Penn Drive-In

County Road 475 and Highway 385,
McCamey, TX 79752

300 cars

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The Frontier Theaters company owned the 300 car capacity Circus Drive-In, which opened around 1952. It was operated by R.I. Payne of Theatre Entrs. Inc. H.J. Griffin was president of Frontier which was headquartered in Dallas. By 1955 the Circus Drive-In was operated by Frank W. Nelson. It was later renamed Penn Drive-In.

Contributed by John Tucker / B Holcomb/ B Smith/ D Lewis

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on May 9, 2009 at 7:46 am

A 2009 view of McCamey’s Circle Drive In remains and another view here.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Chuck, that is one of the best pictures i have ever seen on CT. Where is the DUKE and Clint?

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on April 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm

How many horses would this drive-in hold? Mike.

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on April 4, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Wow, went through McCamey a couple of times last year, never even looked for the screen. McCamey does has some nice ruins of oil refineries, or pumping stations all over town though. Explored a few of them.

If the Circus was on 67, what are these 2 drive-ins located on 385 North of town? May be a twin, but strange layout for one if it was….

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Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on April 4, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Not related to this particular drive-in but maybe someone can research this better than I could, but there was a fire in the theater in the town of McCamey, TX on July 4th, 1935 that severely burned the theater, and burnt the theater owner H. P. Priddy. Story here:

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Possibly the Grand or Palace according to CinemaTour….

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 5, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Tlsloews,Wasn’t that a great shot of the old screen.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on April 5, 2010 at 4:22 pm

It was beatiful.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 5, 2010 at 4:29 pm

I going to try and get Robin or Nick to print me a copy. I would love to have that framed. I ain’t much of a photo critic,but that shot just does something to me,that all these others[ drive in pics] have not done. Guess it is just me.

driveinfan
driveinfan on September 22, 2016 at 6:00 am

I have read where H. Ford Taylor sold his “Ford” drive in located in McCamey to Frank W. Nelson who operates the Grand indoor theater and the “Circus” drive in also located in McCamey. This came from a 1955 Billboard article. I also corresponded with a McCamey resident telling me that Circus drive in was originally called the “Penn” drive, later called the “Circus” drive in. He said the “Ford” drive in was south of the “Penn” drive in which was completely gone by the time he came in 1965. But then another resident said it was called the “Circus” drive in first and later on called the “Penn” drive in. So I really don’t know what is actually true on these two drive ins. Still doesn’t answer the question about the two layouts being next to each other on Hwy. 385. Anybody else have a more accurate history on these two drive ins?

Kenmore
Kenmore on September 22, 2016 at 7:24 am

A closer address (at least for Google) is County Road 475 and Highway 385, McCamey, TX. Today, the screen is still up and you can clearly see the ramps.

I would submit that the Penn and Circus Drive-In are not only the same, but the Ford Drive-In which only lasted a few years is the one on the south side. This is because the drive-in with the screen is found on a 1974 topo map. http://tinyurl.com/jng6wwb

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