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Historic Houston Closed-down Drive-in Theatres


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I know I'm resurrecting an ancient thread there.

I found this doing some searching and thought I'd pop in anyway.

I was the manager of the Town & Country DI in Pasadena in '80-'81.

I've visited the site a couple times over the years and its sad to see the empty lot.

I live in Garland Texas now, a suburb of Dallas.

Thought I'd pop in and say hi to my friends in Houston.

Sincerely,

Kent Smith

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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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Strip center with Home Depot and Office Depot?

Before the Home Depot and others were built, there were an Oldsmobile, Buick and a Chysler-Plymouth car

dealership there. These were the businesses that built on the site right after the Winkler Drive theater closed.

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sev, next time you go to Baytown take some pics of the old Decker Drive-in, it is filled with abandodned and repo'd mobile homes now, at least last time I looked it was.

Sevfiv, if you never did take those pictures of the decker, you might want to do it sooner than later.

The theater property was posted as sold in Monday's chronicle.

JEC Texas purchased the 14 acre site from the Tercar Theater Company.

Edited by gnu
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Im 48 and I remember going to a few drive ins in the 60's and 70's. The last movie I saw at Telephone Road was Young Frankenstein. I drove by the land it used to occupy a few weeks ago and you can still make out the driveway in and out and from arial photos you can see the humps you used to park on. Hurricane Alicia took care of the Gulfway. After it hit, the marquee said the movie playing was Gone With The Wind thanks to a person with a sense of humor and a spray paint can. I saw Purple Rain at the giant drive in on 45 north, and Saturday night fever at the Texas City drive in. And let us not forget the Town and Country in Pasadena. The last movie I saw there was Star Wars. I wont mention Pasadenas other famous drive in, although if you were on 225 heading east and looked out the back windshield at the right time you could get a glimpse of things a youngster shouldnt see.

Does anyone think Drive ins would work now? Personally, I don't, althought I do miss them greatly.

I've always wanted to go to a drive-in. I think they would work.

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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?

The Post Oak Drive In moved from S. Post Oak (south of present day Williams Tower) to N Post Oak (between Katy Freeway and Hempstead Highway sometime in the early 60's. I remember watching the cartoons from a tree in my front yard in the 5800 block of Norfolk (now Beverly Hill) in the late 50's.

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I was looking on GoogleEarth.Ink. I entered Winkler Drive at Woodridge. On the spot of land where the Winkler Drive-In Theatre was located I saw a business. It was a large building with a big parking lot. The front of the building faces Interstate 45. Can someone out there tell me what that business is?

The Home Depot is on the feeder of I 45. It and the shopping center next door is where Bob Marco Buick, McDavid Olds and Metro Chrysler Plymouth used to be.

The structure you see on corner of Telephone and Winkler is probably the Tele-Wink Grill. It has been there since I can remember and is still going strong and still one of the best and cheapest breakfasts in town.

joe

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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.

Yes, I've been trying to find out what happened to that drive-in theatre owner C.C. Ezell, Underwood & Ezell. Would anyone out there happen to know? There was at least one closed-down drive-in theatre (the Surf in Port Arthur) over here that Ezell/Underwood owned. I've seen that list. Ezell/Underwood owned a lot of drive-in theatres.

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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?

I was underage when the South Main Drive in showed what would be soft porn today, but was very forbidden fruit to a bicycle riding, 13 year old. I would ride up to the back gate, squeeze through the gate locked with a chain and lock. And walk up to the benches at the front. Still makes me nervous thinking about it.

Later on, when I was a motorcycle riding 17 year old, my buddy and I rode our motorcycles into one of the McLendon Triple exits, our tires slipped between the tire spikes that prevented cars from entering the exit. We watched "Dirty Harry" at no charge. My Buddy's a retired FBI Agent now.

Edited by devonhart
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I was underage when the South Main Drive in showed what would be soft porn today, but was very forbidden fruit to a bicycle riding, 13 year old. I would ride up to the back gate, squeeze through the gate locked with a chain and lock. And walk up to the benches at the front. Still makes me nervous thinking about it.

