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Historic Houston Closed-down Drive-in Theatres


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I think that was probably the old McLendon Tri-plex Drive-In. I don't think that is considered S. Main. I grew up in that area and S. Main was more west closer to S. Post Oak. I don't ever remember going to the S. Main Drive-In. I think it was closed already when I was a kid.

The trick now is finding out what Old Fort Bend Rd. is or was at the time. It doesn't exist anymore and no reference of it on the net that I could find. A good ol' fashioned library would probably be the best recource.

I do remember a multi-screen drive-in at the southeast corner of the intersection of South Main (90A) and Hiram Clarke. I think maybe built in the 60's.

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sevfiv.... Thanks for verifying what I had stated. I always envied the people who lived in the houses on Willowbend, right behind that drive-in. They could sit on their front porches and watch the

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I do remember a multi-screen drive-in at the southeast corner of the intersection of South Main (90A) and Hiram Clarke. I think maybe built in the 60's.

When I've done research on closed down drive-in theatres, I would go to a public library and look for old city directories and/or telephone directories from the time that certain theatres were open. On DriveIns.Com there are photographs of the South Main and the Shepherd Drive-In theatres.

If any of you find out actual physical addresses of any of those drive-in theatres, just click on "Submit A Factual Update" and enter the infomation that you found.

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alrighty - the address for the south main drive-in theater was 11510 south main (for some relativity, playland park was at 9201 main).

sevfiv.... Thanks for verifying what I had stated. I always envied the people who lived in the houses on Willowbend, right behind that drive-in. They could sit on their front porches and watch the movies...with no sound though. I remember parking my car on Willowbend and watching what must have been one of the first closed-circuit television broadcasts of a world champion heavyweight boxing match between Floyd Patterson and Roy Harris, who was from the small East Texas, piney woods town of Cut-and-Shoot. I think that was in the late 50's.

There was a facility by the name of Brochstein's that was just south, across the railroad tracks, from the drive-in. They had a big light shining on their sign that was distracting if you parked in a particular area to watch the movie. Wonder if it's still there.

Since you have a 1955 directory, how about looking up the address of the old Post Oak Drive-in that was on Post Oak about where the Galleria is now. That was another drive-in I went to regularly. I think it was still in operation in 1955. The old KPRC-TV studios were in the same area.

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sevfiv.... Thanks for verifying what I had stated. I always envied the people who lived in the houses on Willowbend, right behind that drive-in. They could sit on their front porches and watch the movies...with no sound though. I remember parking my car on Willowbend and watching what must have been one of the first closed-circuit television broadcasts of a world champion heavyweight boxing match between Floyd Patterson and Roy Harris, who was from the small East Texas, piney woods town of Cut-and-Shoot. I think that was in the late 50's.

There was a facility by the name of Brochstein's that was just south, across the railroad tracks, from the drive-in. They had a big light shining on their sign that was distracting if you parked in a particular area to watch the movie. Wonder if it's still there.

Since you have a 1955 directory, how about looking up the address of the old Post Oak Drive-in that was on Post Oak about where the Galleria is now. That was another drive-in I went to regularly. I think it was still in operation in 1955. The old KPRC-TV studios were in the same area.

Like I said, you can log on to DriveIns.Com and click on "Submit A Factual Update" on any drive-in movie theatre. A lot of them list either approximate and/or inaccurate street addresses. If you find the correct physical addresses, if you'll update them, you'll satisfy a lot of people out there who want to know about the drive-ins that they went to in their youth. For example, the theatre that I'm trying to find out information about (the Winkler) was listed as being located on Winkler Drive at Telephone Road. Then one person on this forum found out that it was located at 205 Winkler Drive where a Home Depot is at now. I found out on a map search that it was actually located on the corner of Winkler Drive and Flowers Street, which is east of where Winkler Drive intersects with Telephone Road.

