Letters

Letters 11-28-2016

Trump should avoid self-dealing President-elect Donald Trump plans to turn over running of The Trump Organization to his children, who are also involved in the transition and will probably be informal advisers during his administration. This is not a “blind trust.” In this scenario Trump and family could make decisions based on what’s best for them rather than what’s best for the country...

Trump the change we need?  I have had a couple of weeks to digest the results of this election and reflect. There is no way the selection of Trump as POTUS could ever come close to being normal. It is not normal to have a president-elect settle a fraud case for millions a couple of months before the inauguration. It is not normal to have racists considered for cabinet posts. It is not normal for a president-elect tweet outrageous comments on his Twitter feed to respond to supposed insults at all hours of the early morning...

Health care system should benefit all It is no secret that the health insurance situation in our country is controversial. Some say the Affordable Care Act is “the most terrible thing that has happened to our country in years”; others are thrilled that, “for the first time in years I can get and afford health insurance.” Those who have not been closely involved in the medical field cannot be expected to understand how precarious the previous medical insurance structure was...

Christmas tradition needs change The Christmas light we need most is the divine, and to receive it we do not need electricity, probably only prayers and good deeds. But not everyone has this understanding, as we see in the energy waste that follows with the Christmas decorations...

CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS 

A story in last week’s edition about parasailing businesses on East Grand Traverse Bay mistakenly described Grand Traverse Parasail as a business that is affiliated with the ParkShore Resort. It operates from a beach club two doors down from the resort. The story also should have noted that prior to the filing of a civil lawsuit in federal court by Saburi Boyer and Traverse Bay Parasail against Bryan Punturo and the ParkShore Resort, a similar lawsuit was dismissed from 13th Circuit Court in Traverse City upon a motion from the defendant’s attorney. Express regrets the error and omission.

A story in last week’s edition about The Fillmore restaurant in Manistee misstated Jacob Slonecki’s job at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course. He was a cook. Express regrets the error.

Home · Articles · News · Features · Nostalgia, Real Butter Rule at...
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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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