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Greetings.

Wondering if anyone is aware of a link to an aerial of the old South Main Drive In near Stella Link and what is now Willowbend? Or any other old photos of it for that matter.

Thanks in advance,

Neil

Drive-ins.com has a photo of the South Main DI from the front. If you had the street address, you could enter it on GlobeExplorer.com and it might show a recent photo of the remnants, unless, like the Winkler DI, something was built all over the site (there's a Home Depot where the Winkler was).

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Drive-ins.com has a photo of the South Main DI from the front. If you had the street address, you could enter it on GlobeExplorer.com and it might show a recent photo of the remnants, unless, like the Winkler DI, something was built all over the site (there's a Home Depot where the Winkler was).

Well that's strange: when I go to www.Drive-Ins.com I keep getting the message that says:

<H1 id=textSection1 style="FONT: 13pt/15pt verdana; COLOR: black">The page cannot be displayed</H1>The page you are looking for is currently unavailable. The Web site might be experiencing technical difficulties, or you may need to adjust your browser settings.To attempt fixing network connectivity problems, click Tools, and then click "Diagnose Connection Problems..."

Is it just my machine or does anyone else have the same problem? Also, does anyone know the address of the old South Main Drive In? Wasn't it basically at the interestion of Stella Link and Willowbend Blvd (on the West side of Stella Link)?

Thanks again,

Neil

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Well that's strange: when I go to www.Drive-Ins.com I keep getting the message that says:

<H1 id=textSection1 style="FONT: 13pt/15pt verdana; COLOR: black">The page cannot be displayed</H1>The page you are looking for is currently unavailable. The Web site might be experiencing technical difficulties, or you may need to adjust your browser settings.To attempt fixing network connectivity problems, click Tools, and then click "Diagnose Connection Problems..."

Is it just my machine or does anyone else have the same problem? Also, does anyone know the address of the old South Main Drive In? Wasn't it basically at the interestion of Stella Link and Willowbend Blvd (on the West side of Stella Link)?

My fault. I didn't look at Drive-ins.com yesterday. I knew that it had been having problems. It's happened before. They eventually straighten it out.

I've learned that some public libraries have old telephone directories. If you find one from the 1950s/1960s, the yellow pages should have its physical address.

Thanks again,

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I found a modern view on google maps. You'll have to click full view image or "view image" feature on your browser to read the street names.

The red line is the train track that ran along side the drive-in. Willowbend was the back side of the drive-in.

I remember having to bicycle through a field to reach the back gate. The entrance would have been on the

south side of this photo, somewhere between the train tack and Stella Link, off of South Main, which was a simple,

four lane black road back then.

smd.JPGtxtsou501.jpg

Edited by devonhart
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Sure wish someone had pics of The Winkler Drive-In, but up close. All we saw was the far away aerial, which is better than nothing I guess. If only we knew what year it actually closed. Only a local kicking around at the time could divulge? I would assume judging by the design of the now gone Bill McDavid Oldsmobile Sales local next door could we determine? Remember it had that very tall slender neon sign on the edge of 45 with an arrow flickering to the top and the state of Texas would light up? The place appeared to have that early 60's modern Jetson's design. So maybe the theater was torn down around 1960? Hello out there Houstonians! Help! :blink:

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I wonder if it spent its last years showing only X-rated movies like some many of the other closed-down and demolished theatres did?

I know by 1972, they were showing what would be soft porn today. My teenaged buddies and I once climbed on top of a railcar parked on the track next to the South Main. We could seen the movie fine, but no sound. A HPD patrol car came up next to us, and we thought for sure we were going to busted for trespassing. I'm not even sure they saw us, they watched a few minutes then left.

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I saw Live and Let Die there in 1973. It was part of the ABC Theatre chain that also owned the Tower, Village, River Oaks and Alabama theatres. My dad was manager of the Village, so we got in free. I was four at the time and thought watchng a movie in the car was stupid.

There was also a big dump somewhere near there. We would call it a landfill today. There were mountains of garbage fifty feet high and hundreds of seagulls. The smell was like onions, old tires and urine. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world next to the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History.

