"Widest Screen In North Carolina!"
Somebody had to have the widest outdoor screen in North Carolina, and it looks like Raleigh’s Forest Drive-In, here celebrating its August 1, 1963 Grand Opening, was the place. Might not seem like much from our vantage point at the back of the lot, but that monster’s 8,784 square feet --- that’s 120 feet wide, mind you. Just imagine watching A Girl Named Tamiko on a hoss like that! 800 cars were accommodated on the twenty-acre site, and opening night was gala. Note the two-lane boxoffice and the clown on hand "to delight the kiddies" (nowadays all the clowns seem to be manning projection booths). That concession complex certainly looks spacious and modern, doesn’t it? The caption reassures us that all hot dogs and "charco hamburgers" are wrapped securely in tin foil. That would have been bad news for me, because every time I’ve ever gotten tinfoil in my mouth, there’s a magnetic reaction with the fillings in my teeth, and boy, that hurts like hell! Home office bigwigs held a cocktail reception the night before opening "at the city’s luxurious Velvet Cloak Inn for business and civic leaders." That place was sure enough luxurious. My parents used to talk about it whenever they had to go to Raleigh. Do you suppose those business and civic leaders got passes? Maybe to bring the family over to the Forest to see Vampire and The Ballerina, or Werewolf In A Girl’s Dormitory? On opening night, the screen program was preceded by two hours (!) of live entertainment. Sounds exhausting, unless The Beach Boys or Four Seasons were there. A "hootenanny songfest" was also on the entertainment menu. Now there’s an inducement to show up! "Miss Wake County" of 1963 made the scene as well. Her name was Carolyn Byrd. I’ll bet she still lives down there. What memories she must have of that night!