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Your crazy great-aunt just passed away. You never met her, and she didn't have any other family, but in her will, she left you an old, run-down drive-in movie theater. In the will, there were three conditions: it must remain a drive-in, it's yours and you can't sell it to make way for a shopping mall, and last, it must be a living time capsule for the 1950's, the decade in which she was a teenager and the one she considered the greatest of them all.

In order to pay the property tax bill, you're going to have to get it up and running using nothing but stuff from the 1950's. Hopefully, you'll gain some insight as to why modern youth culture really exploded during that decade.

The Process

In order to get your drive-in running, you have to do several things. You are going to make a poster with the following things:

  1. Create a 1950's-style advertisement for your feature: Decide on a triple feature to be shown on the screen. Choose a science fiction movie concerning aliens or a mutated animal, a movie made in 3D, and an Elvis Presley movie. Remember, they must all have been made during the 1950's. To find the movies Elvis Presley made during the 1950's, use the Internet Movie Database. To find a good list of 1950's use this google search. Finally, to learn the virtually complete list of 3D movies from the 1950's, click on the 3D Filmfest site.
  2. Come up with a playlist of songs to play during intermission: Decide what kind of music you'll play in the parking lot before the feature. You'll need at least three rock 'n' roll songs performed by different African-American artists and three rock 'n' roll songs performed by different white artists. Each song should come from a different year in the 1950's. Your playlist should contain the title, year, artist, and a one-sentence explanation on why you chose that particular song. Go to the fiftiesweb to get started in 1955. Click on the other years to get further songs.
  3. Gather photos of miscellaneous products and decorations from the 1950's: You'll need to decorate your concession stand using at least five photos, etc. of famous people and things from the 1950's. Also, give at least three examples of products from the 1950's that you might sell at the concession stand. Create a poster that displays photos of these objects. Once again the fiftiesweb can help you to get photos. Once you're on this page, don't be afraid to snoop around for other stuff. You can fnd a lot of what you need right on this site.
  4. Develop a list of TV shows from the era: Find at least three television shows that people might have watched instead of going to the drive-in that night. Go to the fiftiesweb and take your pick of the shows made in the 1950's. Place them on your song playlist with a short summary of information about each show such as actors, years on TV, and plot.
  5. Get at least three photos of different types automobiles that might show up in your parking lot: Go to Rewind The Fifties to find dozens of photos, then choose your favorites. Include these along with your rock 'n' roll/ TV playlist.
  6. Explain one fad or craze during the 1950's: Create an area that children might participate in one of the fads of the 1950's. Head back to the fiftiesweb for this. In a short essay, explain what the fad was. Include any photos that might help.

Finally, you are going to write a journal to go along with your poster. This does not need to be typed. Please refer to the rubric for specific requirements.

  • Put together a journal of your opening weekend. Include entries for Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night. Discuss what types of people showed up, what they were interested in, and how they reacted to their drive-in experience. Last, explain why you think youth culture emerged the way it did during the 1950's.


All documents (rubrics, resources, etc) can be found on the "Downloads" section of this webpage


Adapted from

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Last modified: 2015-07-23 12:28:43 AM (EDT)