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the post oak drive-in was at 2900 south post oak, which is right about where williams (transco) tower sits now. kprc was at 3014 south post oak (which would be behind the waterwall at hidalgo street).

i have been trying to add pictures and now addresses to drive-ins.com if i have em :)

Edited by sevfiv
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the post oak drive-in was at 2900 south post oak, which is right about where williams (transco) tower sits now. kprc was at 3014 south post oak (which would be behind the waterwall at hidalgo street).

i have been trying to add pictures and now addresses to drive-ins.com if i have em :)

I just looked on DriveIns.Com. It lists the "Post Oak II Drive-In". It says that it was located at 1255 North Post Oak Road. Is this one different from the one that you're talking about? Someone named Nancy Burnett posted a comment which said that on the screen was a mural of a black duck named Dinky. Could this be a "sister" of the drive-in that you're referring to?

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I think that was probably the old McLendon Tri-plex Drive-In. I don't think that is considered S. Main. I grew up in that area and S. Main was more west closer to S. Post Oak. I don't ever remember going to the S. Main Drive-In. I think it was closed already when I was a kid.

The trick now is finding out what Old Fort Bend Rd. is or was at the time. It doesn't exist anymore and no reference of it on the net that I could find. A good ol' fashioned library would probably be the best recource.

I looked on some old maps and couldn't find Old Fort Bend Rd., but I'm guessing it was just South Main continued out to Missouri City. A 1956 map shows that about the only main roads headed southwest were South Main, Richmond (now Bissonnet), and Aldine/Westheimer (now Westpark). It is interesting that most of the roads from Fondren west are listed as being gravel/shell, rather than paved.

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I looked on some old maps and couldn't find Old Fort Bend Rd., but I'm guessing it was just South Main continued out to Missouri City. A 1956 map shows that about the only main roads headed southwest were South Main, Richmond (now Bissonnet), and Aldine/Westheimer (now Westpark). It is interesting that most of the roads from Fondren west are listed as being gravel/shell, rather than paved.

Well, 1956 was the year that President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act. After that, roadways improved due to Federal aid. Those streets to which you refer might have been gravel/shell back then, then they were paved with Federal aid. Just a conjecture.

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I just looked on DriveIns.Com. It lists the "Post Oak II Drive-In". It says that it was located at 1255 North Post Oak Road. Is this one different from the one that you're talking about? Someone named Nancy Burnett posted a comment which said that on the screen was a mural of a black duck named Dinky. Could this be a "sister" of the drive-in that you're referring to?

Don't recall any drive-in called the Post Oak II, or any, that far north on Post Oak. Doesn't mean there wasn't one though. sevfiv confirmed the location of the one I used to go to.

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I remember parking my car on Willowbend and watching what must have been one of the first closed-circuit television broadcasts of a world champion heavyweight boxing match between Floyd Patterson and Roy Harris, who was from the small East Texas, piney woods town of Cut-and-Shoot. I think that was in the late 50's.

8-18-58. Here's a little info on Harris.

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  • 2 weeks later...
How about another drive-in I know:

Here is an aerial over the Decker DriveIn in Baytown. If memory serves me, it closed down in the early 80's. maybe Tjones has a better recollection?

It is currently (and ever since it closed) a mobile home storage lot. All of the drive in structures have rotted since then.

There are also lots of damaged mobile homes in there too.

The whole place looks like heck.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=baytown,++tx...08786&t=h&hl=en

I remember the old Decker Drive-In quite well. In the early 60's I dated the daughter of the manager. Her name was Charm Bengtson. She finally got tired of me because all I ever wanted to do was go to the movies...guess it was because we got in for FREE!! That and the fact that I went away to college and she stayed in Baytown...long distance romance is hard to keep up at that age! Due to increasing development along Decker Drive since its completion as an expressway, which only took 50 years to get done, I'm sure the property owners are just waiting for the right offer.

