Old Drive in/Train Photo

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Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby Pixl » Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:18 pm

I'm sure many of you have seen this cool photo taken in a drive in theater as a steam loco passes very close. In 1955, O Winston Link set out to capture the last days of steam railroading in America . He took this photo in 1956 in West Virginia.

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I ran across the photo again today and got to thinking if the drive in was still in existence. I did an extensive search of Drive in web sites, Wikipedia, etc. came up with only a Google Earth shot of a semi circle where I presume it existed in sandy huff, West Virginia.

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Any of you internet hound dogs want to find something I missed, try to scrape up some info/photos of the drive in and when it closed.
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby pbmaxno15 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:05 pm

This was the first link to pop up on Google. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/40736
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby Pixl » Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:15 pm

pbmaxno15 wrote:This was the first link to pop up on Google. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/40736


Thanks PBMax, I did see that site, not much there. I was hoping to find it on a site like http://www.driveintheater.com/ which is a great site with thousands of old and new drive in's, but not this one.
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:20 pm

I think the image linked in the first post is showing the wrong location. I found a shot on Flickr from the ground showing where the drive in was: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicksuydam/7820507286. In the shot above, you can see part of the location, where the house with the brown roof is near the lower left corner.

I've attached part of an old topographic map that shows the Drive In Theatre somewhere on the south side of Sandy Huff. If you zoom in on the marked location on the map on the link Patrick (pbmax) posted, it's where the driveways for the two homes that were built on the site meet the road.
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby Michael » Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:03 am

I can't believe that space held 270 cars. It is a great photo, most especially in a time before trick photography.
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:17 am

The spot is bigger than it looks. There are at least two size homes on the site now, with plenty of yard space surrounding them plus out buildings. I think the screen may have been on the edge of the trees at the far end of the lot, which would allow almost the entire field for parking. Even with a projection/concession building and ticket booth, there wouldn't have been a lot of extra space outside of that needed for each auto, but it would've probably been tight when every spot was taken.

I did find an overhead shot from somewhere between 1996 and 1999 showing just a field in that location, but aside from the lack of houses, there was no indication as to what remained of the drive in or if something else had been in that location after the drive in was closed.
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby Pixl » Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:55 pm

Michael wrote:I can't believe that space held 270 cars. It is a great photo, most especially in a time before trick photography.


I'm guessing the drive in people may have cooperated with the photographer as the exit lights on top of the screen are on as well as some lighting behind the camera. Doesn't seem to bother the couple in the first car, they don't notice the train or the movie, just gettin busy. :D
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby Michael » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:40 am

Pixl wrote:
Michael wrote:I can't believe that space held 270 cars. It is a great photo, most especially in a time before trick photography.


I'm guessing the drive in people may have cooperated with the photographer as the exit lights on top of the screen are on as well as some lighting behind the camera. Doesn't seem to bother the couple in the first car, they don't notice the train or the movie, just gettin busy. :D


Agreed. There is no question it is a posed photograph with extra lighting but he still had to time it right with the train or wait till another day.
I think there are just 6 real drive in left here in Michigan. We have a temporary one setup in a parking lot here in Plymouth but it is not the same at all.
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby MP73point4 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:29 am

Michael wrote:I can't believe that space held 270 cars. It is a great photo, most especially in a time before trick photography.

Actually Link did use some trick photography to create this image. When the train was passing and he fired all his flashbulbs, it washed out the image on the drive in screen so it appeared just white. He actually took a second photo with the jet on the screen, then combined that negative with the one of the train and the cars to create the shot we see. He just did his trickery in a darkroom instead of in Photoshop.
You kids may need to go look up what flashbulbs are and what a darkroom is. :lol:
If anyone is interested in Link's photography, there is a museum in the former N&W passenger station in downtown Roanoke dedicated to his work. It's worth a stop if you're in the area.
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby AARR » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:36 am

That's not jet any jet. It's a F86 Sabre. It and the Mig 15 were involved in some tremendous air battles over Korea. The American pilots new how to use the F86's advantages to defeat the Mig's and scored remarkably high.
MP73point4 wrote:He actually took a second photo with the jet on the screen
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby Michael » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:13 am

I did question the timing of the plane on the movie screen but not enough to look up how he did it. So it turns out that part was cheating a little. Still a great shot :D
Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I saw a good shot by JT (I think) of a plane landing at Detroit Metro with a moving train and cars along I-94 all in the same shot.
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:13 am

Is there anything to indicate the lights at the top of the screen are actually lit, rather than being lit by the flash from the camera? I would think the screen would be the only thing needing to be fixed in the darkroom, you could go crazy trying to fix all the other things illuminated by the flash bulbs, rather than because they were actually lit when the image was captured.
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby hoborich » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:10 pm

You kids may need to go look up what flashbulbs are and what a darkroom is.


Awwww, darn flash didn't go off. Maybe the batteries are dead. :lol:
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby Dan Cluley » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:40 pm

If I remember correctly, he also specifically posed the couple in the foreground in his own convertible.
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby MP73point4 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:28 am

Dan Cluley wrote:If I remember correctly, he also specifically posed the couple in the foreground in his own convertible.

You are correct on both counts. His car also appears with a posed couple in his photo of an old fellow filling a gravity fed gas pump with a train in the background. If you google O. Winston Link prints you'll easily find it.
Link traveled from New York to West Virginia and Virginia in his own car and at his own expense to take all his famous N&W steam photos. The railroad allowed him access, but didn't purchase/commission his pictures or fund his trips.
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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby J T » Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:59 pm

GreatLakesRailfan wrote:I think the image linked in the first post is showing the wrong location. I found a shot on Flickr from the ground showing where the drive in was: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicksuydam/7820507286.

I wish Nick had done an "then and now" comparison shot.

Michael wrote: I saw a good shot by JT (I think) of a plane landing at Detroit Metro with a moving train and cars along I-94 all in the same shot.

Is this what you were thinking of?


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Re: Old Drive in/Train Photo

Unread postby Michael » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:35 pm

Yes, that is the one JT. Although I guess it wasn't I-94 in the photo.
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