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I’m still curious about the location of The Rancho drive-in.
Operated by Carl T Nall and L E Harvey from Aug 1948 to Jul 1950. Sold to Joseph and Kyle in Jul 1950. Closed Mar 1952 around the time that Joseph and Kyle opened the newer Brahma Drive-In.
New info June 2021….
Operator L.E. Harvey opened this drive-in in 1948 after his Cuddihy Drive-In in Corpus Chrusti closed in 1947 when activity at Cuddihy Field was on the decline.
A Dec 15, 1947 Corpus Christi Caller Times article refers to the Cuddihy Drive-In as the Harvey Drive-In Theatre.
The Kingsville Record article of Aug 11, 1948 about Hi-Way Drive-In grand opening says that Harvey has operated Cuddihy “for several years”. Several years??
New info June 2021…..
An article in Dec 15, 1947 Corpus Christ Caller Times mentions how things out at Cuddihy Field were declining and it refers to “The Harvey Drive-In Tyeatre” having to close due to lack of business.
I checked The Kingsville Record to see if “Harvey” could be L.E. Harvey who ran The Hi-Way Drive-In, and I found the Hi-Way grand opening article on Aug 11, 1948 that confirms L.E. Harvey operated the Cuddihy Drive-In in Corpus Christi “for several years”. Several years? Could that be true?
Qbrik…. would you be related to Johnny Blocker?
That’s pretty awesome. I’m udating a link to several Surf related articles and pictures.
A very good shot of the Surf Drive-in marquee can be seen in this video of Hurricane Celia from 1970. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D45-MPJKNU&feature=related It’s at the 19:56 point of the movie. The Surf’s screen was completely destroyed by the hurricane, and someone with a sense of humor put on the marquee “GONE WITH THE WIND”. It took quite a while for the Surf to make a comeback. Destroyed Aug 3, 1970; re-opended Nov 24, 1971. A link to some aerials and newspaper ads https://picasaweb.google.com/114660070182931171464/CorpusChristiSurfDriveIn?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCIXCo6-SiPXQYw&feat=directlink
Thank you. I’m not sure how to contact you. I can be reached at
More info to come.
Why did it close so early? I know it survived Hurricane Beulah in Sep 1967, and around that time Corpus Christi Theaters (United Artists) tried to permit the addition of a second screen. There was certianly room on the large property. It was very close to an Elementary School and a new Junior High was opening nearby at that same time. Maybe they saw the writing on the wall because they closed after August 1968. It sat unused until Hurricane Celia destroyed it in Aug 1970. Pieces of the screen came flying at our house (two blocks away) throughout the storm.
Some images, ads and articles.
I’m making an assumption that what looks like drive-in scars in the 1956 aerial is in fact 9 year old remnants of a this short-lived drive-in. I have not been able to verify. I see no other likely drive-in location on or near Cuddihy field.
Here are some aerial images, newspaper ads and a bit of history for the Surf.
Our home movies of the aftermath of Hurricane Celia in 1970. At 4:23 one can briefly see the remnants of the marquee for The Lexington Drive-in. It was already closed by 1970, but was still standing…..until Hurricane Celia ripped the screen to shreds and sent the debris piece-by-piece towards our house which was 2 blocks away. Scary storm.
At 1:45 into the video one can briefly see the marquee for The Surf Drive-in on Ayers. Some clever person had put “Gone With The Wind” on the marquee.
Same video at 4:23 one can briefly see the remnants of the marquee for The Lexington Drive-in.
One of our city’s first Walmarts was built next to the drive-in site in 1982, perhaps encroaching a little on the widest part of the drive-in parking. The projection booth site is still visible in an undeveloped field next to the old Walmart building. The Walmart became a large Telemarketer building for a while and is now headquarters for the Stripes convenience store chain (owned by Susser). An office/retail/warehouse plaza was built on the screen end of the drive-in in 1979. If memory serves me correct, they tore down the screen and marquee at that time.
One can briefly see the marquee in our home movies of Hurricane Celia here…..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCZUCJMiZvA at 1:45 into the video.
A few more articles added.