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I remember the old Decker Drive-In quite well. In the early 60's I dated the daughter of the manager. Her name was Charm Bengtson. She finally got tired of me because all I ever wanted to do was go to the movies...guess it was because we got in for FREE!! That and the fact that I went away to college and she stayed in Baytown...long distance romance is hard to keep up at that age! Due to increasing development along Decker Drive since its completion as an expressway, which only took 50 years to get done, I'm sure the property owners are just waiting for the right offer.

I looked up the Decker Drive-In on DriveIns.Com. All it said was that it was located on Decker Drive in Baytown. Maybe you could go to the public library in Baytown and find out exactly where it was in a city and/or a telephone directory from the past. If you do, then you can go to DriveIns.Com and click on "Submit A Factual Update" and enter what you found and it will be updated.

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wasn't decker the one that is now a trailer park? if you go to google maps hybrid, and zoom in near spur 330 and market loop (?) you can see it...

more like trailer storage lot. i think they did sales there for a while but i believe there are just a bunch of old dilapidated mobile homes rusting in there now.

address is 6202 Decker Dr. According to HCAD it is owned by America's Acceptance Mobile Homes, a mobile home dealer. Ownership history lists Tercar Theaters as the owner in the 80's

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wasn't decker the one that is now a trailer park? if you go to google maps hybrid, and zoom in near spur 330 and market loop (?) you can see it...

When I want to see an aerial view of something I look on GlobeExplorer.Com. How would I look at Google Maps Hybrid? I'm still trying to figure out how to look at Google Earth.

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When I want to see an aerial view of something I look on GlobeExplorer.Com. How would I look at Google Maps Hybrid? I'm still trying to figure out how to look at Google Earth.

just go to maps.google.com and click on the hybrid button within the map (once you enter and find a location). google maps is like google earth "lite"

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the post oak drive-in was at 2900 south post oak, which is right about where williams (transco) tower sits now. kprc was at 3014 south post oak (which would be behind the waterwall at hidalgo street).

i have been trying to add pictures and now addresses to drive-ins.com if i have em :)

The Post Oak Drive -in on north Post Oak was the same one that was near the Post Oak and Westheimer/Richmond location,it moved in the fifities.It was located near/next to Cameron Iron Works,you could watch the movies with no sound,it closed around the late 70s early 80s.Regards.Joe B

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  • 3 weeks later...

B)-->

QUOTE(Joe B @ Friday, January 13th, 2006 @ 11:32am) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Post Oak Drive -in on north Post Oak was the same one that was near the Post Oak and Westheimer/Richmond location,it moved in the fifities.It was located near/next to Cameron Iron Works,you could watch the movies with no sound,it closed around the late 70s early 80s.Regards.Joe B

Wasn't there a drive-in theatre in or around Deer Park near the Shell refinery and the San Jacinto Monument?

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MovieAd2-May1953.jpg

I found this ad on the back of a clipping I had saved from the sports section of a May, 1953, Chronicle. You can see the addresses of the Drive-Ins shown here. Looked like a wild stage show at the Uptown that night.

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Hey 57, looking at that clipping, I happen to look at what was playing at the Capitan in pasadena. I saw they had a big kid's show @ 11:30am and I immediately remembered that back in the late 70's or early 80's going to a theater somewhere on N.Gessner that had the old matinee style for kids, the whole theater just filled with kids, and there would be a couple of cartoons and then the movie. I remember seeing Bugsy Malone w/Scott Baio and Jodie Foster. All us kids got a sack of popcorn and a teeny tiny coke, the popcorn was so salty, that by the end of the flick, they would have to throw water on you to bring you back from the shriveled sponge you had become.

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MovieAd2-May1953.jpg

I found this ad on the back of a clipping I had saved from the sports section of a May, 1953, Chronicle. You can see the addresses of the Drive-Ins shown here. Looked like a wild stage show at the Uptown that night.

That young lady will definitely be refused service at the CRUSTY CRAB...unless she is wearing shoes!!

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I checked on a movie database. There were a LOT of drive-ins around Houston.

