San Angelo TX Drive-In History – Read It Twice

Drive-in screen nearly destroyed by flames

The Jet Drive-In screen burning in Nov. 1968. This is a detail of a larger, better photo in the San Angelo Standard-Times

Here’s a story for you. Yesterday I was continuing some research on a drive-in project that’s been consuming a lot of my time, and I ran into a photo of the marquee of the Twin Vue Drive-In. It was in an ad from a sign company and didn’t indicate where this drive-in was located. So I figured that name was unusual enough that I could pinpoint where that sign once stood.

I was wrong. Even though the “Twin” part of the name suggests a drive-in that started after the biggest boom times, there were still maybe a half dozen different Twin Vues in one or two words, with or without hyphen. And one of the references to one of those Twin Vues was this page, an April 2009 article by Rick Smith for the San Angelo (TX) Standard-Times, in which he efficiently summarized the nine drive-ins that had once operated there. Number Nine was a Twin Vue, of course.

This morning, my drive-in news sweep gave me a jaw-dropping coincidence. In yesterday’s Standard-Times, Alana Edgin also, completely separately, summarized the history of the nine drive-ins that had been active in San Angelo. The report’s style and a few of the details are different, and since Edgin later thanked me for pointing out Smith’s article, it was probably original, parallel work. But if you’d watched that scene in a movie, you’d never have believed it.

There are a few interesting photos in yesterday’s story, including one of the horrific demise of the Jet Drive-In, and the remarks in both articles are well worth reading. So now you should go read both of them!

Video: New Drive-In Sprouts In Buda TX

We’ve had too much bad news lately, so it’s great to be able to share something good: A new two-screen drive-in held its grand opening last Friday in Buda TX, and there’s a great video of the place from KXAN, Austin’s News Leader.

The screens at Doc’s Drive In Theatre are small, made of stacked shipping containers. Each parallel viewing field holds 43 cars. Owners Chris and Sarah Denny had founded the company last year and had previously planned to open in February. Now that it’s up and running, Chris told KXAN that he plans to offer an underground speakeasy bar between the screens and movie-themed tiny homes on the property to rent overnight for patrons who hit the speakeasy hard enough to avoid driving home.

That’s pretty much the whole happy story here. You should drop by the Doc’s web site, which shows that the Dennys have a great attitude about their new offering. “Doc’s Drive-In does so much more than just show your favorite films – it’s a family-friendly, classic drive-in theater experience that expands the boundaries of imagination.”

Lewisville TX’s Coyote: Closed For How Long?

Coyote Drive-In screen tower silhouetted at sunset

Photo from the Coyote Drive-In Facebook page

How can you tell when your phone stops ringing? It’s not when a ring ends; it’s when enough time passes that you know a new ring isn’t coming.

I say that as an excuse why last month’s closure of the Coyote Drive-In of Lewisville TX didn’t strike me as anything very unusual. Sure some drive-ins in Texas stay open later in the year, but an end-of-September announcement on its Facebook page that it was “closed for the season” didn’t raise an alarm with me even though the Coyote added “until further notice.”

Today I finally noticed a mention in the Denton Record-Chronicle that indirectly pointed back to an earlier R-C article about the possible end of the Coyote. That article quoted a statement from company officials saying, “The theater just simply wasn’t as busy as we had predicted. We are evaluating some strategic alternatives for the drive-in and the property.”

Although that sounds a lot like a permanent closure, I really wonder what might happen in the spring when blockbuster movies and warm weather return. This Coyote might never open again, but I’ll still wait awhile to hear whether that phone rings again.