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42.  Oakleigh Drive-In Theatre                                              by David Kilderry

                                        Entrance to Oakleigh Drive-In Theatre c.1955

             The Hoyts Skyline Oakleigh Drive-In was situated on Old Dandenong Road. When it opened in 1955 it became
             Melbourne's fourth drive-in, joining Skylines at Burwood and Preston, and Village Croydon.

             After the enormous success of Australia's first Ozoner at Burwood, even in the cooler months, Hoyts quickly
             launched Preston and Oakleigh. It must be remembered that television was yet to be seen and these drive-ins
             were the first new cinema constructions in fifteen years. Families were encouraged to "come as you are" which
             meant that the kids wore pyjamas. It was a new concept in movie going and Australians took to it immediately.

             Oakleigh Drive-In was on a long narrow block, the front half of which was taken up with landscaped gardens.
             Typical of the day the gardens, large Skyline sign and the driveways were all edged with white painted rocks.
             Buildings consisted of a ticket box with  an office behind,  a large maintenance shed, the snack bar/bio-box/
             toilets building, and the "Hub Hut" (steak house) in the barbeque area.

             The screen was wooden surfaced and was boxed in with a black border aling the bottom. The actual surface
             area was 48 feet by 102 feet. Original capacity was for 635 cars. Under the' screen was a small railway which
             ran children around a circular track. Alongside was a "chair-o-plane" style amusement ride in  addition to the
             regular swings and slides. The barbeque area encouraged diners to select their steak and it was grilled for them
             in the steak wagon. This area was decorated with wagon wheels, kerosene lamps and even steer skulls nailed
             to the posts.

             The snack bar was decorated in classic 1950's style and even boasted a WurliTzer Juke Box. Adjoining this
             was  the projection room which had a viewing window so patrons could  view the  goings-on in the box.  The
             curtains could always be drawn if the projectionist and assistant started to feel like performing seals.
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