Airline Drive-In 4507 Airline Houston

Boulevard Drive-In Houston

Chocolate-Bayou Drive-In Houston

Diamond Drive-In Houston

Epson Drive-In Houston

Gulfway Drive-In 1,2 9025 Wald Houston

Hempstead Drive-In Houston

Hi-Nabor Drive-In Houston

Irvington Drive-In 8411 Irvington Houston

King Center Drive-In 6400 South Park Houston

Market Street Drive-In Houston

McLeandon Triple 11991 S Main Houston

Parkway Drive-In Houston

Post Oak Drive-In 1255 N Post Oak Houston

Pussycat Drive-In Houston

Sharpstown Drive-In Houston

Shepherd Road Drive-In Houston

South Main Drive-In Houston

Sunnyside Drive-In Houston

Telephone Road Drive-In I & II 11020 Telephone Houston

Texas Drive-In Houston

Thunderbird Drive-In Houston

Tidwell Drive-In 9603 Homestead Houston

Trail Drive-In Houston

Triple Drive-In 1,2 & 3 Houston

Winkler Drive-In Houston

Humble Drive-In * 59 Humble

Ceder Drive-In Baytown

Decker Drive-In Baytown

Colonial Drive-In La Porte

Eagle Drive-In Pasadena

Pasadena Drive-In Pasadena

Red Bluff Drive-In Pasadena

Town and Country Drive-In 4716 Red Bluff Pasadena

Oleander Drive-In Galveston

Bayou Drive-In La Marque

Tradewinds Drive-In Texas City

Alvin Drive-In Alvin

Hi-Y Drive-In Conroe

Back in your younger days, did any of you try sneaking someone in the trunk of a car into a drive-in theatre to avoid paying admission for that person?

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The drive-in I remember most is the McLendon Tri-plex Drive-In.

I was at the grand opening to that one. Was maybe about 1970-71?? or somewhere along

there. They had some kind of movie star there that night to attract attention..Also the

owner, etc.. Went to it quite a few times in my high school years. Mainly the monday

night dollar movies... I remember sometimes being broke and sneaking in car trunks... :(

In the early 60's I lived in Pasadana, and remember going to Red Bluff drive in, which

was close to where we lived. I went to Red Bluff elementary at that time. But...No xxx

movies at Red Bluff back in those days... :blink: Those came later... I remember being

at Red bluff elementary the day Kennedy was shot. "1st grade" It came over the intercom

at about 1PM or so...

I still remember being kinda disgusted that all my normal cartoons on TV were nada for about

4 days.. It was non stop Kennedy news, funeral, Ruby capping Oswald, etc...

Was like it would never end... :angry:

MK

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I do remember a multi-screen drive-in at the southeast corner of the intersection of South Main (90A) and Hiram Clarke. I think maybe built in the 60's.

Has anyone out there been to that Starlite Drive-In Theatre that is currently open in Porter, Texas, just a few miles northeast of the Houston city limits?

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Has anyone out there been to that Starlite Drive-In Theatre that is currently open in Porter, Texas, just a few miles northeast of the Houston city limits?

I just read that the Winkler, South Main, and Shepherd Road Drive-In Theatres were owned by C.C. Ezell, Underwood & Ezell. I've been trying to find out if that business still exists. They might have photos and information about those drive-ins. I guess they went out of business. But maybe someone out there might know something about that firm.

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Like I said, you can log on to DriveIns.Com and click on "Submit A Factual Update" on any drive-in movie theatre. A lot of them list either approximate and/or inaccurate street addresses. If you find the correct physical addresses, if you'll update them, you'll satisfy a lot of people out there who want to know about the drive-ins that they went to in their youth. For example, the theatre that I'm trying to find out information about (the Winkler) was listed as being located on Winkler Drive at Telephone Road. Then one person on this forum found out that it was located at 205 Winkler Drive where a Home Depot is at now. I found out on a map search that it was actually located on the corner of Winkler Drive and Flowers Street, which is east of where Winkler Drive intersects with Telephone Road.

