271 Drive-In

Drive-In Avenue,
Paris, TX 75460

300 cars

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271 Drive-In Theater..Paris Texas

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The 271 Drive-In was opened August 24, 1948 by Henry, Wesley, Elmer and Frances Bell. It had a 60x50 tower, 38x48 screen and was the first drive-in in Paris. The 271 Drive-In was closed and abandoned in 1983, but was still standing in 2002.

Contributed by Billy Holcomb / Billy Smith / Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm

If you look at the drive-ins.com site, they give a slightly different chronology than in the introduction. According to them, the theater was closed in 1984 and then re-opened in 1985, which was its last season.

millsbranch
millsbranch on March 9, 2009 at 4:31 am

Lost Memory—-I correct you, i lived in Paris, and it is possible
someone tried to reopen the theater, but if they did, it would have been less than a month in operation.
..The theater was shut down in 1983, and the original owners are still around, and they seem to know nothing of its reopening.
..That don’t say much, but trust someone who is at least poutting these up for your derogitory remarks, Opps sorry, i forgot you know it all

millsbranch
millsbranch on March 9, 2009 at 8:20 am

derog-I-tory—Hey! you are alright, I guess i do liek you afterall
—IF YOU CAN’T TRUST A THEATER FREAK—WHO CAN YOU TRUST

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on September 8, 2009 at 6:25 pm

From 2009 a view of the 271 Drive In tower and a movie ad from 1977 featuring Chuck Norris in “Breaker Beaker!”.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 29, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Thanks again,Don.

jwmovies
jwmovies on August 29, 2012 at 5:31 am

This drive-in is located south of Hwy. 82 off North Main Street (Hwy 271) and north of Clement Road. The theatre is actually located on Drive-In Avenue!

From aerials if you zoom in, you can see both the old and newer screens (the newer placed in front of the older one).

KeatonRaney
KeatonRaney on January 3, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Hi, I’m the grandson of Glenn Bell, the owner of the property that the theatre is on. He is the son of Wesley Bell who originally built and founded the theatre in 1947. I’ve been doing some research online for what information is available about the 271 Drive In, and I figured I would provide some clarity about the building and how it was founded.

As far as I know, there were five brothers in the Bell clan: Wesley, Elmer, Homer, Chester, and Henry. They were all brothers from Oklahoma. Two of the brothers had already opened a drive in somewhere around Grand, OK that was very successful. Wesley, Homer, and Henry flew over to Paris to begin constructing the theatre, and they later drove the rest of the Bell family, including my grandfather, from Grant to Paris to join them.

They lived in a couple of houses before finally settling down in a nearby house which still stands today. It was in a fire several decades back and is obviously unsuitable for living. What is interesting about the house itself is that it served as an army barracks for the nearby Camp Maxey during World War II. I believe the barracks were being sold as houses after the war and the Bells eventually purchased one to transport onto the property nearby the theatre.

Wesley, Glenn’s father, was the family genius. He commandeered the entire construction of the theatre along with Homer and Elmer. They even mixed and poured their own concrete for the screen. This was the first screen, originally built for the smaller aspect ratio screens. Once it was completed in 1947, the advent of the wide screen was introduced and they added on the wider metal screen.

Wesley died during his early 30’s due to an unknown disease that deemed him unable to walk. My grandfather had to grow up quickly, as a result. He learned how to drive at age 12 so he could drive Wesley around. As far as I know, Wesley was fairly feeble and light enough for my grandfather to carry him around. My grandfather soon became the man of the house, and he ran the theatre until it’s closing with his mother Francis and his brother Wesley Jr.

The property itself still stands today, though it was closed in the 1980’s. My grandfather owns all of the property to this day. My family runs a couple of businesses that have their offices in front of and next to the theatre itself. The theatre means a lot to our family, because it’s full of so much history about Paris and our family legacy. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at

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