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1965, traded my 65 GTO for the night to a friend with a 62 Rambler that burned a quart of oil every 30 minutes of engine running time. why?

the front seats reclined all the way back and I was taking the smokin' hot chick (I've now been married to for 38 years) to the South Main Drive in.

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I forgot that it was open as late as 73.. I've sure I've probably been

there when we first moved here, but for some reason I don't really

remember too much about the place. When McClendon triple opened,

I think we always went there instead. And that would make sense if

South Main starting showing porno flicks at that time..

I remember the Golf Course across the street better than I do that

drive in for some reason. I worked as a caddy at that course a

few times, and played on it a few times too.

I guess McClendon triple and Southmain were open at the same

time for a short while, as I seem to remember triple opening

pretty early in the 70's. I was there the opening night and I'm

sure I was still in Jr. Hi.. So that would be no later than 72-73.

MK

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I remember the Golf Course across the street better than I do that

drive in for some reason. I guess McClendon triple and Southmain were open at the same

time for a short while, as I seem to remember triple opening

pretty early in the 70's.

I remember the golf course, us kids would look for stray golf balls along the perimeter.

I remember seeing "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" at McLendon in 1971.

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I remember the golf course, us kids would look for stray golf balls along the perimeter.

I remember seeing "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" at McLendon in 1971.

Funny, and I remember seeing the 1st Planet of The Apes at The Broadway Theater 1968. Fantastic Voyage w/Raquel Welch was the flick afterwards. Double feature, (no pun intended) :blush:

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Sure wish someone had pics of The Winkler Drive-In, but up close. All we saw was the far away aerial, which is better than nothing I guess. If only we knew what year it actually closed. Only a local kicking around at the time could divulge? I would assume judging by the design of the now gone Bill McDavid Oldsmobile Sales local next door could we determine? Remember it had that very tall slender neon sign on the edge of 45 with an arrow flickering to the top and the state of Texas would light up? The place appeared to have that early 60's modern Jetson's design. So maybe the theater was torn down around 1960? Hello out there Houstonians! Help! :blink:

I'm with you. I've been hoping for about two or three years that I could find someone with a photo of the Winkler Drive-In Theatre. No, it wasn't torn down around 1960 because we went there from 1962-64. I thought someone on another topic/thread said that he was driving down Winkler drive recently and he saw that there still stood an old rusty sign with an arrow pointing saying "Winkler Drive-In Theatre."

If you or anyone else is driving down that way in the near future, maybe you could look for it. If it is still there, maybe you can take a photo of it and post it where we all can see it.

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I thought someone on another topic/thread said that he was driving down Winkler drive recently and he saw that there still stood an old rusty sign with an arrow pointing saying "Winkler Drive-In Theatre."

That would be a miracle. Yep, we all need to see a pic of that, but I am at 99% sure its impossible. That this sign would still be around here. There has been so much developement around since, theres no way. I'm afraid all remnants of the place are under tons and tons of debris in the landfill. :(

Mclendon Triple was by far the most visited one for us. It was a long drive but that was part of the fun. Telephone Road Drive-In and Gulfway were 2/3rd choice. The real fun was meeting other kids from those parts of the city. Normal teenage stuff but fun.

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Mclendon Triple was by far the most visited one for us. It was a long drive but that was part of the fun. Telephone Road Drive-In and Gulfway were 2/3rd choice. The real fun was meeting other kids from those parts of the city. Normal teenage stuff but fun.

It was basically a party every monday night for us around the high school

years. That was dollar night. And even then, half the time people would be

hiding in trunks sneaking in.

No one really watched the movies too close. We were too busy walking from

car to car checking out the action. :) Most sat out in lawn chairs, etc..

Basically a big tailgate party..

MK

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  • 2 months later...
We used to go there with our baby daughter in the 60's....it was a great place to go because we could watch a movie, while our baby slept in the back seat of the car.

