Life in Gippsland in 1965 included frequent visits to drive-in theatres

50 years ago, drive-in theatres were as popular as Elvis.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary last week, the Latrobe Valley Express reprinted its first ever issue. The then-weekly newspaper was born on Wednesday 14 July 1965 and was distributed for free, as it is now. Additional copies could be purchased for 3 pence each.

As well as the news of the day, the 28 pages included some fascinating ads that reflected our society as it was in 1965. Some once great businesses and innovative products were there, including stoves, TV sets, stereograms, cars and even SEC power loans.

It was the era of drive-in movie theatres and at Morwell’s Panoramic Drive-In you could see Rock Hudson and Burl Ives in The Spiral Road. They also screened The Brass Bottle starring Barbara Eden. The movie inspired the I Dream of Jeannie TV series which Barbara went on to star in.

Village Drive-In Traralgon.
Photo: Drive-Ins Downunder.

The Fairsky Drive-In at Moe didn’t advertise in this issue but at the Village Drive-In at Traralgon you could see the Elvis Presley movies that gave us hits like Blue Hawaii, Can’t Help Falling in Love, Rock-A-Hula Baby, Wooden Heart and Blue Suede Shoes.

Elvis was certainly at the peak of his popularity at this time, as were drive-in theatres, and a double bill of Blue Hawaii and G.I. Blues would have pulled the crowds in.

Drive-ins with their big screens started popping up around Australia in the 1950s and remained popular into the ’60s and ’70s.

Just imagine the Saturday night Elvis movie program packed with cars and people of all ages scurrying to the kiosk or playground. Drive-ins were a hit with families, couples… in fact, just about everyone.