Saturday, June 16, 2007

Born to Lose

I was flipping channels on the radio in my truck when I came across Ray Charles singing "Born To Lose." I always drift back in time on the melody of that song to the Sumiton Drive-inn Theater.
When I was young, Dora or Sumiton was not a hot bed of culture or excitement. There was a small bowling alley, a skating rink, some go cart tracks, and a drive-inn theater.
I think the only music they had then was the Ray Charles record and they played it before the movie started and during intermission.

Born to lose, I've lived my life in vain
Every dream has only brought me pain All my life I've always been so blue Born to lose and now I'm losing you.

We saw a lot of movies at that old drive in. Dad could load up the whole family in the back of the old Buick - actually he could have loaded up the entire community in the back of that old Buick - and head out to the theater. The theater had about ten or 15 rows and the parking area was tiered so that each row was a little higher that the one in front of it. this allowed everyone to have a good unobstructed view of the screen. On each row were steel posts with a low fidelity speaker attached. In the summertime you'd roll down your window and hang the little speaker on the inside so that everyone in the car could hear.
My dad was partial to westerns so we saw a bunch of them but we also saw Thunder Road with Robert Mitchum....actually we probably saw that one about five times. We loved that movie because it was about bootleggers driving whiskey at high rates of speed. We also saw the movie 2000 Maniacs. It was a quaint little feature film from 1964 about a small town in the south that was celebrating a centennial. Part of the celebration entailed luring Yankees into town and murdered them in retaliation for how the south was treated during the civil war. I'm sure this film alone halted the southerly migration of people from the north. "No Margaret, we're not going to Florida because we'd have to go through Tennessee, Georgia or Alabama to get there and those rednecks would slaughter us like pigs!!!!"
We also went to see a double feature that I will never forget. It was God's Little Acre and THE INTERNS. In God's Little Acre was adapted from a book by Erskine Caldwell and I can remember the character cussed like sailors. The Interns was the first pornographic movie I had ever seen. I guess dad hadn't read the info on the films but he didn't want to waste his money so we stayed and watched.
The definition of porn was a little different then. What pushed THE INTERNS over the top was that it showed a nurse in her bra and panties. It changed my life forever.
Most of the old drive-inns are gone the way of 45 records and 8 track tapes. There are still some around but they are few and far between. I'm not sure what caused the demise of most of the old drive-inns. I guess people prefer more modern amenities like air conditioning and seats that are somewhat more comfortable than those in an old Buick. But every now and then when I get a whiff of hot buttered popcorn, I find myself wishing I could watch Thunder Road on a screen the size of basketball court and during intermission, listen to Ray Charles sing "Born to Lose" on tinny speakers.

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes, the smell of hot buttered popcorn mingled with the sound of a car full of buzzing mosquitoes. Brings back lots of memories. Ain't nostalgia wonderful!


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