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This photo was given to me by my late father, Otis Bolinger. He managed the Eureka back in 1951 and my mom ran the concession stand. Don’t know if I mentioned it in previous posts for other theaters he’d run, that he was big on “ballyhoo” to promote an upcoming film. Of course, I loved it, especially when he dressed the ushers and usherettes in pirate costumes for Blackbeard the Pirate.
It was at the Eureka that my brother and I experienced our first earth tremor. And, the memory is still quite vivid.
The memorable day began with my dad sternly warning that he’d send us home if we ran around the lobby. We were to watch the movie and not move from our seats.
It was during a matinee of Bird of Paradise, starring Jeff Chandler and Debra Paget. The film’s setting was a tropical isle in the Pacific. Ms.Paget portrayed the island’s princess and Chandler, played her brother. Near the end of the film, the island’s dormant volcano erupts and the some of inhabitants want to sacrifice the princess. Here’s why I still recall watching the film….
At the very same moment that the on-screen volcano erupted, the Eureka Theater began to sway back and forth!
My brother and I remained in our seats as the audience ran for the exits. Though I was quite young, I understood the reason the aforementioned ballyhoo, but still naive enough to wonder, during the tremor “Did my daddy make the theater move like that?”
Above, davidcoppock asked why the drive-in was called the Kelly. It came from nearby Kelly Air Force Base (now just Kelly Field), west of the theater.
In 1955, my late father was manager for a short while. His hiring prompted our relocation from Kokomo, Indiana, where he’d run old the North Drive-In Theater. By the end of the year, we packed up and moved again when he was hired to manage the Surf and the Twin Palms Drive-In theaters in Corpus Christi, Texas.
I was nine years old at the time and my only recollection is listening to my dad’s voice on the theater’s speakers. He would tape pre-show messages, promoting upcoming events at the theater, mixed with songs referenced the approach of evening, like “Red Sails in the Sunset” by Nat King Cole.
Very brief clip from vintage 8mm home movie my dad shot back in 1955. He was manager of this theater and we lived next to the screen in a mobile home. Halfway through the pan, you can almost discern the miniature race cars that were pulled behind a tractor to entertain the kiddies before the first feature.
Sorry ‘bout the late response, I don’t visit this site that often….but to answer Drive-In 1954, many of the photos we had from that era were lost in a fire. In addition, My mom and dad are both deceased, so that’s not a source.
I’m not related. If you’ll read my post on The Viking Twin, also in Corpus, you’ll note that my late father was later hired to run the Viking for Johnny, as soon as it opened. In fact, my granddad was part of the construction crew.
I did have a crush on Mr. Blocker’s daughter. But we were only eight years old.
My dad managed the Viking Twin. Before that, the Surf and Twin Palms for John Blocker back in ‘55. When Mr. Blocker built the Viking, he offered dad a new gig—manager for this wonderful theater. Dad was big on Ballyhoo and would often stage “Drive In Theater Premieres”. He once brought Diane Ladd to the Viking for the opening of a Roger Corman biker film.
I was 8 years old when I got my first very innocent kiss, on the playground of the Viking. It was bestowed on me by the owner’s daughter, Vicki Blocker.
Amazing image. As I mention on the page for the Surf Drive-In Theater, my dad managed this theater and the Surf in 1955. As I recall, he would show a double-feature of Spanish language films on Wednesday nights. Though I was only 9 and unable to speak Spanish, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movies, especially those starring Cantinflas.
When the Viking Twin was built, my dad was the new theater’s first manager.
So glad I found this site. The Surf was our temporary home back in 1955 when my dad took over management of this theater and the Twin Palms (on Hwy 9, I think). I couldn’t remember the exact address. Our living quarters were in the huge base of the screen, with rooms constructed end to end. As I recall, it was quite spacious. I have fond memories of that place. The projectionist was a wonderful old gentleman who’d let me help him change reels. I’d watch for the “cigarette burn” in the upper right-hand corner, then throw the switch on the rear of the projector which ignited the carbon rods used for light.
Years ago, during a visit to Corpus, I drove along Ayers and could only get a general idea of the exact location. All I could remember was a huge water tower nearby. Thanks to Cinema Treasures, I got address, went to Google maps and selected street view. The 8mm footage that my dad shot reveals a water tower in the background and that landmark is still there.
I posted a frame grab from that footage in the photo tabbed section.
‘Scuse me while a huge wave of nostalgia washes over me.