You were lucky. Most babies would cry their heads off while at a drive-in movie theatre. On YouTube.com, there's some vintage drive-in theatre intermission commercials. One of them said that free bottle warmer service for babies was free at the concession stand.

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You were lucky. Most babies would cry their heads off while at a drive-in movie theatre. On YouTube.com, there's some vintage drive-in theatre intermission commercials. One of them said that free bottle warmer service for babies was free at the concession stand.

Probably already mentioned here were that all walk in Theaters had a "Cry Room" in th back. We always asked mom why the tiny room back there had about 3-4 rows of seating and a glass wall in front. Too cool!

(if you could tolerate the loud crying) :wacko:

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Probably already mentioned here were that all walk in Theaters had a "Cry Room" in th back. We always asked mom why the tiny room back there had about 3-4 rows of seating and a glass wall in front. Too cool!

(if you could tolerate the loud crying) :wacko:

Just my belief, out of common courtesy, I've always believed that people with infants shouldn't take them to an indoor movie. That's as inconsiderate as sticking a piece of chewing gum underneath the seat.

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  • 10 months later...

I found this great website today when I googled the South Main Drive-In. There seemed to be some confustion of it's location on an old string.

The South Main was located at Stella Link and South Main with the back bordered by Willowbend. There was a dirt road that cut off to make the front right entrance & exit to the left of the screen. I grew up on Woodhaven which was the last residential street off of Stella Link before Willowbend. Our house had a back driveway on Willowbend. We watched literally thousands of movies from 1958-1971 from our upstairs picture window that was in perfect alignment to the screen. It was awsome.

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We watched literally thousands of movies from 1958-1971 from our upstairs picture window that was in perfect alignment to the screen. It was awsome.

Fortunately, I think you just missed the soft porn days. I know they showed James Bond's "Diamonds are Forever" in late 71/early 72. Shortly after that it went downhill. I remember getting to see the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns in a double feature there in the late 60s. I had been too young to catch when they first came out.

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I found this great website today when I googled the South Main Drive-In. There seemed to be some confustion of it's location on an old string.

The South Main was located at Stella Link and South Main with the back bordered by Willowbend. There was a dirt road that cut off to make the front right entrance & exit to the left of the screen. I grew up on Woodhaven which was the last residential street off of Stella Link before Willowbend. Our house had a back driveway on Willowbend. We watched literally thousands of movies from 1958-1971 from our upstairs picture window that was in perfect alignment to the screen. It was awsome.

You are absolutely correct in your location and description. I hope we can lay that confusion to rest.

I'll confess, I was always jealous of those living in the houses across the back of the theater and wondered what you did to hear the sound clearly. I recall the speakers around the sitting area at the concession stand were not that loud. I hope the bouncing blue VW with the fogged up windows (often near the back) row did not distract you. My steady girl (now wife of 41 years) frequented the theather in the mid sixties. We actually did see parts of the movies sometimes...har har.

My first disappointed in life was at the South Main back in the fifties. They had a kiddie train in front of the theather entrance with a sign saying Disney characters could be seen inside the tunnel. Heck, I was only 5 or so and was expecting live characters. The pictures of Mickey Mouse painted on the inside of the tunnel wall did not impress me at all.

If anyone runs across good aerial photos of this south main area up through Playland, please post info.

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You are absolutely correct in your location and description. I hope we can lay that confusion to rest.

I'll confess, I was always jealous of those living in the houses across the back of the theater and wondered what you did to hear the sound clearly. I recall the speakers around the sitting area at the concession stand were not that loud. I hope the bouncing blue VW with the fogged up windows (often near the back) row did not distract you. My steady girl (now wife of 41 years) frequented the theather in the mid sixties. We actually did see parts of the movies sometimes...har har.

My first disappointed in life was at the South Main back in the fifties. They had a kiddie train in front of the theather entrance with a sign saying Disney characters could be seen inside the tunnel. Heck, I was only 5 or so and was expecting live characters. The pictures of Mickey Mouse painted on the inside of the tunnel wall did not impress me at all.

