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I get a 404 Error page when I try to access Joe’s article, so I’ll post a bit of info here that may be covered in his article.
Originally opened in 1911 at 1608 Elm (south side of the street) by G.K. Jorgensen, who operated an early Texas theater chain based in Galveston, and who built the Crystal before the trend of film theaters being located on the north side of Elm was firmly established.
In 1926, the lease was held by W.G. Underwood, later of Underwood & Ezell, who operated many walk-ins and drive-ins in Texas. His lease was due to expire in 1928, at which time the space would be remodeled into a McCrory’s store.
The building still stands, and abuts the building that was the site of the original Titche-Goettinger store in Dallas.
Address either is wrong, or perhaps google maps has a glitch; at any rate, map link takes you to Walton Walker and Illinois; the Astro was not at this location, it was at Loop 12 (Walton Walker) and Kiest Blvd. (see link to opening night ad, below).
In google maps aerial view, the remains of a three-screen drive-in are clearly visible in the triangle of land formed by Walton Walker on the east, Duncanville Rd. on the west, and Kiest on the south.
One more question about this location: what is (was) the “ex-theater-y” looking building presently right next to the Lido in the google maps street views (called the Beverage Depot)? it has the same stair-stepped roof profile of so many old theater buildings – – – but that can’t possibly be, right?
BTW – just to respond further to TC’s old comment about a drive-in called the “Twin East”…that was the old Twin Highways, located farther out Jefferson to the east toward Grand Prairie. At one point in its checkered life span it was called simply the “Twin” – the Twin Highways is what it went by when it was a single-screener, as it was located between Jefferson and W. Davis (SH 160) and had two entrances, one off each route. Later, another complete screen/projection booth/parking lot was added, to the east and the venue became known as the “Twin West” and the “Twin East.” Very rare permutation of the twin-screen concept.
That shot of the sign and marquee is awesome, Chuck!
Address should be changed, as current map link takes you to the cloverleaf, several blocks to the west of the Britain Road area.
Randy, what photoset is your pic of the Downs in? I could not find it.
From correlating views from HistoricalAerials.com from 1958 – 2004 with current GoogleMaps views, it seems the construction of R.L. Thornton Expressway, which also served as a new route for U.S. Hwy 80/67 through the area, doomed this drive-in by taking out a major chunk of its parking lot – can’t have a drive-in movie without a place for the cars.
This would’ve come to pass in the very early 1960’s, confirmed by the fact that, by the date of Don’s ubiquitous 1963 Dallas Drive-In listings, ads for the Samuell Boulevard Drive-In were no longer carried.
Chuck, Historical Aerials 1958 view confirms the 4617 address as correct for the Samuell Blvd D/I – no trace in 1958 view at 4200.
Don, as I stated earlier, East Pike makes sense as original name for Samuell Blvd. due to designation of that part of Samuell Blvd. as U.S. Highway 80 coming into Dallas from the east back in those days. Many of the streets in that part of town must have run different back in those days – for example, the original address of the nearby Lone Star D/I is listed in early materials as “near Military Pkwy and Forney Road.” No mention of Lawnview Ave., which is exactly where the Lone Star sat, at 4600.
SiliconSam, Chuck 1231 confirms Bob’s statement that this was originally the East Pike (see Casa View Drive-In page), so there needs to be an AKA added above the title, don’t you think?
Oh, it feels like we’re on to something…funtime!
BTW Chuck –
Is that book still available?
The 1972 view on Historic Aerials looks like it’s already fallen on hard times. Last I remember attending a show there was in 1970 to see a double feature of “Giant” and “Return of the Seven.” “Return” opened the bill with “Giant” following – long night. I don’t remember the place being in bad shape, though, so maybe they just shut ‘er down one night and walked away.
Thanks, Chuck – I never called it the House View – that was tlsloews' joke (I think) – but since I’ve got your attention, can you skip on over to the Dallas listing for the Samuell Boulevard Drive-In and check out Bob Jensen’s contention that it was once called the East Pike? Never heard that one, either, and he did not reply to my response as to when the SB was called that. Might make sense, though, because IIRC Samuell Blvd was, in former times, the main E-W hwy (HWY 80) as it ran through that part of Dallas.
Good deal, SiliconSam – then, we ought to add an aka to this drive-in. Funny, never in all the years I spent in Dallas did I hear it referred to as the White Rock Drive-In. Here is a link to that 1959 Mapsco page (listing is on the lower right):
My family moved to Dallas when I was four, in 1958 – the fact that I always remember this drive-in being called the Casa View notwithstanding, could it have started out life as the White Rock Drive-In?
Reason for my question is a page from a 1959 Dallas Mapsco that lists no Casa View, but does list a White Rock D/I on Gus Thomasson Rd. – no street number, though. – This is the only D/I I ever knew about on Gus Thomasson.
I’m hoping maybe someone like Chuck 1231 or SiliconSam can chime in on this one.
Many thanks, James! That clears up everything!
Sorry to disagree, panhandle, but this place was still running “burlesk” as late as the very early 60’s. It and the whole block went down to make way for the First Nat'l. Bank Building (52 stories, tallest west of the Mississippi at that time), which is now called Elm Place, is being foreclosed on, and has an occupancy rate of about 30%.
That’s the story, SiliconSam – the Downs went down, and the new Century arose in its place, first four screens, then eventually five.
Does anyone remember two drive-ins out in this area, one called the East Main, the other called the Twin Highways?
Bombing race-motivated or insurance claim on a venue no longer “viable”? Intriguing.
Wow – neat postcard view, Don!
My dad graduated from Texas A&I, 1958. He worked for Bud Piper at Cage-Piper Funeral Home (later Piper Funeral Home). We lived in the apartment over the ambulance garage. Piper has long since moved to bigger and better quarters but the old building where we lived is still there, at the corner of 10th and E. Kleberg.
The theaters we patronized in Kingsville were the Texas (downtown), the King’s, and the Brahma (without the final “n”).
So it WAS just the “Rancho”, not “El Rancho.” My mistake of a faulty memory, since I was the one who started asking about these drive-ins.
My memory was also faulty about the name of the King’s Drive-In; I remembered it as “King.”
Excellent work, Yakima. Thanks so much.
Great finds – thanks for posting. Note of interest: grand opening article (Kingsville Record 4/30/52) lists car capacity of 450. Pretty big for Kingsville.
I remember the screen tower mural.
The line of cars stacked up on Buckner waiting to get in to this theater when John Wayne movies played would often be past John West Road! Hatari!, McLintock, etc. were big crowd-pleasers back then. Several neighbor families would caravan out here, all of us kids in our PJ’s, and make an evening of it. We’d even play on the playground equipment in our PJ’s, our dads in their light slacks and madras sportshirts on those warm summer nights. Good memories of a good theater.