1. What is the inspiration for Brian's Drive-In Theater?

Brian: My site is an extended tribute to many unsung B movie actors and actresses from the 1930s through the 1980s. New pages are added frequently, and existing pages are updated on a semi-annual basis. Also, when I can I attempt to direct visitors to video sources so they may find the DVDs they're looking for. However, many of these great old films are out of print, and some of them have never been released to the home video market. The site has been online since February 1, 1998.

2. How do you find and scan all the photos on your site?

Brian: Although I've scanned a lot of these images from my own source material (photographs, lobby cards, books, press books, etc.), visitors to my site have scanned and sent many, many images to me. I would say that at least 50 percent of the photos displayed at Brian's Drive-In Theater have been sent to me by visitors.

3. Where can I buy copies of photographs and posters I see you your site?

Brian: For photos, try AllPosters---this site has more than 2,500 8 x 10's for sale. Here's the link to their site:

4. Why haven't you built a page for ___________, my favorite actor or actress?

Brian: Often, visitors make suggestions for pages. If the actor or actress falls into the B movie category, I usually follow up on the request if I can find photos and information. For some actors and actresses, I have found little to nothing.

5. Where can I buy copies of these films on DVD?

Brian: Check the videos available through Brian's Drive-In Theater by clicking on the DVDs Available links at the top of each actor page.

6. Why isn't my favorite B movie available on DVD?

Brian: There are many reasons. First, a surprising number of films are bogged down by rights disputes, particularly for films from the 1950s on. Often, production companies and releasing studios attempt to claim ownership of the same films. Films made after the rise of television but before the advent of home video, mostly produced between 1948 and the mid 1970s, are highly susceptible to this.

Of course, many films are now lost, meaning that there are no known, fully intact, surviving prints. Often, lost films conjure up images of silent era releases (roughly 1894 through 1929); about 80 percent of these films are now lost. However, many sound films are lost, incomplete, lack sound tracks, or so badly deteriorated that they're now unwatchable; about half of all sound films made between 1927 and 1950 are considered lost. For example, Clara Bow, a big star during the late silent period, made nearly 60 films, but about half of these are now lost. Many silent film negatives were destroyed in the 1930s because studio executives assumed that no one would ever want to see silent films again, and they needed vault space for newer sound films. Preservation efforts have been hampered badly in the past few years due to lack of funding from both public and private sources.

Many pre-1949 films are lost because the nitrate film used in that era was flammable. Storage vault fires have destroyed huge film archives. The chemically unstable nature of nitrate film requires temperature- and humidity-controlled storage and decays if not properly stored. Most films from 1950 onward survive, but B movies are more likely to be lost than A pictures. And a shocking number of made-for-television films are lost.

Finally, some copyright owners refuse to release the films to home video, for a variety of reasons. (Disney, for example, will not release "Song of the South," as it's considered to contain politically incorrect content and might put the studio in a bad light.) Recently, some studios, notably Warner Bros. and Universal, have begun releasing now-obscure titles on DVD-R so they can make small batches without the financial risk of a large run of unwanted DVDs.

7. Do you have a mailing address or e-mail address for my favorite actor/actress?

Brian: No. For those actors and actresses with official web sites, try contacting them through those sites. Additionally, the links below may contain mailing address for actors and actresses. Some actors stay in contact with fans through social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Wattographs (specializes in Star Wars autographs)
  • The Star Archive (now requires a subscription)
  • Autograph Central
  • Member Sites of the Celebrity Addresses WebRing

  • 8. I'd like to start my own drive-in theater in my hometown. How do I get started?

    Brian: I'm surprised how often I'm asked this question. The truth is I have absolutely no idea, as my drive-in exists solely on the WWW. At least in my general area (southwestern Pennsylvania/northern West Virginia), a healthy number of drive-ins are still operating at present. This may change soon, however, as most studios are providing only digital formats to save production costs, and many older theaters (drive-ins and stand-alones) still use traditional projection equipment. Converting a theater to digital projection is an expensive proposition (anywhere from $75K to more than $100K per screen), and some are in danger of folding up. For the neighborhood in which I now live, I'm told there were three drive-ins from the 1950s and 1960s. One is now a large housing development; another is an auto salvage yard, and the third is a flea market.

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