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From the heartland to Hollywood

On the Oscar road: Talkies at the Tascosa

CNN Headline News' Kendis Gibson has reached the Tascosa Drive-In at Amarillo, Texas -- now showing
CNN Headline News' Kendis Gibson has reached the Tascosa Drive-In at Amarillo, Texas -- now showing "The Time Machine."  


By Kendis Gibson
CNN Headline News

Editor's note: In our Behind the Scenes series, CNN correspondents share their experiences in covering news around the world.

AMARILLO, Texas (CNN) -- It seemed like monsoon season in Oklahoma as we set out on the third leg of our cross-country journey to the Oscars.

Armed with our video cam, we're talking with people about their Academy Awards favorites.

Lunchtime found us at a beauty school on Route 66. A few of the ladies put down their combs long enough to tell us that Nicole Kidman and Will Smith are among their top picks. She's up for best actress for her work in "Moulin Rouge," he's nominated for best actor in the title role of "Ali."

We popped the "Grease" soundtrack CD into the player for our own rendition of "Beauty School Dropout."

Now showing after dark

  ON THE OSCAR ROAD
  Day 1:  Crawfish, Mentos and best pics

  Day 2:  A stop in 'Spacek City'

  Day 3:  Talkies at the Tascosa

  Day 4:  Day 4: Dams and damsels

We then drove through one hell of a storm and finally rolled into Amarillo, Texas, and its Tascosa Drive-In on Dumas Highway. This is one of a dwindling number of drive-in theaters still in operation.

Rhett Butler Burns (yes, that's his name) runs the place. He showed us the Tascosa's classic 1941 projector -- a maze of hooks and turns through which a strip of film runs before the audience sees the projected image up on the big screen.

But the nostalgia ends at that venerable projector: The films are a lot more current.

And as for the Oscar-nominated movies?

"We didn't play 'A Beautiful Mind' here," he says, in reference to Ron Howard's Academy-nominated heavy that's in contest with "Gosford Park," "In the Bedroom," "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" and "Moulin Rouge" for best picture.

Actually, Burns says, the Tascosa didn't screen any of those other best-picture contenders, either. They're just not in demand with many moviegoers in those parts, Burns tells us. This week, the new Guy Pearce-starring "The Time Machine" is running after dusk.

After this nostalgic stop, we put the "Moulin Rouge" soundtrack into the DVD player and leave the rain behind as we set off for Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Five hours, 200 miles and one Headline News live-shot later, we're ready to grab a few hours of sleep before starting another 20-hour day.

Watch Kendis Gibson's reports from the road to Oscar, daily on CNN Headline News.






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