Whatever Happened to Drive-In Movie Theatres? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/30/03

Whatever Happened to Drive-In Movie Theatres?

Remember when? When you could go to the movies, take your own snacks, prop up your feet without kicking someone in the head and never have to get out of your car. Those were the days when the movie-going experience was more personal and romantic.

So, Whatever Happened to the all-American tradition of drive-in movies?

It's been years since Lubbock had a working drive-in movie theater. But now, a young entrepreneur named Ryan Smith, is about to revitalize the time honored tradition of drive-ins here in Lubbock.

For older generations, this is what made movie going so grand. A great place for a date, the family or a dozen friends all piled in one car, including two in the trunk. By the late 50's, Texas had 400 drive-in theaters, the most in the country. Since then, that number has dwindled to just 16 in the Lone Star state.

It's been years since this American pastime has existed in Lubbock, but Ryan Smith is about to bring it back. "Lubbock had such a great history of drive-ins. So that, along with people driving down to the Sky View in Lamesa, it's just a perfect fit and a place where the drive-in was destined to rise again," says Smith.

From a cotton field in northwest Lubbock, the drive-in experience is indeed rising again. Smith is building a new 24 acre twin screen drive-in that's scheduled to be lit up in less than a month. "This is the front of the concession stand and from here we're projecting to both screens," says Smith.

The new Stars 'n' Stripes drive-in is located right off the Clovis Highway, just a mile and a half outside the Loop. It will have two huge screens, one with enough room for 600 cars, the other large enough to host 400 cars.

All the advantages of the old drive-ins will be returning as well. Less expensive ticket prices, double feature nights and of course a full concession stand with a game room, snacks and even full dinners.

Smith says there's a market out there for this, and he should know. He's the grandson of Skeet Noret, the man who built the Sky View in Lamesa. Smith's ready to tap into the nostalgia of yesteryear.

"Drive-Ins are just great. Perfect for a family. You can put the kids in their pj's and come on out, eat dinner and then the kids fall asleep and their parents have a date," says Smith.

Smith says they're on track to open in mid to late July. Show times will vary depending on when the sun sets. The show will be broadcast on a low frequency FM signal and all the shows will be new releases.

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