About The Author
Hello, my name is Charles Bruss. I have been working on this book project for several years now. The idea for this came from many different sources. The first is my childhood. My first drive-in experience came when I was almost 10 years old. My family and I were in Ohio visiting relatives in the summer of 1981. My mom took my aunt, cousin and myself to the Belpre Open Air Theatre in Belpre, OH. My memories of this first time are of the car speaker hanging on the window, the buttered popcorn and the two movies for the evening. Star Wars and co-feature, Take This Job And Shove It. But the one thing that I remember the most from that night is when the Death Star blew up in Star Wars. The explosion filled the giant movie screen and it seemed to be just hanging there in the starry sky
Screen tower of the Belpre Open Air Theatre - Early 1950's
Fast forward to August 1993. Though I never had gone to another drive-in since my time at the Belpre, that changed when I took my then girlfriend to the 41 Twin in Franklin, WI. Don't remember what the movies were that evening but I do remember what a great time I had that night. The fresh air, smells from the concession stand and the lot full of cars. All filled with people there for the same reason as I, an evening of fun under the stars.
I continued to attend movies at the 41 Twin for the next several years. It wasn't until Christmas of 1998 that I had received the book entitled "The American Drive-in Movie Theatre." The book really got me thinking about the state of drive-ins in America. I then came across a website by Andy Hilbert called "Movies by Starlite." Andy's site is the main reason for this book project. I felt there should be a detailed as possible look into the histories of our state's drive-in theatres.
My quest for this book began several years ago and since then I have gathered a vast collection of Wisconsin drive-in memorabilia. This includes old photographs, interviews, newspaper clippings, artifacts etc. In fact, I love drive-in so much that I got a job at the 41 Twin in Franklin, WI. Much of this collection I obtained through various sources while working at this drive-in for the last two remaining seasons before it was torn down in March of 2002.
(Here I am in the South Concession stand at the 41 Twin during its final season in 2001)
The work involved with this project is done basically in my spare time and weekends. I have traveled this state from Superior to Kenosha in search of photos and information. I have met a lot of interesting people and have seen many wonderful places through out my journeys. I would not trade any of my experiences for anything. This book with your help WILL be the best drive-in book ever.