Throughout the years, there have been well over a thousand posts here at Carload.com. (Please don’t make me count them.) During that time, one in particular stood out as the most visited, the *Most Popular post that’s ever appeared here. That post was about the Apache Drive-In in Tyler TX.
As you can tell by its sign, the Apache’s selling point wasn’t its snack bar, manicured grounds, or first-run films. It was known for showing “XXX Adult Videos” on the big screen for a small viewing field surrounded by trees.
On March 9, a post on the Apache’s Facebook page said, “Sad to announce the Apache Drive-In Theatre is permanently closed and the property has been sold.” Since that account had previously posted notes about holiday hours and pandemic-era closures, it looks legit, though I haven’t found any other sources to verify the news.
There’s still one adult-film drive-in left in Texas, the Fiesta Drive In Theatre in El Paso. But while the Fiesta always wears its, uh, heart on its sleeve, the Apache had seemed more furtive. The stories I read about the place always involved employees who didn’t want to talk about the owners, and the photos showed a screen with panels coming loose. It didn’t have much on an online presence. From afar, (I’ve never been to Tyler), the Apache sounded like a place where some folks quietly, maybe anonymously went to enjoy the show. Of course this lack of information about the drive-in led to unsatisfied curiosity. That’s the reason why thousands of internet users have clicked on the Apache post over the 9+ years it’s been available.
No matter what it showed, I find it a little sad to have to take another drive-in off the active list.
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!
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.”