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  Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
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   Author  Topic: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature  (Read 2582 times)
michigandriveins
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Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Thread started on: Apr 9th, 2006, 1:42pm »

With all that's going on the 56-yr old Getty Drive-In, it brings up the subject of other drive-in screens surviving the elements and standing the test of time. Apparently, some screens were built better than others? Here's some others that lost to Mother Nature. The Caro Drive-In also went down in a 1985 storm, no pics yet.

The 7-year old Paul Bunyan in Hubbard Lake, MI after a 1956 tornado.........



The 9-year old Lakes in Lake Linden, MI after a 1966 wind storm.........



The 29-yr old Ecorse in Taylor, MI after a 1980 F2 Twister......




The 31-yr old Lakes in Brighton, MI after a 1982 storm......




The 49-yr old Hi-Way in Sandusky, MI after a 1996 storm......




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steelbeard1
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #1 on: Apr 9th, 2006, 10:49pm »

My next Flinn's Journal in http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com will be about "Mortal Screen Towers" which talk about built-up screen towers which were destroyed by fire or storms, most of which were replaced--but one, the Caro DI in Caro closed instead because the owner couldn't afford a replacement screen tower and put the site for sale. Of course, it became a Wal-Mart. Of course, the US-23 Twin DI will be well-represented. I'm still awaiting word about the rebuilding of the Getty DI's original screen tower. Rumors are that a new screen surface will be mounted on the original steel tower framework. Once I get confirmation that new screen construction has begun with the building material confirmed from Muskegon will I write the column.
« Last Edit: Apr 9th, 2006, 10:49pm by steelbeard1 » Logged

michigandriveins
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #2 on: Apr 10th, 2006, 12:00pm »

on Apr 9th, 2006, 10:49pm, steelbeard1 wrote:
My next Flinn's Journal in http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com will be about "Mortal Screen Towers" which talk about built-up screen towers which were destroyed by fire or storms, most of which were replaced--but one, the Caro DI in Caro closed instead because the owner couldn't afford a replacement screen tower and put the site for sale. Of course, it became a Wal-Mart. Of course, the US-23 Twin DI will be well-represented. I'm still awaiting word about the rebuilding of the Getty DI's original screen tower. Rumors are that a new screen surface will be mounted on the original steel tower framework. Once I get confirmation that new screen construction has begun with the building material confirmed from Muskegon will I write the column.


Do you have any Caro photos that I don't?!
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steelbeard1
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #3 on: Apr 10th, 2006, 9:49pm »

on Apr 10th, 2006, 12:00pm, michigandriveins wrote:
Do you have any Caro photos that I don't?!


Unfortunately no.
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michigandriveins
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #4 on: Apr 10th, 2006, 9:53pm »

Gary, do you know the date the storm hit the Caro, and do you already have a newspaper article that may have covered this back then?
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steelbeard1
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #5 on: Apr 10th, 2006, 10:02pm »

on Apr 10th, 2006, 9:53pm, michigandriveins wrote:
Gary, do you know the date the storm hit the Caro, and do you already have a newspaper article that may have covered this back then?


It wasn't covered in the Flint Journal. I do recall that it was around 1985 and I heard it in a news report on a local radio station. IIRC, it occured while the DI was open. I passed by it the following summer and it looked normal but with no screen tower and a for sale sign out front. It looked like it was ready to run if it had a screen tower in place. You could ask the local newspaper, the Tuscola County Advertiser. Its URL is http://www.tcadvertiser.com/
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #6 on: Apr 13th, 2006, 11:36am »

Here is a ton o' info on the Caro Drive-in, and it's demise.

The infamous Joe Bob Briggs included a piece on the Caro DIT in his "Advice to the Hopeless" column of December 4 1992. (it can be found unedited at: http://www.joebobbriggs.com/drivein/1992/beyondjustice.htm). Here is the edited version:

"Bureaucrat Alert! The screen of the Caro Drive-In, on M-81 in Caro, Mich., got destroyed in a tornado last year, and the management decided not to rebuild, since everybody started going to the Caro indoor theater, which is owned by the same people. It gets worse. Now the Caro Village Council wants to annex the drive-in land, in the hopes of attracting the enemy of drive-ins everywhere: Wal-Mart! Dennis A. Luettke of Cass City, who saw "The Wild Angels" at the Caro in 1965, reminds us that, without eternal vigilance, it can happen here."

Also:

"I enclose an article about the fate of the Caro Drive-In (Caro, Mich.) from the daily news. The lot where it stood before a tornado took the screen down is going to support a department store. The drive-in won't be rebuilt."

