General Question

dalepetrie's avatar

Very arcane, possibly impossible to answer movie question.

Asked by dalepetrie (18007points) June 16th, 2009

OK, first off, this might not even be a movie I’m looking for, it could be some promotional film, TV show, or who knows. Second of all, I could could relatively easily find the answer to this question with one phone call, but it sure would be a lot more fun if someone here can answer the question for me.

OK, so I live in St. Paul, MN, and one of the mainstays of the east side of town is called the Dari-ette Drive In. It is a genuine 1950s style (as it was actually opened in 1955 and hasn’t changed), drive-in…you know, where you can actually pull up to a speaker and order from your car? It was featured on an episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, you may have seen it (though I can’t find a video of it online), and just so I don’t have to describe it, here’s a picture. Basically it’s like a Dairy Queen, only with much higher quality ice cream, and delicious Italian food (one secret, they deep fry their meatballs). It’s the kind of place that’s been in one family for 3 generations now, and it’s kind of a landmark of the area.

Anyway, I was dining here recently, and on their walls in a couple of places they have this photo of the outside of the restaurant, which at first glance seems like it could be THE iconic photo of the 50s drive in, or at least THIS 50s drive in. All the cars are 50s era, the lot is full and cars are parked in front of the restaurant as well. Carhops are taking orders, people are milling around, all wearing 50s era clothing and hairdos, and what I didn’t notice at first was that this car, possibly a ‘57 Chevy (I’m, not a car guy, could be WAY off on this, but it was a long 50’s style car anyway), cherry red, was pulling out of the restaurant, but the kicker was, the driver had his window open, and he was talking to a cop who was standing outside the car at the driver’s window peeking in from above. There was a cop car parked behind him kind of right in the middle of the lot and the cop car door was open. The officer was wearing a tan uniform and hat. I thought, “what an interesting happening to capture”.

But then I looked at the napkin holder on my table…it too had pictures of the restaurant, encased in plastic, which made the finer details of the picture kind of hard to pick out. But on the napkin holder was the same photo, except, it was kind of like one of those things they put in the newspaper…spot the differences. What caught my eye was that the police officer in this picture was standing not facing into the window of the parked car, but facing the camera. What really stuck out to me though was that he was NOT wearing a tan uniform, but a white top and black slacks, and I believe no hat. I looked into the car and neither the driver nor the passenger was in the car. I looked and every single car, from the ones that were parked in the lot, to the ones that were parked on the street were the same and in the same places, the menu board said the same thing, some of the same people were in similar spots. But the focal point of the scene was different. And on closer inspection when I looked at the outer edges of the photograph, I could see that it was taken from several feet further back, and you could see more of the periphery. In that extra space, particularly on the right hand side of the photograph, I could see several dozen people who looked to be spectators standing behind a cordoned off area. And in the foreground of the photo to the far right, I could see movie cameras…the big old style ones with the huge film canisters on top, the type that recorded the images right onto the film.

So, clearly, at some point, someone had set this scene up and had filmed “something”, probably a movie, but perhaps something else, with the parking lot of this establishment as the backdrop to a scene where someone was being pulled over right at the exit to the establishment. I would assume that the cop in the picture at my table was an actual St. Paul cop, leaving his real car behind to be used as a prop in the movie, and this was probably just before they brought out actors, one of whom was wearing a tan police uniform, to take their places in and beside the car. It was an interesting before and after scene, but it raised more questions than it gave answers. And of course, I have to wonder, what movie is this from? Now, I could have asked the proprietors, being family owned, there’s almost always one of the owners on site, but I thought, hey…maybe some film buff on Fluther actually saw this movie, possibly without even knowing where the film was set, just that they might remember a scene in a a movie where the setting was the parking lot of a 1950s drive in and someone was being pulled over in their cherry red car while exiting the lot. So, anyone?

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35 Answers

gymnastchick729's avatar

huh…? I don’t think there is an answer.

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, if there was a movie filmed here, maybe someone has seen it and remembers this scene. Clearly something was filmed here, I’m just thinking it would be much cooler to get the answer from someone who just happens to have seen the movie, rather than by talking to the owners who could surely tell me.

augustlan's avatar

The only thing that comes to mind and is probably completely wrong is The Blob.

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, let me check that out.

dalepetrie's avatar

Appears the Blob was filmed entirely in Pennsylvania.

Well, I don’t expect I’ll get an answer, but keep trying and thanks for the attempt! In fact, even if someone knows a way to find a listing of filming locations by state/city, that would possibly help…I personally couldn’t find such a thing.

mcs's avatar

Maybe “Route 66”? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0690424/

You can query IMDB by location, but looks like you can only specify the state, so there’s about 950 for MN.

Zaku's avatar

Fun question, and interesting, but… how about asking the people who work at and/or own the drive-in?

dalepetrie's avatar

@Zaku – well, if you read my question (sorry if that sounds snarky), or my first quip in response to the first answer to my question, I said very specifically…I could ask the owners, but I thought it would be a lot more fun if I happened upon someone who had actually seen it or knew the answer.

