Iconic images have a way of giving us a sense of shared experience, connectivity to people we’ve never met and places we’ve never seen. Even better than that pseudo-relationship is when that photo was taken in our own city, giving us the rare opportunity to look into the past and see exactly what was seen by Utahns before us.---
In 1958, LIFE photographer J.R. Eyerman took this shot of a Salt Lake City drive-in theater playing The Ten Commandments. In this photo, Eyerman captured so much of America’s culture, cars, movies, purple mountains majesty, it’s almost impossible to ignore the pangs of nostalgia.
Click the photo to zoom-in.
Eyerman's photograph was recently posted to the social media site Reddit, where Eyerman’s grandchild, a Redditor identified as dingit, stumbled across it and offered some historical insight to the picture and the photographer himself.
According to dingit, Eyerman chose this scenic drive-in in Salt Lake City because most drive-ins at the time were located in “bad parts of cities.” Eyerman’s daughter also pointed out that Eyerman filled the drive-in -- The Romantic Motor-Vu, on 3300 South, just below Wasatch Boulevard -- with BYU students by promising them a free movie.
The photography technique used by Eyerman was “one piece of film, two different exposures.”Basically, Eyerman chose the exact frame that he wanted in the shot and created a loop of it to run during the film’s second exposure. After BYU students parked their cars in the drive-in, Eyerman started shooting the first exposure at sunset. The second exposure came after night had fallen, the movie was over and the parking lot was emptied. Eyerman then used the same film to capture the loop of Charlton Heston, as Moses, lording over Salt Lake City.