Later on, when I was a motorcycle riding 17 year old, my buddy and I rode our motorcycles into one of the McLendon Triple exits, our tires slipped between the tire spikes that prevented cars from entering the exit. We watched "Dirty Harry" at no charge. My Buddy's a retired FBI Agent now.

A guy on another thread talked about the Red Bluff Drive-In Theatre in Pasadena. I told him that I read on Drive-Ins.com that it spent its last years showing X-rated movies and that it had a tall fence around it so that the screen couldn't be seen. But he said that you could see it.

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A guy on another thread talked about the Red Bluff Drive-In Theatre in Pasadena. I told him that I read on Drive-Ins.com that it spent its last years showing X-rated movies and that it had a tall fence around it so that the screen couldn't be seen. But he said that you could see it.

He was quite right

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Doesn't look too familiar. Where in Sharpstown was it located? Looks like the drive-in is in the background.

It simply amazes me the pics that folks post on here! Every now and then I will tell some friend of the Sharpstown Drive-In and how I recall them having a very small amusement park on the west end of the lot. I even remember the train going under the screen. There was a clown and also a parrot and other birds in a cage. No matter who I tell, they DON'T believe me! HA! And there it is!

Another thing I recall about this Drive-In, is that it had a very HUGE lot! It was very deep and and the farther back you went, there was grass and no cars would park back there because it was to far away from the screen (if you were there to really see it), but there were speakers! :D

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It simply amazes me the pics that folks post on here! Every now and then I will tell some friend of the Sharpstown Drive-In and how I recall them having a very small amusement park on the west end of the lot. I even remember the train going under the screen. There was a clown and also a parrot and other birds in a cage. No matter who I tell, they DON'T believe me! HA! And there it is!

Another thing I recall about this Drive-In, is that it had a very HUGE lot! It was very deep and and the farther back you went, there was grass and no cars would park back there because it was to far away from the screen (if you were there to really see it), but there were speakers! :D

Yes, where we and most other people wanted to sit was just the opposite at a drive-in versus a walk-in theatre. At a drive-in you wanted to park up as close to the screen as possible. In a walk-in you wanted to sit as far back as possible. But it's a shame that most drive-ins bit the dust. The last time that I went to a walk-in was back in 1998. I simply have no desire to go to one anymore, the high prices being the main reason.

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A guy on another thread talked about the Red Bluff Drive-In Theatre in Pasadena. I told him that I read on Drive-Ins.com that it spent its last years showing X-rated movies and that it had a tall fence around it so that the screen couldn't be seen. But he said that you could see it.

and later became a junk yard remember? The fence stayed up but you could see all the junked cars.

and.....

I must find this out...but wasn't that small little kkk headquarters bldg just across the street from the Red Bluff? We just couldnt recall exact location but I recall us passing and going WHAT! but that was in the late 70's. The sign above it was so brazen, like no big deal. I'm sure its been imploded by now. :ph34r:

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and later became a junk yard remember? The fence stayed up but you could see all the junked cars.

and.....

I must find this out...but wasn't that small little kkk headquarters bldg just across the street from the Red Bluff? We just couldnt recall exact location but I recall us passing and going WHAT! but that was in the late 70's. The sign above it was so brazen, like no big deal. I'm sure its been imploded by now. :ph34r:

On Drive-Ins.com there are pictures of the land where the Red Bluff once stood. It's all flat and open, no sign of an auto salvage yard. If you'll look at the pictures of the remains of the Telephone Road Drive-In, you'll shake your head with regret that it and most other drive-ins turned out that way. I never went to that one. Those of you who have will look at those pictures and the pleasant memories of your youth will return. You'll all of a sudden remember who you went with there, what movie you saw, what you did, etc.

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If you'll look at the pictures of the remains of the Telephone Road Drive-In, you'll shake your head with regret that it and most other drive-ins turned out that way. Those of you who have will look at those pictures and the pleasant memories of your youth will return. You'll all of a sudden remember who you went with there, what movie you saw, what you did, etc.

