Penn Drive-In

1673 US 385,
McCamey, TX 79714

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Frontier Theatres

Previous Names: Circus Drive-In

Nearby Theaters

**Circus (Penn) Drive-In ...McCamey Texas**

The Frontier Theatres 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 Theatres which was headquartered in Dallas. By 1955 the Circus Drive-In was operated by Frank W. Nelson. It was still the Circus Drive-In in May 1965. It was later renamed Penn Drive-In.

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

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

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:

View link

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 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 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 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.

kennerado on November 12, 2019 at 4:04 am

The property is now McCamey RV Park, approximate address is 1673 ST, US-385, McCamey, TX

MichaelKilgore on April 17, 2020 at 1:39 pm

It was still the Circus on May 30, 1965, when it was included in an ad for the movie “Shenandoah” in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Kenmore on May 3, 2022 at 6:21 am

Sometime between 2012 and 2019 the screen was removed.

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