@mcs – I’ll check that out…thanks for the link.

whatthefluther's avatar

@dalepetrie…Very good description….I actually recreated the scene in my mind from your words. And there are several movies that are potentials. My first guess is Route 66 as @mcs pointed out (its the most familiar), but I’ll give it some thought. I’m thinking maybe an Elvis movie?

Zaku's avatar

@dalepetrie – Good point, sorry. I did read most of it and thought it was a great question, but I guess I overlooked or forgot that you mentioned that idea already.

dalepetrie's avatar

@Zaku – no problem…like I said, not trying to be snarky, I just figured you hadn’t read the whole thing!

@whatthefluther & @mcs – it could possibly be, I do see 3 episodes list Minneapolis as filming location, so it’s feasible. I’m going to see if I can find the actual picture, maybe that will lead to the answer.

breedmitch's avatar

I cheated and called them [(651) 776–3470].

Darwin's avatar

@breedmitch – So if you called them, what did they say?

whatthefluther's avatar

@breedmitch…So? Pray tell?
Don’t make me call them, please (you tease)

dalepetrie's avatar

Yes, what did they say?

augustlan's avatar

I considered calling them, but I can’t believe you actually did it!

breedmitch's avatar

It’s terribly anticlimactic. The kid on the phone asked his mom (Angela, I think) who couldn’t think of any movies but she did know of some filming of commercials that were done (really doesn’t explain the cop car paradox). It was all a very rushed and they sounded busy and I didn’t want to take up too much of their time. I was really hoping that the person on the phone would just have said “Yeah, they filmed [blank] here” and I could report back, but it didn’t go down that way.
I bet I’ve got them thinking about it now and I’m sure if you called and took the time to mention the picture and cop car and such I might have jarred their memory.
Sorry.

dalepetrie's avatar

I thought the cop car thing really didn’t fit for a commercial either. Maybe some time when I’m in there, I should grab the napkin holder and point out which picture. They are a pretty hopping joint, so I’m not surprised. Thanks for calling anyway.

andrew's avatar

Can you take a picture of the picture with your cell phone and post it?

dalepetrie's avatar

Next time I’m there I will take a pic, though I think I’ll just use my digital camera…it’s much higher quality, and much easier to upload. Might be a while, but I’m sure next time I’m there I’ll remember when I see the pic.

See, now wasn’t this a lot more fun than if I’d just asked them?

whatthefluther's avatar

@dalepetrie….Well, I certainly had fun trying to remember scenes from Route 66 and period movies with stars like Elvis, James Dean, Marlon Brando, etc. I also Googled the joint, saw some pics and some pretty good reviews. And now I know approximately where you experience those extremely cold temperatures you reported in response to a recent question. Which also reinforced why I’m so glad I live in L.A.

dalepetrie's avatar

Yeah, it does get cold up here, but St. Paul isn’t “too” bad. Not like 3 1/2 hours north where I grew up…the kind of place where it would hit 40 below and stay there for 2 or 3 weeks solid every goddamn winter.

whatthefluther's avatar

@dalepetrie….I just had a sympathy shiver…it was, thankfully, brief!

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, I moved and left that all behind me. Sure, I still have a few days of subzero temps to deal with every year, 3 or 4 bad snowstorms, etc., but St. Paul is really an AMAZING place to live, no matter WHAT you’re into.

kruger_d's avatar

I’m 5 hours north. Shiver for me.

dalepetrie's avatar

@kruger_d – still in Moorhead? I imagine there was very little shivering going on anywhere in Minnesota yesterday. Can’t believe 3 dozen marathon runners in Duluth of all places were sent to the hospital due to the heat!

kruger_d's avatar

Yes, but I will take sympathy anywhere I can get it.
Besides, Littlefork is 10 miles from Canada,and it’s now unheard of to have snow in June.

dalepetrie's avatar

@kruger_d, just a guess, “now” = “not”? My mother who has lived in MN all but about 10 years of her life (she’s from Embarrass, if you think Littlefork is cold, go there some time), said the only month she’s NEVER seen snow in is August.

andrew's avatar

Ahem. Still waiting for that picture.

dalepetrie's avatar

@andrew – I’ll try to get there this week. I don’t usually go there THAT often, but if not this week, for sure next I’ll make a point of stopping by.

dalepetrie's avatar

@andrew – as promised, “here’s” a link to the pictures, both the picture they have on their wall depicting this 50’s scene, and the further back picture showing the film crew.

dalepetrie's avatar

@Augustlan- thanks for pointing that out, here is the link (I wonder what the *#&! happened, it was there when I hit ctrl v)

andrew's avatar

@dalepetrie One thing to note… that camera in the lower right (at least from what I can see) looks to be more of a large-format still camera rather than a film camera.

Now I’m leaning that this was a posed still shoot rather than a movie shoot—since it’s quite strange to me that they would reshoot the same scene with different wardrobe.

dalepetrie's avatar

Ahh, OK, I didn’t know that much about cameras. I saw the shape of what looked to be the film canister and it looked to me like there were reels of film. That makes a lot more sense actually. I know the quality isn’t perfect, kind of hard no matter how good your camera is to take a picture of a 3×5 picture that’s encased in acrylic.

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