My dad said the Winkler/Flowers location is more accurate. Most of the buildings at Winkler and Telephone are still fairly original structures.

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My dad said the Winkler/Flowers location is more accurate. Most of the buildings at Winkler and Telephone are still fairly original structures.

Thanks. Someone posted on DriveIns.Com that there is still an old sign next to or near a Chevron station that says "Winkler Drive-In Theatre". Did you father say that he also saw that sign? Maybe someday I'll luck out and stumble across someone who has an old photo and/or some information about the Winkler.

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  • 5 weeks later...
I remember the old Decker Drive-In quite well. In the early 60's I dated the daughter of the manager. Her name was Charm Bengtson. She finally got tired of me because all I ever wanted to do was go to the movies...guess it was because we got in for FREE!! That and the fact that I went away to college and she stayed in Baytown...long distance romance is hard to keep up at that age! Due to increasing development along Decker Drive since its completion as an expressway, which only took 50 years to get done, I'm sure the property owners are just waiting for the right offer.

I talked to an assistant principal of a school that I substituted at last week. He told me that he was originally from Baytown. I asked him about the Decker Drive-In Theatre. He said that it was the only one in Baytown and that it had one screen. Someone else on this forum said that it had two screens. Maybe someone out there knows for certain how many screens it had.

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  • 1 month later...

hello ,

i am from new delhi , india . we have a drive-in in mumbai , but not a

single one in new delhi .

to search for a drive-in in my city of which i might not be knowing , i

spent some time in surfing over the net for a drive-in in my city .

although , i did not find any drive-ins's located in new delhi . but i

sure did find a new approach for drive-ins's about which i read at

www.mobmov.org .

they are already present in the usa , canada and australia . other

upcoming venues are in germany , brazil , indonesia and other places .

i have written to them showing my desire for starting a delhi chapter

and they have response was very encouraging .

the best part about them is they are free and they inform us about the

shows held every fortnight .

hope you all enjoy the experince , as i am waiting to start my own

drive-in chapter .

happy mobbing .

sudhanuj

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  • 1 month later...
yeah from the 1955 city directory. i wish i had more from different decades...alas!

I found a good website called SinisterCinema.Com. They have the horror movies that were mostly shown in drive-in theatres. I still don't understand why most indoor theatres didn't show those kind.

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The Starlite Drive-in was open for almost a year and one partner ran off with the money so the others sold out and it just recently opened again under the name Litestar Drive-in.

Litestar Drive-in

There is also a new one just west of Tomball, in Hockley, near Waller called the Showboat Drive-in.

Showboat Drive-in

There was also a Mclendon 6 screen drive-in located on I-45 North at West Rd. back in the early eighties. It was the first one that I had been to that you tuned your radio in for the sound. When they later sold out, the shopping center that replaced it is still called Mclendon Town Center or something similar.

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The Starlite Drive-in was open for almost a year and one partner ran off with the money so the others sold out and it just recently opened again under the name Litestar Drive-in.

Litestar Drive-in

There is also a new one just west of Tomball, in Hockley, near Waller called the Showboat Drive-in.

Showboat Drive-in

There was also a Mclendon 6 screen drive-in located on I-45 North at West Rd. back in the early eighties. It was the first one that I had been to that you tuned your radio in for the sound. When they later sold out, the shopping center that replaced it is still called Mclendon Town Center or something similar.

There were only a handful of multi-screen drive-ins in the 50s and 60s. You could count them on the fingers of one hand. The most notable was the King Center Twin Drive-in at South Park Drive and Holmes Road. That intersection is now known as MLK and the South Loop 610. The drive-in was owned by the guy who owned the King Center Shopping Center across the street. His name was "King", but he wasn't Martin Luther King. King Center was built and named years before the Civil Rights Era. South Park was changed to MLK sometime in the 80s. That area is now very run-down and shabby looking, and only small traces of the King Center Shopping Center remain.