If anyone runs across good aerial photos of this south main area up through Playland, please post info.

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My siblings & I would walk up Stella Link to the entrance & they would let us in for free. Amazing what we used to could do as children back then. We would walk to the back rows & turn the speakers up all the way. Alot depended on the direction of the wind but we are talking backyard, 2 lane road & wide back end of the drive-in.

I loved Playland park. That rollercoaster was great! And the pony rides at KiddieLand.

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Good memories here!

When I was little we lived in Townwood for a few years, and went here almost every weekend. It wasn't such a big deal back then, it was either there or Meyerland if you wanted to see a show. My parents not wanting to put up with a squirmy kid in a theater, normaly choose the drive-in.

As we were driving in, I would hide under a quilt in the back the old Ford station wagon we had. I never stayed well hidden, I know he saw me several times but never seemed to care.

The last movie I remember actually watching was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid, but know we went to see countless others. I was always too busy playing

with the neighbors kids, who we would often go to the show with.

BTW- There is still a drive-in open! It's just a few miles south of Dallas on I45, I've passed by it many times.

Regards,

Rhino

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Good memories here!

When I was little we lived in Townwood for a few years, and went here almost every weekend. It wasn't such a big deal back then, it was either there or Meyerland if you wanted to see a show. My parents not wanting to put up with a squirmy kid in a theater, normaly choose the drive-in.

As we were driving in, I would hide under a quilt in the back the old Ford station wagon we had. I never stayed well hidden, I know he saw me several times but never seemed to care.

The last movie I remember actually watching was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid, but know we went to see countless others. I was always too busy playing

with the neighbors kids, who we would often go to the show with.

BTW- There is still a drive-in open! It's just a few miles south of Dallas on I45, I've passed by it many times.

Regards,

Rhino

FYI; We have one in Tomball.

http://www.theshowboatdrivein.com/

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  • 3 weeks later...
My siblings & I would walk up Stella Link to the entrance & they would let us in for free. Amazing what we used to could do as children back then. We would walk to the back rows & turn the speakers up all the way. Alot depended on the direction of the wind but we are talking backyard, 2 lane road & wide back end of the drive-in.

I loved Playland park. That rollercoaster was great! And the pony rides at KiddieLand.

Hey Carol802,

I think I can see your house from here:

http://www.historicaerials.com/?poi=3380

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Oh that is a great map site!! Thanks so much.

If you zoom in on the last residential street before Willowbend (Woodhaven) you'll see a car in the back driveway of the 7th house from down from Stella Link and our house was the 8th. We moved in August of 1958.

The complex to the west side of the drive-in was an industrial warehouse & self storage warehouse type of place (best I remember) and south-west was the old mansion-casino.

Does anyone know if that place was built to be a casino or was an older home redone?

I saved that map website & I'm going surfing! Thanks again.

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In the 1957 photos I can see where the land for 610 (crossing Stella Link) is vacant. If you look north past the drive-in and up Stella Link you will see where W. Belfort cut through and (I think) Corpus Christi Cath church & school. That area was pretty vacant & I remember it that way when riding my bike to school.

When you go further north you will see the circle drive for Shearn Elementary and one row of houses facing the school. Behind them you will see the vacant 610 land. When they started mounding the foundation for the overpass we had the best times on our bikes.

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Hey Carol802,

I think I can see your house from here:

http://www.historicaerials.com/?poi=3380

Wow. This site is fascinating. I spent almost entire day yesterday studying the old aerials of Houston and then comparing them to more recent ones. For an old native Houstonian like me who has been away for well over forty years now, this site opens up some incredible opportunities.

I'm very happy that someone started up this topic, because I'm really enjoying the posts here. I lived on O'Meara Street in Westwood from 1958 to 1964 before my family moved to Spring Branch and then on to Central Texas in 1967 (I started Kindergarten at Shearn Elementary in 1959 when the school itself was probably only five years old). I remember seeing "The Longest Day" at the South Main Drive In way back in the early 1960's. I also remember being eaten alive by mosquitoes during such excursions!