I remember seeing Live and Let Die, Godzilla vs the smog monster and star wars at the telephone road.

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See? What did I tell you? I said that you would be able to remember what you saw there.

In the late 70's and early 80's Telephone Road Drive in had $1.00 night so naturally we packed in as many partiers as possible. Obviously, we had to sneak in the trunk (even thought it was just 1 buck, jeez). The hardest part was trying not to laugh or make noise as you passed the attendant. This is tough because you were mushed up against other friends & brew. I recall seeing the lights filter throught the speakers as we snuck past. When we hit the bumps as we tried to find parking it would hurt but our driver did it to taunt us! It was bizarre to finally park, open the trunk, and about 3 people jump out! I was kind of embarrased but as other cars pulled up they had more people pop out! Then it turned in to a hippie-hollow kind of event while watching the movies. It was so much fun because you would always meet other kids from other High Schools from Houston being just as silly. Good days indeed.

These films come to mind...Cheech & Chong, Warriors, Stars Wars, Jaws, Carrie, Chainsaw Mass, The Omen, Heavy Metal, Tommy & tons more. :lol:

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Then it turned in to a hippie-hollow kind of event while watching the movies.

Do you mean you were watching movies naked?

Maybe I mean't to say Pale Face Park?

of course you could be right after all it was the 70's! Yee haaah! :lol:

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Maybe I mean't to say Pale Face Park?

of course you could be right after all it was the 70's! Yee haaah! :lol:

On those nostalgia websites about drive-in theatres, I read that a lot of parents back in the 1950s/1960s referred to them as "passion pits" because of some of the things that went on in the cars. In MAD Magazine it said: "You know that you're really married when...you go to a drive-in theatre to actually watch the movie."

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Sure wish someone would slap in photos of The GULFWAY DRIVE-IN THEATER.

It was over off of Old Galveston Road & Shaver? I think? right near the RR tracks. This was another local for us kids in East End. It used to get packed on Monday dollar nights too. By the early 80's it started getting too much of a party crowd they eventualy had to close it and I am sure there must have been so rowdy ones that only added to the headaches. They had to have security gaurds at the entrance so we knew the end was near. After they closed it stood like a silent pyramid for a good while then Hurricane Alicia came along and literally bent over the huge screen which added more of a dramatic effect to it.

Good by drive ins, was nice knowing ya. :closedeyes:

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Sure wish someone would slap in photos of The GULFWAY DRIVE-IN THEATER.

It was over off of Old Galveston Road & Shaver? I think? right near the RR tracks. This was another local for us kids in East End. It used to get packed on Monday dollar nights too. By the early 80's it started getting too much of a party crowd they eventualy had to close it and I am sure there must have been so rowdy ones that only added to the headaches. They had to have security gaurds at the entrance so we knew the end was near. After they closed it stood like a silent pyramid for a good while then Hurricane Alicia came along and literally bent over the huge screen which added more of a dramatic effect to it.

Good by drive ins, was nice knowing ya. :closedeyes:

If anyone does come up with some pictures of drive-in theatres, try to post them on the individual entries on Drive-Ins.Com

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If anyone does come up with some pictures of drive-in theatres, try to post them on the individual entries on Drive-Ins.Com

That reminds me, I was viewing that cite yesterday and can you believe we actually used to have a Drive-In theater called The Pussycat Drive-In! Thats a scream! Imagine telling your friends "Hey last night we went to the Pussycat"...... My ribs are hurting! :lol:

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That reminds me, I was viewing that cite yesterday and can you believe we actually used to have a Drive-In theater called The Pussycat Drive-In! Thats a scream! Imagine telling your friends "Hey last night we went to the Pussycat"...... My ribs are hurting! :lol:

Well, there was a James Bond movie called "Octopussy." Imagine telling your friend: "Hey, last night we went to the Pussycat to see Octopussy."

