Googie Inspired Holiday Drive-In Marquee


"The Holiday Drive-In Marquee was built in 1953. It was moved to its present location in 1969, and a second signboard was added in 1970. Drive-in signs in America tended to be of two main varieties: a marquee sign of neon and blinking lights, or signage painted on the back of the movie screen. The marquee type represented by the Holiday Marquee usually had the following features: location on a site which separated the entrance and exit lanes; signboards with removable letters to advertise the current features; directional arrows to indicate the entrance (in case a motorist missed it); and neon and blinking lights to further draw attention to the sign. The latter feature was a typical design element from the 1950s and '60s.


During this period, Americans were enthusiastically anticipating the future. Space travel was experienced, and architects envisioned what the "future world" would look like. They began designing buildings with huge "caddy-like" tail-fins, pronounced shapes, and boomerang angles. Signage associated with this era, often called "googie" after a Sunset Strip coffee shop of the 1960s, attempted to show that the business owners were up to date and ready for the future. Characteristics of "googie" signage include the utilization of different types of shapes to make up a sign. For example, sometimes an oval, rectangle, and boomerang arrow made up a marquee. They were giant "look-at-me" signs with diagonal lines, starbursts, and cutouts. The goal of googie was eye-catching eccentricity which caused motorists to take notice. It defined roadside architecture, and was popular with cheap highway drive-ins. The style peaked between 1954 and 1964 and just as quickly fell out of favor. With stricter design standards, most communities have forced the removal of googie signs. The Holiday Drive-In Marquee anticipated this movement with its red neon letters, green blinking arrow with curved end, and juxtaposition of shapes at the top of the sign. Although not the most avant-garde of googie signage in Boulder, it is one of the last remaining. More significantly, it is the last architectural feature of the drive-in movie industry in Boulder." (Boulder Outdoor Cinema)