I’m gonna confess to a particular kind of geekiness here. As a pre-teen and young teen, I was a huge fan of monster and science fiction movies and TV shows. (That’s not the geekiness I’m confessing to. In a world where superhero movies dominate the cinema landscape, we’re living in a post-geek world. Anyway.)
As part of my geekiness, I kept scrapbooks of pictures, newspaper and TV Guide ads and other bits o’ stuff. Most of the contents could be had for the price of a newspaper. Unfortunately I also cut up issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine for pictures to add to my scrapbooks, only to have to pay to replace them years later. Those beloved monster mags are a subject for another entry, however.
The less traumatic elements of my scrapbooks were the movie ads. I used to cut them out of the Muncie newspapers, of course, and would on occasion buy copies of papers from Indianapolis and beyond for their ads.
I’ve lost track of many of those clippings and scrapbooks somehow, but I dug up a few the other day and thought I would share them — and their nostalgia quotient — with you.
Forgive the quality of the pictures. I don’t have a scanner, so they’re snapped with my iPhone. But you get the idea.
Above you’ll find an ad for a Muncie Drive-In dusk-to-dawn screening of the original Planet of the Apes movie series. This screening took place sometime after May 1973 when “Battle for the Planet of the Apes,” the last entry in the series, had been released.
My most vivid memory of this was that my friend Jim and I were taken to the Kilgore Avenue drive-in by my parents. We had to leave after just a couple of movies, however, after Jim came down with some unknown and highly suspect illness. Since I was the oldest and we were like brothers, I held it against him for decades after.
Of courses, Apes movies weren’t the only feature at Muncie drive-ins or indoor theaters.
Here’s a Muncie Drive-In ad for a trio of grisly horror movies toplined by “Raw Meat,” a 1973 film. I’m not sure I went to see these. Two of the three were R-rated and I would have been 13 at the time.
Muncie’s Ski-Hi Drive-In Theater is represented by this ad for a five-movie “spook-a-thon.” The ad notes that coffee and doughnuts were served during the final feature and a “vampire woman” — in her coffin — could be found in the drive-in’s lobby.
That kind of goofy “extra” was one of my favorite things about going to cheap and cheesy exploitation pics like these. I remember going to a drive-in screening of “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies” in which ACTUAL MONSTERS — teenagers hired by the theater’s manager no doubt — roamed the aisles. Since the movie was originally released in 1964, I must have seen it at a re-release.
A year later, the same director, Ray Dennis Steckler, made “The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters,” a horror movie spoof. As you can see from this ad, Muncie’s Rivoli theater screened this classic. I was there.
“Girls bring your boyfriend! Learn if he’s man or mouse!” the ads taunt. Considering the movie was rated G, I’m guessing nobody’s boyfriend died of fright.
The Rivoli — the subject of a blog entry still to come — was the scene of a lot of fun screenings over the years. Here’s an ad for “The Green Slime,” a 1968 Japanese monster movie released in the states. As you can see, this is a silly “teaser” ad for the movie but the fact that it’s personalized — “The Green Slime” Covers Muncie — makes it that much sweeter.
I miss movie ads in newspapers. Not just because of the convenience of picking up the paper and checking out showtimes, but because movie ads like these were little works of marketing art. In these days of “sophisticated” marketing, we won’t see their like again.