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Yes Northbeaumont, very sad but true. And every time I think of Alberts or Dot Coffee Shop or the Telephone Drive In I smile. ...No no.. they can't take that away from me.

When I lived in Houston over 40 years ago, I remember us going to the Winkler Drive-In Theatre. My mom said that she thinks that we also went to the Red Bluff Drive-In Theatre in Pasadena. She said that she doesn't recall us ever going to the Telephone Road Twin Drive-In. If you'll look on Drive-Ins.Com, you'll see where someone took and posted some fairly recent photos of the remnants of it.

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When I lived in Houston over 40 years ago, I remember us going to the Winkler Drive-In Theatre. My mom said that she thinks that we also went to the Red Bluff Drive-In Theatre in Pasadena. She said that she doesn't recall us ever going to the Telephone Road Twin Drive-In. If you'll look on Drive-Ins.Com, you'll see where someone took and posted some fairly recent photos of the remnants of it.

I thought the Red Bluff drive in was just xxx porn. The Town and Country drive in was on Red Bluff Rd and was old fashioned entertainment as was the Pasadena drive in on Shaver and the Gulf way on Shaver close to 45. I never went to the winkler but my mom and brother did.

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I thought the Red Bluff drive in was just xxx porn. The Town and Country drive in was on Red Bluff Rd and was old fashioned entertainment as was the Pasadena drive in on Shaver and the Gulf way on Shaver close to 45. I never went to the winkler but my mom and brother did.

I read that several theatres such as the Red Bluff and the Santa Rosa spent their last years showing adult movies before closing up for good. There used to be a comment about the Red Bluff on Drive-Ins.Com that said that it had a tall fence around it so that the screen couldn't be seen. But someone on this forum in another thread said that you could see it.

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I read that several theatres such as the Red Bluff and the Santa Rosa spent their last years showing adult movies before closing up for good. There used to be a comment about the Red Bluff on Drive-Ins.Com that said that it had a tall fence around it so that the screen couldn't be seen. But someone on this forum in another thread said that you could see it.

yes it had a very tall fence all around the drive in but....if you were on hwy 225 going over the red bluff overpass you could catch a quick glimpse of....well...you know. lol.

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yes it had a very tall fence all around the drive in but....if you were on hwy 225 going over the red bluff overpass you could catch a quick glimpse of....well...you know. lol.

If you were driving, it was a very quick glimpse. Luckily your glimpse didn't cause you to get into an accident. You probably passed by it during a scene that wasn't "climactic."

There's two photos on Drive-Ins.Com on the Red Bluff. Both of them just show where it was. One is a shot from the air, the other an open field. Have you been by there recently?

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If you were driving, it was a very quick glimpse. Luckily your glimpse didn't cause you to get into an accident. You probably passed by it during a scene that wasn't "climactic."

There's two photos on Drive-Ins.Com on the Red Bluff. Both of them just show where it was. One is a shot from the air, the other an open field. Have you been by there recently?

I used to work right down 225 from it but now I'm over off Dixie Farm rd so I don't pass by very often. The last time I looked it was a very big truck stop.

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I used to work right down 225 from it but now I'm over off Dixie Farm rd so I don't pass by very often. The last time I looked it was a very big truck stop.

I have mostly pleasant memories of drive-in theatres. The only bad memories I have are having to swat mosquitoes and the windshield fogging up when it would rain. One time back in the 1970s, I passed gas during the movie. When my girlfriend smelt it, she sarcastically "thanked" me.

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Proably the last time I went to a drive in Movie was to see a double feature of Slap Shot and Young Frakenstien at the Gulfway Drive in off Shaver and the Gulf Freeway. About thirty minutes into the first movie fog so dense rolled in that you could not see the screen. We waited about thirty minutes and it never let up so we left and they refunded our money. One of the many disadvantages of the old drive ins. As a kid my parents used to put me in my pj's in the back seat of the family car and take me to the old drive in on Winkler by Gulfgate. I remember it had a huge clown on the back of the screen and my parents would watch the movie while I fell asleep in the backseat.

