Revamped Mission sits, waiting

I was in San Antonio TX last week for reasons that, for a change, weren’t very much about drive-in movie theaters. But of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to revisit the locale that essentially inspired the creation of this web site. Plus, I got tired of grabbing other folks’ photos of the place.

The site of the old Mission Drive-In Theatre is in a depressed neighborhood in the middle of the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park. I never saw its sign look as good as it looked last week, with bright colors and faux neon lights on the lettering.

The drive-in screen on the other side was also restored to its original appearance, a framed white screen with two long arms at its base extending to the sides of the viewing area. Where the projection stand used to be, there was a fresh little building with rest rooms and storage. But it was all fenced off, quietly resting in the warm Texas sun. The drive-in site was meant to be seen, not enjoyed, at least not that day.

I had been encouraged by reports of a new library on the site, and there it was. When I went in, I looked for anything that celebrated the history of the Mission, but there was nothing. I asked the guy behind the counter whether there were any movies or activities planned, he shook his head and said, “We don’t have anything to do with that.” Then he reached into his drawer and handed me a pre-cut scrap of paper with the phone number and web address of the city agency in charge. Not only was he indifferent to the drive-in next door, his indifference was premeditated.

Its nice that this touchstone of drive-in history has been restored to remind us all what it was like. Let’s hope that someone in San Antonio does something with it now.