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This drive-in parked 200 cars in the late-1950’s, and was owned by Jerry Mundy. I never got a paycheck here but worked a week or so helping out my cousin Ray Rogers. I guess my pay for a 16-year-old were hamburgers out of the concessions and cokes. Really a love of theatres and movies was the main reason.
I enjoyed changing the marquee, working the boxoffice, and getting to make a changeover when Norman the projectionist had to rush to the toilet. That will be explained later in this interview with Ray Rogers who gave CT a great interview on his Four Seasons Cinemas!
Mike: Well, Ray, you sorta ran the Joy Drive-In in Hendersonville. How was it on your own?
Ray: Well, having heard the history of Tri-City Drive-In, I sorta wanted to stay at the Carolina. I took over a theatre where the booth and snack bar burned down previously. So as theatre owners will do, an old building on the lot was used for the concession.
Mike: I remember those "out houses."
Ray: Yep, tacky, but the restrooms were in a small building between the concession and box office.
Mike: And the booth.
Ray: Like you said the booth had no toilet nearby making it hard on a projectionist.
Mike: Lucky they were non-union!
Ray: You made a changeover there you said.
Mike: The movie was "Hombre" the 2nd or 3rd feature, and Norman yells up, "Mike, I gotta go "bleep" real bad…come here and let me show you about a changeover!"
Ray: Wonder where I was at?
Mike: Don’t know. But he explains the cue marks. At least I knew what he was talking about. So off he runs and I’m watching. Cue mark-hit it-cue mark-hit it! Picture hit the screen and I gave myself an 80 for it. I did have to frame the picture. But not bad for a rookie!
Ray: Like the Joy Drive-In; the old Tri-City booth and snack bar had the booth on top of the concession. They talked like they do about rebuilding and even moving the box office but never did while I was there.
Mike: I remember a small booth.
Roy: It might have been a trailer, I can’t remember. It was just big enough to hold two projectors, amplifer, a rewind table and 20 minute reels. The rectifiers for carbon arc made changeovers fun.
Mike: I remember one weekend we ran 4 films starting with "True Grit" "Elvis on Tour" "Pretty Maids All In A Row" and the x-rated "Sex Lives of Adam and Eve."
Ray: How do you remember that?
Mike: I told you I’d remember.
Ray: Well, the Tri-City ran family films Wednesday thru Saturday and adult movies Sunday thru Tuesday during the fall, winter, and spring. Summer was family fare.
Mike: I remember going to Charlotte to see your booker once.
Ray: I made a few trips over there about movies; you know some bookers seem to know it all about smaller towns. The Tri-City Drive-in wasn’t that bad really. It’s all but gone now. Oh, plans were for the projectors from the Joy Drive-In to be shipped to Tri-City for use in the drive-in sometime after I left!
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