, and giving us memories from places we may never visit and times we cannot go back to. The beauty of each scene is made transcendent by the obvious affection you have about what you are looking at. Wonderful work, as always.

Thanks, Ken. One thing that was hard to get across in the limited space was that while 90% of the 5000 DI theaters of the 50s are gone, there are still nearly 500 left, something like 1300 screens lit up every summer night. But they can't remain where property values make it impossible to run a low-margin, part-time business that takes a minimum 15 acres of land. Out where land is still cheap, DI theaters with a good food concession still thrive.

"Mike Please, try to convince CW to present here a Pt/PD print offer, as you've done many years ago at Phototechniques. What an offer was that!!!"

I'll work on that....


"7x17, as in, inches?"

Right. I'll get Carl to tell us about his banquet camera sometime when he doesn't have a lot else to do.


I don't know why I thought this, but I would have bet a dollar that Carl was a big burly guy with a beard. Time to revise my stereotypes ;-)

He actually is pretty tall...I would guess 6'5" or so. Although I'm in regular contact with Carl, that picture made me realize it's been quite a long time since I've seen him in person. I still picture him with long hair, and more of it!

I have a portrait I made of him around here somewhere, but it's in my workprints, and I can't find it. I don't have all my old workprints organized, and it's impossible to look through all of them.


That's what it's all about: the drive-ins live on. Wish it was my idea.

Congrats to Carl Weese!

I love it. It's wonderful when art also serves as a repository for history. A few of my fondest memories from my high school years occurred at the drive in theater on San Antonio's north side. Carl's images evoked so much good stuff. I need to take the family to a drive in so my son, Ben can see one before they are all gone!

Thanks for the treat.


Clap Clap Clap...

Bravo Carl.

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments. As I've also just noted in the comments at Lens, Texas is right at the top of my itinerary for a big road trip to complete the project. There are also wonderful theaters still remaining in Kansas and Oklahoma and the length of the west coast.

As for the idea of a book. As my grandmother would have said, "from your lips to God's ear."

I was just wishing to see more CT drive ins when I saw the link to Carl's website in the article. I've been to the Skyvue and the Pleasant Valley drive in (back when it was Rogers Corner). Carl, I see your drive in photos were on exhibit in Washington CT back in 2007 ... any plans for upcoming exhibits ? Or a possible book ?

Nice feature. Brought on flashbacks of those summertime dusk-to-dawn road-flick marathons at the Duwamish Drive-In. "Vanishing Point" (the original), "Two Lane Blacktop" (James Taylor says he avoids cable TV because that one might be on a channel), and another one whose name I can't remember, starring Michael Pollard.

How about that architecture at the entrance to the Council Bluffs drive-in? I wanna put one of those outside my 1870 New England home...just to confuse my neighbors.

I love the images at the NYT blog. I love that they recognized Carl's genius and dedication in doing this work that is unique. But I've seen many of them first hand at Carl's house, and I could stare at them for hours each. We'll all have to work on him to do the print offer. I'm in! Congratulations, Carl.

A real labor of love. The article mentions the transition by Mr. Weese from platinum to monochrome pigment digital... exposition of said metamorphosis would be something I would very much like to see on TOP.

Chuck A.,
But WHY does James Taylor want to avoid "Two-Lane Blacktop"? Because he loves it, or because he hates it?


He hates it. It wasn't exactly the apogee of his acting career (or maybe it was). His delivery of his lines always seemed to be a half-second late.

I enjoyed seeing these photographs of the drive-ins. The compositions are very captivating. I grew up in Powell, Wyo. I spent many hours in the drive-in with my family as a child and with girlfriends as a teenager. On Thursdays the admission was $1 per car! The problem with the picture captioned "Powell, Wyo." is that that theater is actually 30 miles west in Cody, Wyo. The drive-in in Powell faces the highway. The one in Cody faces away from the highway. I went to movies at both venues. They are both still being used.

Larry, as at LENS, thanks for the correction on the Park. My information is that it is gone now (I shot it in 2002) but there are conflicting reports whether it was demolished or dismantled and moved. On that trip I also shot The Vali drive-in at Powell. I just remembered something about that. At the ticket window there was a sign printed on a sheet of letter-size paper. It said:


Carload pricing means a single price for the car, no matter how many people are in it. It used to be more popular but theater owners I spoke with think it's a great way to fill up a theater on slow weeknights, but also a great way to attract a rowdy crowd. I guess that's so in Wyoming.

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