Corpus Christi Drive Inn Movie Theaters
Drive Inn movies were a part of life in Corpus Christi in 1960s and 1970s. The best ones were 'carload night' whereas however many people you could shove in a vehicle one price, not charged by head. The Gulf here was on Port avenue near the projects. Why someone put movie theater there next to projects is beyond me as anytime we went there a number of 'people without cars' milling about that had snuck in.
Movie theaters had the best french fries in a cup, maybe that worth sneaking in. We spent a number of years on Friday nights, sometimes Saturday nights, going to the Viking further out slighly past Ayres, as better movies. And cheaper prices. Also besides Gulf & Viking (which was twin screen, we used to find ourselves looking back at other screen ha ha) but ALL FOUR of these Viking Twin, Buccaneer, Gulf and Surf were in least than a 2 mile stretch in Corpus!
Out Agnes street was another drive inn called Twin Palms. We would load up trunk full of Doritos, sandwiches, cokes, beer, LOTS of snacks and even blankets and pillows as when we went to this place would lay on small hills and hood to watch movies like anything Clint Eastwood or Angie dickinson in Big Bad Momma. Twin Palms too a new meaning later when it started showing nothing buy XXX movies......
Many have long since forgotten the Lexington Drive Inn just south of Airline on the east (bay) side. Several years ago when I drove down, I drove slowly past old forlorn lot and still had the speaker poles sticking out of it, the big screen long since gone. Believe it or not, my family, momma, poppa, brother Tommy & me went to see Lucille Ball movie Yours, Mine & Ours at the Lexington when that movie first came out! Only drive inn movie we all saw together as family! Looking online that was 1968, hard to believe so long ago, memories still in the old brain file. A Ford dealership now there.
I can't tell you anything about the Buccaneer next to Crosstown near Tarleton(?) near where my aunt Kat used to live, never went there, had big goofy looking Tampa Bay NFL guy Buccaneer on front. Plus I believe they only played spanish movies, so unless they were cussing, I didn't know what the hell they would be saying. I did watch some Cantinflas (actor) and Herma Linda Linda stuff at home, (when we still had electricity before 1970) and my grandmother religiously watched Domingo Pena show so that was extent of my spanish. And she listened to "KCCT Radio!! De numero uno de corazon de la hente de Corpus Christi!!! Roughly translated in baritone screaming (think GOALLLLL!!! VOICE!) "KCCT radio! Number one in the hearts of people in Corpus Christi!" Ha ha well my grandma though so.
The Thunderbird...that was on Leopard street about 4 miles from where I grew up at Doss & Antelope near Port & Leopard. We rarely went there, why would we want to go to old drive inn in basically our own hood? So we (once we started driving!) would go to 'rich mans drive inns' out Port, then Ayres. Watched the movie section in Caller Times religiously for showtimes and theaters! Not that it made us teens feel rich, just getaway from the grind of poverty area I guess crosstown, a escape if you will. That and 50 pounds of food in trunk would work.
We got busted at several drive inn movies when they asked us to open trunk, dead giveaway when car looks like popping a wheelie and only two fattest guys (usually my brother Tommy & neighbor Junior) in front seat, back seat big coolers, duh. So the movie narcs would make us pay, told us not do it again, so we went, watched movie and stole those crappy metal hang on speakers, that will teach them. Some of these speakers met a sad fate as we tossed them down SPID or Crosstown driving home, others we disected thinking we could use them in our cars but the speakers in them really sucked. A LOT of fun memories at Corpus Christi drive inn movie theaters ya'll, when it was not Tommy, me, neighbors Mondo, Junior, Robert, and maybe Rudy piled into one of our cars at these, sometimes I would take a girlfriend, so just two of us, and can't tell you anything about the movie either!
Sadly some of these places closed down while I was still living in Corpus (I moved to Houston in 1983) as times were changing, even stuff like 8 tracks (I still have 8 track players in several of my classic AMC cars) was changing to 'modern' cassette tapes. If any drive inn movie theaters still exist in Corpus Christi, those of you who have never experienced one need to go. Last I heard the theaters have fancy ass clips for your antenna or simply tune to channel on your radio! Mosquitos, the smell of snack bar, (watch for huge flash on screen of SNACK BAR WILL CLOSE IN TEN MINUTES) fries in cups, burgers so greasy you can fill jar of Crisco, the wafting smell of stale urine in troughs in mens bathroom, aahhh just great experience!
Photo #1, the Bucaneer Port & Tarelton; Photo #2 The Gulf which was in front of K-9 diner; Photo #3, Vicking, early photo later become Vicking Twin; Photo #4, Thunderbird on Leopard neat Navigation; Photo #5, we stole these by the buckets, you can find them all over ebay, not mine though. Photo #6 rare photo of the Twin Palms on Agnes Street being built! Photo #7 everyone remembers these guys and girls at the Drive Inn. I still say some of the best burgers and fries I ever ate in Corpus Christi came from Drive Inn Movie Theaters!