The Viking Twin Drive-in opened Aug 11, 1957 at 5333 Ayers St, Corpus Christi, TX 78415 by Johnny Blocker who also opened The Twin Palms and The Surf. It was the last drive-in to be constructed in Corpus Christi. It held 1400 cars, 700 on each screen, although the grand opening article said it had speakers for 2000 cars and additional seating for 500 patrons. It was also operated by Rowley United and United Artists over the years. It closed in 1981.
Links to articles and photos to come……….
Address: 5200 Leopard St (formerly SH 9) | Capacity: 200 cars | Opened: Sunday Nov 12, 1939 | First Feature: “East Side of Heaven” (7 April 1939) starring Bing Crosby, Joan Blondell | Owner / Builder: Lone Star Amusement aka Southwest Theaters – CA Richter, Leon Newman, Nick & Pete Katsaris | Closed: Friday Nov 5, 1948 (Last ad in Caller) | Currently (2010): Corpus Christi Greyhound Racetrack kennels, Sico White & Braugh Warehouse | The first permanent drive-in in Texas and one of the earliest in the country. It is often incorrectly stated that it opened March 1939. Richter & Newman opened The Boulevard Drive-in Feb 1942 on Lexington Ave (S.P.I.D. at Richter) where the Trade Center sits today. By 1948, the wooden Texas was rotting so a replacement (The Corpus) was built a few blocks closer to town on Leopard (SH 9), and would someday be known as The Thunderbird Drive-in.
The Surf was heavily damaged by Hurricane Celia in August of 1970. Someone quickly added ‘Gone With The WInd’ to the marquee.
A link to more info with photos and articles to come……….
Address: 4841 Staples at Everhart (4801 S. Staples today) | Capacity: 550 cars | Opened: Thursday Mar 16, 1951 | First Feature: “Frenchie” starring Joel McCrea, Shelley Winters | Owner / Builder: Chester Kyle and Lester Miller | Closed: Monday Sep 5, 1960 (Last ad in Caller) | Currently (2010): Frost Bank and BMW of Corpus Christi | Chester Kyle was part owner of the Kinsgville drive-ins with a different partner. He opened this drive-in in Mar 1951 and surprisingly sold out to Corpus Christi Theaters a little more than 6 months later. This would be the first drive-in for CC Theaters who held all of the many indoor theaters in Corpus. They closed down for several weeks in the Spring of 1952 while they remodeled and upgraded this very new theater adding a train track around the perimeter for their new attraction, a replica of the Missouri-Pacific streamliner “The Texas Eagle”. The ad logo changed from the Indian Chief’s head to The Texas Eagle Train. The grand re-opening was May 8, 1952.
Address: 6202 Lexington Ave (currently S.P.I.D.) | Capacity: 750 cars | Opened as Bel-Aire Drive-in: Wednesday Dec 15, 1954 | Opened as 62nd and Lexington: Sunday Oct 21, 1956 | Opened as Capri at 62nd & Lexington: Sunday Jul 23, 1961 | Opened as Lexington: Friday Jan 4, 1963 | Owner / Builder: Chester W Kyle, Fred Latham, Lewis Maples | Other operators: Mr.&Mrs. Herman Gould, Al-Ray Theaters, Crim-Hartgrove Theaters, Corpus Christi Theaters | Closed: Stopped advertising in paper August 1968 | Currently (2010): Champion Ford Mazda |
Here are images and articles for The Boulevard.
The Boulevard actually opened in early 1942 right after the beginning of WWII. It suffered the common ‘blackouts’ that drive-ins adhered to to prevent enemy bombings or spyings at night.
Address: 2801 Lexington Ave (S.P.I.D.) | Capacity: 300 cars | Opened: Thursday Feb 5, 1942 | First Feature: “My Life With Caroline” (1 August 1941) starring Ronald Colman, Anna Lee | Owner / Builder: Lone Star Amusement aka Southwest Theaters – CA Richter, Leon Newman | Closed: Sunday Jul 16, 1961 (Last ad in Caller) | Currently (2010): Corpus Christi Trade Center (formerly GMC Membership Store opening Dec 1, 1961 and later a Shopper’s World)
The oroginal projection booth and concession stand and the offices that were headquarters for Doc Richter are still standing in the parking lot of the Trade Center. I believe they are being used as an auto shop.