Friday, May 16, 2008

A Reader Writes: Drive-In Memories

After reading my piece Drive-In Memories from last November, a reader sent the following email (reproduced here by permission):

Dear Mack,

I wanted to write and let you know that I was thoroughly entertained reading your blog this evening on your drive-in theater memories.

Like so many who intimately knew her, I also lamented the destruction of the Fort Worth Twin's screen towers over the New Year's holiday. I saw that they were missing a couple of weeks after they were torn down, and I, too, felt a certain "warmth of nostalgia" when I passed them by on the Tom Landry Highway. I'm grateful to the handful of people (like your friend Brian Roper) who took pictures of it before it was demolished.

I can say that the Fort Worth Twin was, bar-none, my favorite drive-in theater to haunt when I was a kid growing up in the '70s and living in the neighborhood close to John Peter Smith hospital. Some of the films I saw there were 'The Golden Voyage of Sinbad', 'Zardoz', and the original 'Rollerball'. My Mom and I had moved to the Mid-Cities in 1976, and I believe the last time I went to the good ol' Twin was back in '78, watching a movie called 'Warlords of Atlantis', starring Doug McClure, that showed on it's east screen.

Even though it closed before I knew anything about it, I remember passing by the old Pike Drive-In's abandoned screen tower in the late '70s and early '80s, with it's faded and peeling mural and the surrounding high grass. If you're interested, there's a beautiful picture of the Pike's screen tower in all it's former glory when it opened in the book 'The American Drive-In Movie Theatre', by Don and Susan Sanders. If I remember correctly, wasn't it located on the corner of E. Lancaster Ave. and another street?

I'm currently doing some personal research on the drive-in theaters of Fort Worth, and have found some good basic information on them with some promising leads, and I've also been in contact with some people (like Brian) who have been very helpful with my endeavor.

Well, I just thought I'd drop you an e-mail. Thank you very much for sharing your memories. Glad to know your friend Sandy made it after all!

Larry Martinez

Thanks for writing! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed my drive-in memories, also glad to make the acquaintance of someone who also remembers the Twin and especially the Pike.

Golden Voyage of Sinbad ZardozRollerball … not only do I miss the drive-in theatres, I miss the movies of that era. Of the three you mention, Rollerball in particular is one I can still watch over and over. I just wish I could watch it under the stars.

The precise location of the Pike is something Brian and I have discussed before, without any firm conclusions. You may be right about it being on the corner of E. Lancaster. I can’t remember, because the last time I saw the ruins of the screen tower was (I think) the early 70s when I used to commute up and down the road that ran through Handly, past Rose Hill Cemetery (Lee Harvey Oswald's last resting place), to my job at the newspaper in Arlington.

I have a copy of the book you mention. In fact, the Pike photo was the reason I bought it. If I ever find a color photo of the Pike in its 1950s neon glory, that would be the Holy Grail of Drive-In Photos for me.

And yes, I too am glad my old friend Sandy survived. Otherwise, it would have been a most unpleasant end to the evening.

Again, thanks for writing! Please stay in touch …