Based on these two articles the "tornado" happened in 1991. I have not located the article mentioned (It did not appear in the Cass City Chronicle).

The Caro Drive-In's last ad in the Cass City Chronicle appeared on July 22, 1987 (a double feature of "The Untouchables" and "Crocodile Dundee"), The ad says that coming soon were "Robocop" and that art-film classic "Jaws: the Revenge."

The Caro DIT may have just stopped advertising in the Cass City Chronicle, but we can assume that 1987 was it's last year in operation.

No tornados were recorded by NOAA between 1984 and 1998, but several "T-storm winds" were. Check out these links:

http://www.tornadoproject.com/alltorns/mitorn.htm
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dtx/tustor.php
http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwEvent~Storms~MI~Tuscola

So it wasn't even an lowly F0 tornado that took out the Caro's screen, well at least not officially. If anyone out there has access to the Caro newspaper (the Library of Michigan has the Tuscola County Advertiser up to 1951 and starting again in 1997) maybe the dates in the links from the NOAA will help us find out the exact date the tower fell.

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michigandriveins
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #7 on: Apr 13th, 2006, 4:10pm »

Wow, that is a ton'o info! I guess that 1985 date was way off. Well, I had planned on hitting your library this weekend, I guess I won't need to now! Maybe a trip to Caro is in order? hmmmmm

Here's what I found at the Caro library site.........

Collection Name: Tuscola County Advertiser Collection
Size: 124 microfilm rolls, 66 bound volumes, 800+ loose issues.
Donor: Tuscola County Advertiser
Restrictions: Print versions are not available to the general public.

3. MICROFILM, 1868-2002. 124 rolls. Microfilm of the Tuscola County Advertiser, beginning with the 21 August 1868 issue, through the 7 September, 2002 issue. There are some gaps in the collection, most notably all of 1943, and several gaps prior to 1900. Microfilm and reader are available for in-library use by patrons holding a Caro library card in good standing.


http://main.carolibrary.org/archives/Advertiser%20FA.html
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michigandriveins
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #8 on: Apr 16th, 2006, 08:58am »

Well, it wasn't 1985 and it wasn't 1991. The Caro went down July 20th, 1987. What a friggin' chore it was to find that date! First, I looked at the movie ads in the Tuscola County Advertiser on microfilm for Wednesday, July 22nd, 1987, yup the Caro was there, still open. (Two days AFTER the demo and the ad was still ran!) Then I looked ahead a couple of weeks, and no ads were found. So, next I looked at ALL 52 issues for 1991, assuming "Joe-Bob" was correct, and found nothing. I did find several articles relating to Walmert coming to town. My son was getting really bored and wanted to go, but I told him we'd look just a little longer. So I let him take over and look thru the 1990 issues, I offered him a $20 bribe if could find the article. (glad I didn't offer $100!)

The librarian there was very nice and helpful and she remembered the "tornado" knocking the Caro down, she didn't remember exactly when. I told her I was thinking it closed in 1987 and got tornado'd in 1991, and I asked her if she remembered the drive-in sitting for awhile between the closing and the tornado, she said YES.......ah not quite. She couldn't help me much with the 1920's-era steam-powered pile of sh!t microfilm viewer they had. It might as well have been written in Chinese, I could barely read anything, the focus was all screwed up and it wouldn't print, the cartridge was dried up and they couldn't replace it for some reason. They really need to pitch that pos in the dumpster, I'd be happy to help them with that task! The resulting photo pretty much sucks too, it's the best I could manage by taking a digital photo of the article while it was up on the viewer screen. I'm now thinking maybe I need to try dragging a slide scanner and laptop down to the library and trying to scan the microfilm instead of the hillbilly method I have been using.

As we looked thru 1990, the clue we needed finally popped up, an article on the Ashmun bros getting out of the movie business. It stated the Caro DI was demo'd THREE years earlier. It also stated the Ashmuns saying their DI would still be open if it hadn't been blown down. So, back to the 1987 film we go, and we looked at the July issues a little closer. Bingo, the article was found in the July 22nd issue, the very first one we looked at for the ad, geez! That's two (wasted) hours of my life I'm never getting back.

So, that bit 'o info only cost me $20 for my son, a $35 tank of gas, $15 for Halo Burgers (yummmm), $15 for two tickets to Scary Movie 4 at the Miracle Twin on the way home, and $13 for a jumbo Mt Dew, a cheeseburger, cheese sticks, and a bag of Twizzlers at the snack bar. Priceless. lol


Here's the text of the article....................


