Sunday, July 6, 2008

Movies and Parking Meters.

Garberville looking North, Late 40's, note all of the utility lines overhead. click to enlarge

Back in the late 40’s there was only two lanes of traffic in Garberville, with angle parking, but Garberville being the progressive town that it was decided that they needed more room for traffic, so they made the parking along the side of the street parallel to traffic, and added an outside lane through town, and they put in parking meters. I’m not sure when they did all of that, but that was the way is was in the late 50’s. I don’t remember the speed limit, but I think that it was faster than it is now. I remember that there wasn’t any stop signs.

The road through Garberville was called the Redwood Highway, you know it better as Highway 101. In the mid 60’s, when the freeway bypassed Garberville and the traffic was reduced, they took the extra lane out, and made the center line into two double lines about four feet apart, and they could not be crossed at any time without getting a ticket. They renamed the street Redwood Drive, and they went back to angle parking. The parking meters were removed before that because of public outcry.

In the early 80’s all of the utilities on Redwood Drive were undergrounded, and the street was repaved, and the center line was changed to a double yellow line, to allow ingress and egress to driveways and service stations. It was a major accommodation to Garberville traffic. What you should know, and it seems that nobody does know, is that it is against the law to cross a double yellow line to enter a parking space.

Back in the late 50’s the parallel parking spaces had parking meters, I don’t remember the denominations of coin that the meters took, but I think that they had a slot for a penny, a slot for a nickel, and a slot for a dime. Everybody hated the meters, and cussed them endlessly. I forget how long you could park, but if you put the right amount of coin in, you could crank it up to maximum time. People would drop extra coin in the slot, and if it looked like your time was about to run out, some good citizen would turn the handle and the meter would swallow the extra coin and add minutes. I’ll bet that you are wondering why I’m telling you all of this stuff… Later.

The Garberville Theater looks, on the outside, almost exactly like it does today. The Garberville Theater used to run a Saturday Matinee for the town kids. And it was only 25 cents to get in. The kids could only sit in the general seating, they weren’t allowed in the loges. Only adults were allowed there. The theater usually showed something like cartoons, or a cowboy movie, or something spooky like “The Blob” or “The Mantis”. but it was always just for the kids.

The evening show was quite different it had feature movies, like “Casablanca“, or the “African Queen”, or a good John Wayne movie. The adults sat in the loges, and the kids sat in the general seating. The kids could sit in the loges if accompanied by an adult, be we usually wanted to sit down front with the other kids. They had a “Nursing” room in the back for moms with squeally babies. Babies were allowed in free, but they had to go to the nursing room with the mom if they made any fuss. It always seemed to me like there was a baby making noise somewhere in the theater all the time. Each isle had an usher to help you to and from your seat with a flashlight, and if you got out of line the usher would shine her flashlight at you and embarrass you in front of your friends.

You are still wondering about those parking meters aren’t you?

When we wanted to go to the Saturday matinee, we would walk down the street, look all around and when nobody was looking we would whack the back of the parking meter with the heel of our hand, and the extra coin would puke out. Almost always we could get enough coin to take two of us to the matinee. But, we had to be sneaky, if the other kids figured it out they would have beat us to it. So my cousin Jim and I almost always went to the Saturday matinee. We were the only ones in town that missed those meters when they took them out. Damn!


Anonymous said...

I remember when they put parking meters in Eel Rock and they didn't even have a theater.


Ernie Branscomb said...

Yeah, but I think that was a joke.

You store. one school, one post office, one whore, and one parking meter for the one horse.

I sure miss the old Eel Rock. You know that the Railroad blew-up The Rock itself and used it for rip-rap after the '64 flood don't you?

Anonymous said...

any truth to the rumor that they are trying to get the parking meters back to subsidize the town square project?

Kym said...

I think that the crossing the double yellow line to a parking space is grandfathered in 8)

It seems to me I remember a few (ahem, don't disabuse me. I'm feeling old today) years ago that we had a bunch of new police officers that started ticketing people for crossing the yellow line to park. The outrage that followed was tumultuous and, consequently, no one is given tickets for that any more.

(However, I have a faulty memory and wouldn't test that theory by trying that action in front of a police officer.)

Ernie Branscomb said...

Kym, don't try it, they still enforce it from time to time. Last fall a CHP officer wrote ticket in front of the bank. Before he was through, he wrote four more tickets while he was standing there. More people were pulling across than coming in right. Finaly he faked a call and bailed just so he could leave.

EkoVox said...

Parking meters, sheesh! Who got the money? Do you remember? Was it the Chamber of Commerce? Was it the county? I don't remember Garberville ever having a city charter. Or, was it the individual business the meter was placed in front of?

Indoor theater? Sheesh! Everyone knows, the only good theater is a drive-in theater.
Such as the 299 Drive-in Theater
in Willow Creek.

The last time I went to the Weaverville theater, there was a huge splotch on the bottom side of the screen where some kid had thrown an ice cream or milk shake or something. But, it was authentic as a theater could be.

Anonymous said...

Garberville had a drive-in theater. Burl Keating (sp) had a second hand store next to it and us kids would pull old bathtubs from his yard out to the front row speakers to lay in and watch movies.
The good ol'days.


Fredy Champagne said...

Speaking of Drive-In Theaters, could someone tell us about the old Myers Flat Drive In. The screen was still up as late as the 90s, now it's all vinyard. What was that all about? Fredy

Youth and Adult Sports said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Youth and Adult Sports said...

I actually received a ticket for crossing the double yellow to park right in front of the theater. It was when I was in high school in 1993. The CHP officer was all over me, even though I tried to say that I had made a U-turn at the Branding Iron intersection, which would have been legal. I have some great memories of the G'ville theater. It is one the things that makes Garberville stand out among rural towns on the north coast.

Robin Shelley said...

There's a drive-in theatre 4 miles north of Crescent City on Elk Valley Rd. called Red's Crescent Drive-In. Ten bucks a carload!