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Monday, December 29, 2014

I promised the boss that I wouldn’t do another television review, but I made a discovery that is so pertinent to drive-in movies that I had to disclose it to everyone. If you are like me and your longing for the drive-in intensifies right after Christmas, then I have found the ideal solution and it is probably already in your listing of hundreds of cable television channels.

In the Godzilla nerd community, of which I am a very active member, there has been talk of a Christmas Day marathon of Godzilla movies on television on some, what I considered to be, obscure cable channel. For years I have looked for this marathon, but I never could find it.

Then on Christmas Day, I finished my fifth consecutive viewing of Ralphie Parker and his Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot air rifle and decided to see what else was on. To my glorious surprise, I found the Godzilla marathon and it was on the El Rey Network. My mother was watching the El Rey Network with me on Christmas Day and I was instantly transported back to the front bench seat of my mom’s 1976 Chevy Nova, to the days when I was a wee lad and the drive-in meant everything to me. All these years later, the only thing that has changed is that I am a little taller than I used to be.

Those were the days when my mom, my brother and I would sit and watch hours of what I know damn well were guilty pleasure movies for her as my mother and I have very similar tastes in movies. At that moment, the El Rey Network became a permanent part of my life.

On Sunday I gleefully watched a piece of 1970’s cheese called Frogs. It was deliciously awful and reminded me of the hundreds of drive-in movies I had seen in my childhood. Movies about killer ants, huge spiders and the living dead wandering through city streets suddenly came rushing back to me and I knew exactly what this week’s column was going to be about.

The El Rey Network is channel 341 on DirecTV and, unfortunately, that is the only way to get the channel in WNY (unless you count the El Rey Network’s YouTube Channel, which is pretty comprehensive). Is it a coincidence that I happen to subscribe to the one cable television service in the area that carries the premier drive-in movie network? Of course not. Even I catch a break once in a while.

The El Rey Network’s main title card for network promotions is a drive-in movie marquee and the network loves to promote and show cheesy, 1970’s double features. In reality, that is all you need to know about the El Rey Network to really appreciate it.

After watching the network for a little while, it occurred to me that these guys take the drive-in as seriously as I do because they have original programming that is designed specifically for the drive-in movie fan. Have you ever heard of Robert Rodriguez? Drive-in movie fans and fans of Quentin Tarantino know Robert Rodriguez. To his credit are movies such as Machete and the Planet Terror segment of Tarantino’s drive-in Grindhouse double feature, which are modern drive-in masterpieces.

Rodriguez hosts a series on the El Rey Network where he talks to directors such as John Carpenter, Quentin Tarantino and Guillermo Del Toro about making drive-in movies. In all honesty, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Is it worth it to drop Time Warner or Dish Network to get DirecTV and the El Rey Network? Well, I am not at liberty to give away advertising but … yes. If you love the drive-in and have wondered how you will pass those empty hours in the dead of winter, then the El Rey Network is your answer.

I have never seen anything like the El Rey Network before and I am so glad it exists. I have seen networks that tried to throw together double features and call themselves drive-in networks, but no one has ever put the care and work into appealing to drive-in fans like the El Rey Network. It is the best way I have ever seen to beat the winter drive-in blues and it is also great for triggering memories that you hold so dear.

George N Root III is a drive-in fanatic and ecstatic discoverer of the El Rey Network. His column appears every week and he promises no more television reviews for a long time.

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1 comment:

  1. Cool article on a great channel. FYI we live in Newfane and El Rey is channel 145 on our Time Warner digital cable.


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