I THINK the Hi-Nabor Drive-in at Witte Road and Old Katy Road was also a multi-screen. I could be wrong, because I never went there. It was too far from my stomping grounds in Pasadena. That was before the Katy Fwy was built, so for us kids in Pasadena, Witte and Old Katy was on the other side of the planet.

As for the Decker in Baytown, it was a single-screen. Multi screens started spreading in the 70s because film rentals were getting so expensive drive-in owners needed at least two screens to make money. The McClendon Triple at Hiram Clarke and South Main was the first in Houston to have more than two screens. It was built in 1970 or 71. It was followed by the McClendon Six out on I-45 North.

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  • 4 weeks later...
The Hi-Nabor Drive-In was at 7200 Mykawa. ( I used to go there when I was a kid)

The Chocolate Bayou Drive-In was at 10200 Cullen

Market Street Drive-In was at 8451 Market

Gulfway Drive-In was at 9025 Wald drive

Airline Drive-In was at 4507 Airline

King Center Drive-In was at 6345 South Park

South Main Drive-In 11510 Main

Post Oak Drive-In - 1255 N. Post Oak

Tidwell Drive-In - 9603 Homestead

Shepherd Drive-In - 6004 N. Shepherd

Loew's Sharpstown Drive-In - 6366 Bellaire

Winkler Drive-In - 205 Winkler Drive - (right down the street from where I grew up)

Trail Drive-In - 3202 Old Spanish Trail

Irvington Drive-In - 8411 Irvington Blvd

here is one I totally forgot about until a friend of mine mentioned it....the XXX Drive inn on Red bluff.

I distinctly remember it now as my parents and I went to a friend's house. If I remember correctly, it was just off 225.

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here is one I totally forgot about until a friend of mine mentioned it....the XXX Drive inn on Red bluff.

I distinctly remember it now as my parents and I went to a friend's house. If I remember correctly, it was just off 225.

The Red Bluff Drive-In was at the corner of 225 and Red Bluff Road, and its remnants can still be seen today. The screen was pointed away from 225, which means the driveway was around on the back side on Red Bluff. I worked at the Red Bluff for two years when I was in high school in Pasadena in the late fifties. It was a family drive-in then, and a fun place to work.

Ooops for misidentifying the location of the old Hi-Nabor Drive-in. But what was the name of the drive-in at Old Katy Road and Witte Road out on the west side?

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They had the wrong date for The Windsor's closing, I am positive it didn't close until 1987. I saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off there in 1986, and a few others after that, so i know the closing date is wrong.

I couldn't tell if there was a submit button, need to add The Alamo to Katy's list.

Edited by TJones
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This is from the 1948 Theatre Catalog listing of drive-in theaters:

Houston, Tex. EPSOM DR., Jensen Rd., Highway 59. Exec: W. V. Ratcliff.(M12 C275 D7 SF CH4).

Houston, Tex. MARKET STREET DR., 8601 Market St. Exec: C. H. Mitchamore, Mitchamore and Neves Amusement Co.(M12 C400 D7 SF CH4).

Houston, Tex. SHEPHERD RD. DR., Conroe Highway. Exec: (UNDER) C. C. Ezell, Underwood and Ezell.(M12 C400 D7 ASDF CH4).

Houston, Tex. SOUTH MAIN DR., Old Fort Bend Rd. Exec: (UNDER) C. C. Ezell, Underwood and Ezell.(M12 C400 D7 ASDF CH4).

Houston, Tex. WINKLER DR., Winkler and Telephone Rds. Exec: (UNDER) C. C. Ezell, Underwood and Ezell.(M12 C400 D7 ASDF CH4).

M indicates the number of months the drive-in is in operation

C indicates car capacity

D indicates the number of days a week it operates

SF-DF or ASDF indicates a single feature, double feature or assorted single and double policy

CH indicates the number of changes of show per week

Here is a list (partial?) from this Web site.

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