Last week the Greater Dandenong Leader of suburban Melbourne, Australia ran a nice article about a new sign at the Lunar Drive-In there. The “retro-style” sign stands in front of the box office, lighting one letter at a time then finishing with a burst of faux rocket flame. You can watch it here.
Co-owner David Kilderry told the newspaper his brother Matthew wanted a sign reminiscent of movie theatres in the ‘50s and ‘60s to replace “the boring old sign that we used to have.”
The article frequently mentions “neon”, but this stuff sounds like the LEDs that San Antonio used to restore the lit mural at the former Mission Drive-In there. Rick Ruitenbach of Icon Creations said, This is new-age neon. Traditional neon is blown glass filled with gas but our signs are LED lookalikes which are more environmentally responsible and economical to run.”
The Lunar, already Australia’s largest drive-in at four screens, is planning to expand later this year after a record-setting season. Glad they could afford such a nifty sign.
We don’t talk much about drive-ins from other lands because, well, it’s just too hard to drive over to most of them. But when a dead drive-in reopens, even for a while, that’s some serious good news to share.
This story is about the determination of a 12-year-old to see a drive-in movie at the old abandoned theater in his town. It’s not important that the town is Dubbo, about 240 miles northwest of Sydney, Australia. According to the Daily Liberal, young Phoenix Aubusson-Foley decided in 2015 to tell the Dubbo Youth Council to push to reopen the old Westview Drive-In, which had closed in 1984. The DYC endorsed the idea, then got the Dubbo Regional Council on board, and this April will see a real projector flinging movies at the screen for the first time in almost 33 years.
The reopening is only scheduled for one weekend as part of a National Youth Week Program, but I’m thinking that once folks around there see what fun it is, they’ll figure out ways to have more and more weekends until the Westview reopens for good. I will admit that they need to fix the sign.
There are a lot more heart-warming details, a better version of the photo I thumbnailed here, and links to more stories about that drive-in’s history. You know you need to go check it out!
Here’s a wonderful little story from ABC, the Australian Broadcast Corporation. The tiny Queensland town of Jericho (population 370) has an even tinier drive-in (36 cars), which has stayed in operation since 1969. Like drive-ins everywhere, it needed to upgrade to a digital projection system to continue showing Hollywood’s finest films. Unlike most other drive-ins, the Jericho got its town council and state government to chip in, and it’s doing great with the new equipment.
I just love what Queensland Minister for Local Government David Crisafulli said about the importance of keeping the drive-in alive. “It stacks up not just from a tourism point of view to have something like this in western Queensland,” Crisafulli said, “but for what it does for the social infrastructure of this town. It’s a point of difference. Not only can they market that to their economic advantage, but also they can proudly say they’re a town where people still matter.”
The only downside of the ABC’s video report is that I can’t embed it here. To see what a tiny Australian drive-in looks like, you’ll have to give it a click!