PROBE: Feb. 27, 2002

February 27, 2002

QUESTION: An article about drive-in movies said the Motor Vu was built in the 1940s but not exactly when. The article mentioned El Centro and Brawley drive-ins that no longer exist but the article didn't say where? Do you know? — Movie Fan, Imperial

Movie drive-ins were big in the 1940s, before television, when young families were raising the baby boomers. We used to pile the car full of kids, take an ice chest full of fried chicken and sodas and a sackful of popcorn. During the week it cost a dollar for a car load but the snack bar was expensive.

Although our adult children have fond memories of the old drive-in movies, we recall it was a miserable experience. With kids pouring Coke down our back or screeching, "I can't see!" or "He hit me," it was not our idea of an evening out.

We don't know when the Motor Vu was built in Imperial. Neither does Donna Hampton, who likes local history.


The El Centro drive-in was on Highway 111 south of old Highway 80, about where the Texaco truck stop is now. The screen faced south, said Hampton.

To give you an idea of how many people went, there would be two lanes of cars coming in. The "box office" was a little hut with windows on each side with cashiers selling tickets.

The Brawley drive-in was near the curve on Highway 86 south of Brawley in about the same spot as the Su Casa restaurant now, according to Hampton. The screen faced east, she said.

QUESTION (Friday afternoon): I live at the Roberta Hotel. Our electricity has been off two days. Help! I can't take it anymore. — Resident, El Centro

Since we didn't get your question until Monday, by the time we started on it, the issue had been resolved. According to Imperial Irrigation District, the electricity was turned off Thursday and restored Monday afternoon.

QUESTION: The Central Union High class of 1952 is planning its golden anniversary reunion. Seeing as how this could be the last time some of us will be getting together, we're trying to find our last classmates.

We have exhausted all means, including mail, friends and the Internet ( Now we're hoping PROBE can help us find the following people. — Searchers, El Centro

It doesn't have to be the last time even at your elevated age. The Holtville class of 1948 is planning its fourth reunion in five years. But then, that bunch was always overachievers!

OK, PROBE readers, made us proud. We're going to give you a few names today and more in coming days. If you know any of these people call Dan Nuffer at 352-4539.

And the lost are: David Allen, Paul Ames, Bill Ballinger, Marjorie Blair, Larry Byam, Richmon Clendenen, Jack Donaho, Bill Dube, June Edwards, Warren Folsom, Betty Fowler, Gloria Freeby, Norman Geiger, Juan Gutierrez, John Harvey, Marion Howard, Don Israel, Mary Alice Jamison, Pauline Joseph and Alma Martin. See tomorrow for more unfound classmates from 1952.

QUESTION: Have you noticed all the out-of-town candidates are putting their posters on telephone poles and sticking them on other people's property? — Voter, Heber

We wouldn't be surprised. The out-of-towners may not know that Imperial Irrigation District employees rip down campaign posters.

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