What Happened to All of the Drive-in Theaters We Had in Amarillo?
One of my favorite Texans has a saying. Joe Bob Briggs, host of The Last Drive-In, is always reminding us that, "...the drive-in will never die."
Here's a quick look at the drive-in theaters that have been a part of Amarillo's history. You can decide for yourself whether or not the drive-in is eternal.
Palo Duro Drive-In
The Palo Duro Drive-In opened sometime in 1948 or 1949. One source says the first film was California. Another source states that the first film was River Lady.
Originally, it had the capacity for 400 cars. Soon, it would be expanded to have enough room for 533 cars. There would also be 100 seats for walk-in customers.
It closed in 1967. It originally stood where the War Memorial on Georgia St. is now.
The Trail Drive-In opened in 1948. The opening night feature was Gunfighters.
Trail Drive-In was located on Amarillo Blvd, and had enough space for 400 cars. In 1966, a fire caused damage to the screen. The cause was believed to be faulty wiring.
Unfortunately the Trail Drive-In would close for good eleven years later in 1977.
In 1949, the Sunset Drive-In opened in Amarillo on W. 9th along Business Route 66. The operator of Sunset Drive-In also operated the Trail Drive-In, and would eventually open the Tascosa Drive-In.
The Sunset Drive-In originally stood where the Winchester Apartments are now. You can even still kind of see the entrance where NW 9th St meets North Bell.
The Skyway Drive-In opened in 1950 at "the end of E. 18th Avenue." Given the name, it is no surprise that the drive-in offered $100 for a parachute jumper to deliver the first film.
The first film was Sierra. Skyway had capacity for 500 cars.
In 1961, they began playing Spanish speaking films. Then, in 1964 they would play their last two features.
Skyway was closed, and demolished, to make way for I-40. Where the Skyway once was, the access road runs through it.
The Twin Drive-In
The Twin Drive-In opened in 1952. It had a massive capacity of 1,008 cars. It sat on a 17 acre tract of land.
The opening night featured The Lion and The Horse.
The most unique aspect of The Twin, was the two screens showing separate features. It was very rare in the '60s and '70s, much less in the '50s.
Also unique to The Twin, is at one point it claimed to be the largest drive-in in the state of Texas.
Unfortunately, one of the screens burned down. It wouldn't be too long before The Twin would close for good.
The land sat vacant until it was purchased by Walmart. Now, it is the site of the Super Center on Georgia.
Here's one that we're all very familiar with. It's the only one that's still in operation to this day, despite not being the original Tascosa Drive-In structure.
The original screen at Tascosa Drive-In had a mural painted on the front of it, and was not in the same location as the screen is today. The original screen burned down sometime around 1970.
Today, the Tascosa Drive-In is still operating. In fact, they had Paw Patrol: The Movie and Kung Fu Panda last weekend. If you head out there to catch a movie, keep in mind they are cash only. Check out their website at this link.