Royal Drive-In

1200 Highway 6,
Marlin, TX 76661

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It is a drive in that I found on historic aerials. The Royal Drive-In was opened in March 1950 when it was operated by E.L. Williamson. By 1955 it was operated by J.C. Chatmas of the Palace Theatre, Marlin. It was still open in 1970, but closed later in the 1970’s. The drive-in was actually on the land now occupied by warehouses next to the church.

Contributed by Daniel

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Kenmore on December 22, 2022 at 6:33 am

Most of the property is an open field. The outline and ramps have long worn away. The only trace remaining is the rubble of the foundation of the projection booth/concession stand.

50sSNIPES on December 22, 2022 at 7:11 am

Looks like it did close in the 1970s. The theater was almost completely gone in the 1981 aerial.

MichaelKilgore on December 22, 2022 at 10:36 am

The Exhibitor, June 21, 1950: “ H. C. Stadele is building a new 300-car capacity drive-in at Marlin, Tex… . The Royal Drive-In has been opened at Marlin by E. L. Williamson and Associates.”

Several newspapers reported on a false-alarm panic that originated at the Royal in early May 1951. About 9 pm, a patron told owner/manager John Lawrence (J. L.) Compere that he heard on his car radio that a twister was headed from Waco towards Marlin. Compere got on the drive-in PA and warned patrons to take cover. “An estimated 600 cars, four abreast, streamed out of the drive-in and headed for town,” spreading the word as they drove. There was no tornado, and no one could figure what the patron, “a man of good reputation,” had heard.

The Exhibitor, Nov. 14, 1951: “J. L. Compere, manager, Royal Drive-In, Marlin, Tex., announced that he will continue the operation of the drive-in on a year-round basis.”

The Exhibitor, May 7, 1952: “The Royal Drive-In has been reopened at Marlin, Tex., by J. C. Chatmas, Sr., and Johnny Chatmas. It was purchased by the Chatmas Amusement Company last November.”

MichaelKilgore on December 22, 2022 at 9:31 pm

Boxoffice, Dec. 31, 1949: (under Theatre Construction) “Marlin, Tex. - 400-car drive-in started on Route 6 for E. L. Williams.”

Boxoffice, March 4, 1950: (under Theatre Openings) “Marlin, Tex. - Royal Drive-In opened by E. L. Williamson & Associates.”

Boxoffice, March 18, 1950: (under Theatre Openings) “Marlin, Tex. - 300-car drive-in to open immediately for H. C. Stadele on Highway 7.”

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