Comments from gripplinger

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gripplinger commented about Balsam Drive-In on Aug 22, 2009 at 3:38 am

I live in Victorville and this drive-in did stand right behind where the Wal-Mart in Victorville is today. If you drive down Balsam Road and look into the field behind Wal-Mart, you can still see the ramps and a few speaker poles still standing. If this one was built in 81, it sure didn’t last long – it was gone by the early-to-mid 90s

gripplinger commented about Cahokia Drive-In on Sep 4, 2007 at 6:57 am

The Cahokia Drive-In was located in Alorton, but a few miles north of the actual town of Cahokia, Illinois. It was one of the Bloomer Amusement Company’s numerous successful locations at the time and, yes, the notable dancing indian in neon was impressive. However, the money that was given for the property was too much to argue with at the time and the drive-in was demolished, along with the race track, around 1980, to make way for the I-255. The Futura Drive-In was located on Route 3 and the only drive-in actually located in the Cahokia city limits. Built in the 60s, it closed about 1981 or 82 and did not feature a fancy marquee – in fact, the last time I saw it, the old marquee was used to advertise an auto body shop that used the property.

Much to the north of this, in Fairmont City, near the Fairmont Race Track, was the Falcon Drive-In (formerly the Mounds Drive-In), which was owned and operated by the Wehrenburg chain. This biggie (700 cars) was built on actual bulldozed Indian burial grounds (this was cool in 1949) and, before it closed, in the late 70s and early 80s, the drive-in was only open weekends showing adult triple features. Although in Fairmont City, this drive-in had an address of East St. Louis.

The only other memorable drive-in in this area would be the Shop City Drive-In, located in the heart of East St. Louis, on Summit, right behind a rather large shopping center, just off the I-64

gripplinger commented about Quad Cinema on Jun 5, 2006 at 3:21 pm

The marquee is gone!?! What a classic theatre marquee it was. The Quad, or just the “B.A.C. Cinema”(before the three-screen addition) as I knew for most of my life, was a majestic, 800-seat showplace. The countless classic films I saw there as a child – and as an adult when I worked for the Bloomer Amusement Company. All of the Star Wars films on their original releases, “Alien”, “Aliens” and the many amazing 70mm presentations! I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to fill-in a few times as projectionist for then manager Joe Schweiss. I am especially proud to have run at least one 70mm presentation during this time. That projection booth was incredible! I truely wish this great showplace was still open. Even if the main screen were to re-open – hell, I would travel from California for that – for the opportunity to celebrate the revival one of America’s great movie palaces – and the chance to relive some great memories!

gripplinger commented about Skyview Drive-In on Jun 5, 2006 at 2:58 pm

More memories! I was Asst. Manager and Projectionist at the Skyview D.I. throughout the 80’s and this was drive-in fun at it’s best! O, the movies we played there! Operated, and still is, by the great Bloomer Amusement Company, a group I worked with for many pleasurable years. I was there when a tornado took out the main screen in the 80’s – it was incredible to watch the new screen go up! I am so happy to see the drive-in is still successfully operating and owned by the same group of people! I only wish I could be there to enjoy the fun of the drive-in!

gripplinger commented about Ritz Theater on Jun 5, 2006 at 2:49 pm

Parking, or lack of it, was the downfall of the Ritz. The theatre is at the far east end of downtown Belleville and never had a real easy place for customers to park. It is a shame this beautiful theatre has gone dark – it was/is beautiful and my very first job at 16 y.o. Before long, I became the Asst. Manager/Projectionist and had some of the best years of my life there! After cutting the balcony into two seperate but small theatres, the seating capasity for the main auditorium was about 375. The two screens “upstairs” sat 175 and 80 respectively. I certainly can remember when the Ritz could sell-out all three screens! Although it was said the theatre was haunted, I have to say I never saw any such activity – all I saw and remember are the best times of my life! At least the Ritz hasn’t been torn down and lives now as a church!

gripplinger commented about Shop City Drive-In on Mar 1, 2006 at 2:15 am

The Shop-City Drive-In was open throughout the early part of the 70’s – I saw the ‘Planet of the Apes’ movies there as a kid as well as many memorable (and not so memorable) blackexploitation films!