MOVIE MECCA “GONE WITH THE WIND”
In a whirl of dust, the 38-year old screen at the Caro Drive-In on M-81 northeast of the village came crashing down about 7:30 p.m. Monday. Severe thunderstorm warnings were in effect when passers-by stopped to stare as high winds toppled the huge screen. The drive-in, owned by Peggy and Richard Ashmun, was the last theater of it’s kind in Tuscola County. “We had a lot of good movies lined up” said Richard Ashmun. “We’ve had some extensive fence damage before, but nothing like this. There are 75- and 100-year old trees out there that blew down too. Ashmun said they have been having a good summer, but wasn’t sure if they would rebuild. “A new drive-in screen costs $40,000, with only six or seven weeks left in the season, I don’t know if it’s worth it” Ashmun said. “The insurance won’t necessarily cover costs.” The Ashmun brothers have been in the movie business for 53 years. They also own the Strand Theater in Caro, and the (M-53) drive-in in Bad Axe. Fortunately, Ashmun added, they could switch movies from the drive-in schedule to the Strand Theater. (Tuscola County Advertiser 7-22-87)


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michigandriveins
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #9 on: Apr 21st, 2006, 1:37pm »

Gary, here's a couple more for your story.......

1968 NEWS ARTICLE: Wind Topples One Screen At Grand Rapids Cascade - One of the screens at the Cascade Twin Drive-In, under construction for Redstone Theatres at Grand Rapids, was blown over by high winds. A construction spokesman attributed the disaster to the accumulation of wind pressure by the bowed construction of the tower, functioning much like a sail. The theatre was planned for a November opening but this loss is expected to delay the opening of at least one unit for several months. (Box Office Magazine - September 2, 1968) http://www.michigandriveins.com/detail.asp?id=38

According to Drive-In.com, the Fort George Drive-In screen was also damaged by a windstorm in 1990, which resulted in it's closing. And it was demo'ed in 1991. I haven't verified any of this yet. http://www.michigandriveins.com/detail.asp?id=86

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steelbeard1
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #10 on: Apr 24th, 2006, 1:38pm »

The new column is up at http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com/flinn.asp
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #11 on: Aug 9th, 2006, 09:30am »

It seems that the old Coldwater DI was destroyed by a tornado resulting in the screen being found on US-27. See the entry here:

http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com/location.asp?ID=227&type=1

This poster also claims the origin of the 2nd screen at the Capri was the 2nd screen at the Dearborn DI. It was always known that screen 2 came from the Detroit area, but the exact location was not known. The other myth this puts to rest is that the opening of the Capri is what caused the old Coldwater DI to shut down, evidently the tornado did the job...
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #12 on: Aug 10th, 2006, 12:45pm »

Re: The Coldwater Drive-In...

It doesn't add up.

Yes, there was a major tornado (F4) on April 11, 1965 which caused lots of death and destruction (This was the same tornado system which leveled the Devil's Lake Drive-In Church) which COULD have knocked the screen down (it's not specifically mentioned in the Coldwater Daily Reporter)...

But

The tornado (actually there were two tornadoes) struck between 7 and 8pm well before the Coldwater even opened its gates.

And

The Coldwater DIT had it season re-opening on April 23, 1965 (The Capri had it's season opening on April 30, 1965)

And

"Night of the Living Dead" didn't have it's premiere until October 1, 1968.

Finally

At least as far as I can tell, the Coldwater showed it's final film on August 27, 1967. The only other tornado in Branch County (according to the National Weather Service NOAA) was on April 15, 1969.

The Coldwater (which opened in 1949) was "Under New Management" starting July 13, 1967 and was only open weekends during the 1967 season. Prior years, like 1965 have the ads connected with the Main theater in Coldwater, but I don't know for sure if they had the same owners.

All for now.

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michigandriveins
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Re: Drive-In's vs. Mother Nature
« Reply #13 on: Aug 12th, 2006, 8:21pm »

The Coldwater twister story is bullsh!t, even Tom Magocs says so!! Just who is this Chester Pearson joker anyways?? LOL

Seriously, Tom says the Coldwater screen was still standing in 1968. And he has NO clue which Detroit-area drive-in his second screen came from, I've asked him a dozen times. He gets sick of hearing about this stuff. The Dearborn is a possibilty, given the date it closed and it was a Shafer joint. Maybe someone from the Ford-Wyoming can answer that question.
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