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Undated photograph of the Epsom drive-in. It would make sense if were built on the site of the old race track.

epsom.jpg

Yes, the drive-in was built on the site of the ract track. From family legend, going to the Epsom Downs Race Track on Sunday afternoons was a popular "outing" for wealthy Italian families from "downtown" areas during the depression [30s]. Seems as though there was a lot of gambling in the area & probably why track was closed & Drive-in built. I remember hearing that families in the area would cook great meals & serve in their homes before/after the races. That was before health inspectors :) . What was left over would be given to needy families in the area.

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Proably the last time I went to a drive in Movie was to see a double feature of Slap Shot and Young Frakenstien at the Gulfway Drive in off Shaver and the Gulf Freeway. About thirty minutes into the first movie fog so dense rolled in that you could not see the screen. We waited about thirty minutes and it never let up so we left and they refunded our money. One of the many disadvantages of the old drive ins. As a kid my parents used to put me in my pj's in the back seat of the family car and take me to the old drive in on Winkler by Gulfgate. I remember it had a huge clown on the back of the screen and my parents would watch the movie while I fell asleep in the backseat.

My experience exactly! My parents and I went to the Winkler Drive-In theatre back in the early 1960s. I would always fall asleep in the middle of the movie. I remember my dad carrying me into the house when we got home. I've been trying to find out information about the Winkler for at least the past two years. It would be great if someone had a picture of the clown screen. If you find out anything about the Winkler, let me know (I'm now 49).

Proably the last time I went to a drive in Movie was to see a double feature of Slap Shot and Young Frakenstien at the Gulfway Drive in off Shaver and the Gulf Freeway. About thirty minutes into the first movie fog so dense rolled in that you could not see the screen. We waited about thirty minutes and it never let up so we left and they refunded our money. One of the many disadvantages of the old drive ins. As a kid my parents used to put me in my pj's in the back seat of the family car and take me to the old drive in on Winkler by Gulfgate. I remember it had a huge clown on the back of the screen and my parents would watch the movie while I fell asleep in the backseat.

You mentioned "Slap Shot"? Wasn't that the movie about an ice hockey team which starred Paul Newman? I went to see it back in the 1970s. When my parents went to see it, they were so disgusted with all of the foul, gutter language that they got up and left before it was half over. I remember my dad saying: "If I wanted to hear that, I would just go to the parking lot of a shipyard at quitting time. I wouldn't have to pay to hear stuff like that."

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  • 4 weeks later...
I'm now 47. When I was between 4 and 6 years old I lived in Houston. I remember my parents and I going to the Winkler Drive-In Theatre, which closed down many years ago. I found out that it was located at 205 Winkler Drive at Telephone Road. Does anyone out there have any information about it?

Chet Cuccia

From this aerial photo of Gulfgate you can see exactly where the Winkler Drive-In was:

Gulfgate.jpg

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IMG_0023.JPG

Here is a pic of the former site of the Bayou Drive In, south of Houston in La Marque (I-45 near 1764).. It seems like yesterday that I saw "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" from the bed of my Dad's 67 Dodge pick-up.

The locations of the screens, entry and concession stands are very obvious.. If you Google Earth the location you can get real close.

There is an article in todays Galveston Daily News (04/30/07) on the possible fate of this site:

"Garden grows: Readers are asking about activity on land along the Interstate 45 feeder road in Texas City, just north of Kelley's Country Cookin'. In 2005, City officials said Houston Garden Centers had purchased the land with the intent to build a distribution center. Houston Garden Centers couldn't be reached for comment last week. Buzz isn't sure, but understands the land once was occupied by a drive-in movie theater"

While growing up in Galveston, going up to this Drive-In was one of the big "adventures" of our weekend. Of course the Motor Speedway up the road came in a close second.

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From this aerial photo of Gulfgate you can see exactly where the Winkler Drive-In was:

Gulfgate.jpg

Wow! That is one of the rarest photos I have ever seen of the area! So The Winkler Drive-In truly existed!