Thank you so very much for sharing this link!

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That is a cool picture. You can see where Old Main Street intersects on the right. What is the structure immediately to the west of the theater?

That's Brochsteins I'm pretty sure. I don't know how long they have been at that location,

but they have been around since 1935 according to their website.

I vaguely remember a girl at school who I think her dad owned that company.

That was at Johnston Jr. High about 1970 or so.. Actually a friend of mine knew

her a lot better than I did.. We once rode by there on our bikes one day and

he mentioned that her dad owned the place.

http://www.brochsteins.com/

If you look at more recent pictures, you will notice a mass of buildings across

from the old gambling joint on Old Main. That is pro-mark, the drum stick people..

They have been around quite a while. I remember I often used pro-mark drumsticks

when I was in the band at Johnston.. That was 30+ years ago..

A lot of new companies seem to be springing up around there. One on top of the old

gambling joint site.

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DOOHH! :o

I'm taking the kids to see Bolt Friday night, now! Not a one of them has any idea what a drive-in even is, this will be too cool.

Thanks for the tip.

How long has it been there?

RhinoVP,

Did you ever make it to the Showboat drive in movie? I know it was pretty cold the Friday after you posted this reply. If you have, please share your experience with us and in particular how your kids liked (or didn't like) it.

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RhinoVP,

Did you ever make it to the Showboat drive in movie? I know it was pretty cold the Friday after you posted this reply. If you have, please share your experience with us and in particular how your kids liked (or didn't like) it.

We never went out there. The kids thought the whole idea just sounded stupid, and wanted nothing to do with it!

:o Sit in the car........ Watch a movie.........IN THE CAR!

We have theaters now you know!

The wife and I are going to one day, but it won't be with the kids.

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There was also one at Holmes Road @ S. Main/Hiram Clarke. It is now a motorhome park.

Another DOOOOHH!! :lol:

I thought that was the one we were talking about?!?!

I didn't realize there were two, so close together. They were just a couple of blocks apart.

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Another DOOOOHH!! :lol:

I thought that was the one we were talking about?!?!

I didn't realize there were two, so close together. They were just a couple of blocks apart.

I did too at first until I read the 1st description again closely. In fact, I cannot picture where that was and might have to do a drive-by to jar my memory.

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I did too at first until I read the 1st description again closely. In fact, I cannot picture where that was and might have to do a drive-by to jar my memory.

There's a post above saying "carol, I think I can see your house" (and you can) and it has the best aerial shot of the drive-in area in the late 50's.

Guess you have to be a baby boomer to remember the S.Main at it's peak. Just the concept of the drive-in seems alien to todays kids (anyone under 35). I don't know that I would be going to one today. I don't even go to the indoor cinemas anymore with the luxury of home use dvds and large screen hd tvs, remotes with pause (and no lines at my bathroom or snackbar)!! Good question for an anthropologist. Did our culture kill the drive-ins or did the demise of the drive-ins change the culture?

The S. Main Drive-in (if memory correct) was the first drive-in in Texas and was built in 1942(?). I'm fuzzy and am cheating at not looking it back up this moment but I will. At the time it (and the gambling casino, that I imagined was Tara) were out in the middle of nowhere between true Houston and Sugarland. Not sure when the pie shaped 9 hole golf course bordered by what would become the extension of W. Belfort, S. Main (entrance) and Stella Link was developed or when it disappeared.(I had thought the "links" were named after some woman named Stella till a new found website friend told me about the old railway stops). The golf course was there when I moved to the area at 5 and was still there when I moved in 71.

It was on it's way out as a mainstream family drive-in by the early-mid 70's and was going the way of the Red Bluff in Pasadena and was showing soft porn (by today's standard there wasn't anything different than you would see in a pushing the limit R movie today). They put up a tall steel fence about that time but it couldn't overcome my younger brother's ability to look out the upstairs back window. I don't know when they tore it down but it was a visual concept shock to me to see the industrial park there.

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  • The title was changed to South Main Drive-In Theater At 11510 South Main St.

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