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Drive In Theatre


One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure

"Hey Dave, this is Bob"
"Hey Bob--what's going on?"
"Well, I just thought I'd let you know that they're renovating the Eagles Theatre and they're gonna be
throwing a lot of stuff out. Wanna come up this weekend?"
And so began my journey to Wabash Indiana one weekend many years ago...
Bob and I got up early that chilly Saturday morning, had a few cups of coffee, and headed downtown to the Eagles Theatre. The morning was overcast and the sky threatened us with rain. It hadn't started, but it did create some urgency from this possible menace. If it rained, it would ruin the contents of that dumpster.
Right outside the main doors to the Eagles was a large dumpster filled to the top with stuff they had thrown out. Like a professional swimmer, I climbed up on the side of the dumpster and proceeded to dive on in.
Many pressbooks and a few posters were pulled out of that dumpster on that chilly Saturday morning. There wasn't anything earlier than 1969 in what I  managed to salvage. "Easy Rider" and "Let It Be" pressbooks were as far back as any of the stuff went. Most of the pressbooks and mat ads were from the 70's, and a lot of old Eagles Theatre tickets.
In all, I think I spent about 5 hours sifting through everything. I got a lot of strange looks from people passing by and possibly provided them with some dinner conversation for that evening.

One of the items I saved from a watery rotting fate at the city dump was a three ring, black binder that said "Syndicated Theatres, INC." and "Frederick Ellington" across the front. It turned out to be a maintenance log for many theatres and drive ins throughout Indiana, including the CRUMP, the Columbus DRIVE IN, the Gibson Theatre, the Elwood Theatre, the Eagles, and the Artcraft.
The earliest entry shown for the Columbus Drive In Theatre was April 9, 1951 and is nothing more than a listing of what equipment the Drive In had, and how many spare parts were on hand. I'm thinking this must have been right around the time the Drive In first opened, but need to verify that date.
Also in this 3 ring binder was a plastic packet containing many photos. The photos cover a fairly wide range of time. The photos to the right came from that binder. The first photo of the guy sitting on the motorcycle looks like the Drive In here, but I'm not certain if it really is. The one below it where they are raising the screen (or possibly lowering it) doesn't appear to be the Columbus Drive In from judging the background, but I have decided to include it here for the time being. The reason I question these two pics is because of the other pictures inside the packet. There were several photos of the demolition of buildings where the Commons sits today, as well as some photos of the Crump. Like I say, maybe someone out there can inform me. Until then, I'll keep the pictures here...