It looks like it was smack where that blasted Home Depot now sits. There is that church we always used to see on the way to the mall too! Even the big 610 interchange is absent! Much too, much! You can see the bridge that linked the mall to the theater (I assume that's it so small). Bridge still stands today just needs a good paint job. I used to work in that store on the left as soon as you came back from the movies, Wilson's Jeweler's this was around 1978 though. :P All near East Ender's need to see this photo!

Thank you for sharing!

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Wow! That is one of the rarest photos I have ever seen of the area! So The Winkler Drive-In truly existed!

It looks like it was smack where that blasted Home Depot now sits. There is that church we always used to see on the way to the mall too! Even the big 610 interchange is absent! Much too, much! You can see the bridge that linked the mall to the theater (I assume that's it so small). Bridge still stands today just needs a good paint job. I used to work in that store on the left as soon as you came back from the movies, Wilson's Jeweler's this was around 1978 though. :P All near East Ender's need to see this photo!

Thank you for sharing!

On YouTube.Com, I saw a video someone took at night of the freeway traffic. I think that it was taken from that pedestrian bridge. There was another video someone took driving through the parking lot of Gulfgate.

Wow! That is one of the rarest photos I have ever seen of the area! So The Winkler Drive-In truly existed!

It looks like it was smack where that blasted Home Depot now sits. There is that church we always used to see on the way to the mall too! Even the big 610 interchange is absent! Much too, much! You can see the bridge that linked the mall to the theater (I assume that's it so small). Bridge still stands today just needs a good paint job. I used to work in that store on the left as soon as you came back from the movies, Wilson's Jeweler's this was around 1978 though. :P All near East Ender's need to see this photo!

Thank you for sharing!

On the entry for the Winkler on Drive-Ins.Com, you'll see the aerial photo of that Home Depot.

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That was Woodridge Baptist Church. My family went to that church.

I cannot even recall about what year it disappeared, what a waste :angry2: That church attracted such big crowds as the parking area was always quite full on Sundays. Seems almost like yesterday I would see the pretty huge steeple and the well dressed folks. I hope they tried to salvage as much as possible. -_-

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I cannot even recall about what year it disappeared, what a waste :angry2: That church attracted such big crowds as the parking area was always quite full on Sundays. Seems almost like yesterday I would see the pretty huge steeple and the well dressed folks. I hope they tried to salvage as much as possible. -_-

I think the church stopped being Woodridge Baptist Church in 1993. It continued on under another name and then was sold and torn down when they redeveloped the Gulfgate property. I think that was around 2000-2001. There is still a Woodridge Baptist Church...they took the name from the church on Woodridge and moved the name to Kingwood. Our old German family bible was in a display case in that church library and dissapeared around the time they sold the building.

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From this aerial photo of Gulfgate you can see exactly where the Winkler Drive-In was:

Gulfgate.jpg

I've been staring at this photo for the last 30 minutes . What a time capsule! 1957 ? 58 ? . So much space . So much green . What a nice livable city !

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I've been staring at this photo for the last 30 minutes . What a time capsule! 1957 ? 58 ? . So much space . So much green . What a nice livable city !

Ah, the good ol' days! Yes, walking through Gulfgate Shopping City and Globe Department Store. What memories!

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  • 4 months later...
Wow! That is one of the rarest photos I have ever seen of the area! So The Winkler Drive-In truly existed!

It looks like it was smack where that blasted Home Depot now sits. There is that church we always used to see on the way to the mall too! Even the big 610 interchange is absent! Much too, much! You can see the bridge that linked the mall to the theater (I assume that's it so small). Bridge still stands today just needs a good paint job. I used to work in that store on the left as soon as you came back from the movies, Wilson's Jeweler's this was around 1978 though. :P All near East Ender's need to see this photo!

Thank you for sharing!

Someone posted an old newspaper ad which showed that this movie was playing at the Winkler Drive-In Theatre:

post-3393-1190143348.jpg

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