Sunday, April 25, 2010

Visiting the Orange Drive-In

Yesterday, our lovely Orange correspondent and I were on a Modern architecture pilgrimage to the Crystal Cathedral campus in Garden Grove, and unexpectedly stumbled across the last remaining bits of the Orange Drive In Theatre. Not that they were marked or identified in any way, but it wasn't hard to figure out. Dr. Robert Schuller began his ministry in Southern California in 1955 by preaching to folks in their cars at the Drive-In. His pulpit was the roof of the snack shop, a portion of which was apparently saved in 2003, when the rest of the building was bulldozed. (The screens came down earlier, in 1997. The whole area is now part of a freeway onramp/offramp.)
Also saved for posterity were these speakers, which are designed to mount on the inside of your car window during the movie (or during the drive-in church service). There was also an organ, mysteriously unmarked, nearby. I'm not sure what its origins were. Perhaps it was used at the Drive-In also.
In any case, all this stuff, and a rotary telephone, are on display on the second floor of the Richard Meier-designed International Center for Possibility Thinking (a.k.a. the "Welcoming Center").

5 comments:

Doug said...

This has a slightly odd and surreal feeling, especially the roof section. Kind along the lines of a Robert Rauschenberg piece.... Why no labels or i.d.s for the "artifacts"? Are they unsure of their history or of the future?
Sure would like to have one of those drive-in car speakers.

Chris Jepsen said...

I'd guess they were either pushed out of their normal display space due to the temporary art exhibit on that floor, or perhaps they were new additions and we saw them before they were "ready for primetime."

Actually, the whole building had a somewhat odd and surreal feel to it. Somethng about a new $40 million building that sits mostly empty...

Elizabeth Rhiannon said...

Aaawww, I remember those car speakers! Ah, the good ol' days, we had a lot of fun at that drive in...thanks for the pics!

Anonymous said...

I constantly passed the Orange Drive In on the freeway during the 80's and early 90's though I had no idea at the time how old it actually was. I only ever went there once, around the early 80s to go to the swap meet but, strangely, have very little clear recollection of the day. Must not have been a very significant event in my life.

Renea Carriere said...

Loved the Orange Drive In ..My Mom took our family there all the time ;) back in the 70's ;)