Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

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Nostalgia, Real Butter Rule at the Cherry Bowl Drive-In

A 1950s time capsule boosted by modern film technology has made the Cherry Bowl Drive-In in Honor one hot ticket for summer fun.

Kristi Kates - July 21st, 2014  

One of only 340 drive-ins left in the country, and only one of 10 in the state, the Cherry Bowl is a beloved local landmark, carrying the flame for wholesome outdoor entertainment.

BIG SCREEN HERITAGE

Laura Clark and her husband Harry purchased the drive-in from its original owners back in 1997, after leaving corporate jobs and moving Up North to raise their family.

Harry Clark passed away in 2012; gone was the booming, beloved voice heard nightly on the drive-in’s loudspeaker. But Laura Clark, with the support of the community, decided to keep the Cherry Bowl’s long and storied history moving forward.

Built in 1953 by Jean Griffin and her husband in the middle of a cherry orchard, the drive-in opened for the first time on July 4, 1953 with the movie “The Greatest Show on Earth,” a Cecil B. DeMille circus epic.

The original screen tower – still used today – was constructed using huge California redwood trees that were crossed at angles. In 1959, the screen was widened to accept the newest film phenomenon: Cinemascope.

“The redwoods can still be seen from inside the screen tower,” said Laura Clark. “And the original speaker poles that were installed in rows using underground wire are also still being used.”

Today, movies are broadcast through car radios on Cherry Bowl’s FM radio station. There are also pole-mounted speakers, powered by the drive-in’s original 1953 Motiograph vacuum tube amps, for those inclined to go vintage.

“The speaker caps produce a warm red glow at night for a truly exceptional visual experience during the movie,” Clark said.

SAVING AN EXPERIENCE

But the drive-in movie isn’t something that everyone’s grown up with.

During its heyday from the late ‘50s to early ‘60s, there were more than 4,000 driveins across the U.S., about 25 percent of movie screens.

Today that number hovers below two percent of all screens.

The oldest functioning one in the country is Shankweiler’s Drive-In, which has been in continuous operation in Pennsylvania since 1934. By the late ‘70s, as drive-ins started to decline in popularity, the theaters turned to gimmicks to get people coming again.

They tried everything: actor appearances, live monkeys, live bands, expanded snack bars, and tickets as low as $1 for a whole carload.

More recently, the demand for digital is stretching the budgets of the few remaining drive-ins to the breaking point.

Clark said the Cherry Bowl faced that dilemma – among others – last year.

“From the home television, to cable and VCRs, to DVRs and now movies on demand, all are competing for the average American’s disposable income,” she said. “But one of the biggest obstacles of all was the conversion from 120-year-old 35mm technology.”

It cost $80,000 to upgrade the equipment and provide the necessary year-round climate control environment.

But Project Drive-In, a drive-in theater awareness campaign run by Honda Motor Co., Inc., saved the day.

The online campaign had fans voting on which drive-in theater would get one of nine digital projection systems, and Cherry Bowl’s devoted fans stepped up to the plate.

“Thanks to Honda, we are able to look forward to another 61 years of providing a Cherry Bowl Drive-In experience people will never forget,” Clark said.

MOVIE MEMORIES

Known today for family-friendly entertainment that everyone can enjoy, the Cherry Bowl plays only top 10 movies that are rated PG-13 or less.

There’s always a double feature preceded by the “The Star Spangled Banner.” Old black and white ads are even played on the screen during intermission, and a snack diner and themed mini golf keep the kids fed and busy.

The whole experience is meant to leave a memorable impression, Clark said.

“Watching the digital movie on the screen, with the stars in the sky, surrounded by your family and friends … it creates lasting memories,” she said.

Regulars suggest arriving early to pick a spot before the movie starts, which is always “rain or shine, dusk is the time.”

Original signage dots the concession’s interior, which still features the spot’s original popcorn popper.

And the preferred popcorn topping? Real, melted butter.

“[It’s] like taking a giant step back in time,” Clark said.

The Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theater is located at 9812 Honor Highway in Honor, Mich. For more, visit cherrybowldrivein.com, or check out their movie hotline at (231) 325-3413.

 
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