Chocolate Bayou Drive-In

10200 Cullen Boulevard,
Houston, TX 77051

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Cullen Drive-In

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Chocolate Bayou Drive-In

The Chocolate Bayou Drive-In was opened on May 28, 1955 and had a capacity for 660 cars and 200 seats for walk-in patrons. It was for African-American patrons only and operated by Great Southern Ent.

In the early-1960’s, this drive-in was operated by Ronald Torn and it ended its days screening adult movies. Capacity at that time was 560 cars. It was closed in 1971.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

kencmcintyre on March 6, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Further research shows the location of former this drive-in as 10200 Cullen Boulevard, Houston 77051.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 8, 2008 at 8:10 pm

ZIP 77051

“They showed the old movie theater, and half of it was gone.” Scott Ward

kencmcintyre on January 26, 2010 at 8:48 am

Culle or Cullen? It was on Cullen Boulevard.

MichaelKilgore on July 29, 2019 at 2:12 pm

The start of a three-page story in the March 3, 1956 issue of BoxOffice:

“Supported by excellent patronage from its opening night, May 28, 1955, the Chocolate Bayou Drive-In at Houston has become one of the most successful innovations in the Texas entertainment picture. The theatre was built by Roland Torn, former FBI operative, who conceived the idea of a de luxe operation as a constructive step toward good race relations. Torn chose as his manager George Haynes, a former member of Louis Armstrong’s band.

“In the ten months since the drive-in opened, there have been several notable promotions. One was a dusk-to-dawn show, beginning at 6 p.m. and running until 8 a.m., during which period 12 feature films were shown. The charge was $1 per person and Haynes estimated that about 1,100 patrons turned out for the marathon show. The event proved so popular that Haynes received many requests to repeat the promotion on New Year’s Eve. On several occasions the drive-in has accommodated 1,400. although the parking area is equipped with just 660 speakers and 200 walk-in seats in front of the concessions stand.

“The usual boxoffice price is 50 cents for adults, which includes all over 12 years of age. Children under 12 are admitted free, even when they are not with their parents. Haynes says that there are many small children of the immediate neighborhood who wander in and out at will during the evening performances.”

There are many more details, including a doughnut machine that creates them to order, well-graded ramps to prevent the region’s typical mud issues, a 64x90-foot plywood screen, and minimal vandalism because “patrons wish to show appreciation to the management for providing such a pleasant entertainment spot that is open year-round.”

MichaelKilgore on May 2, 2022 at 10:33 am

Alternate name? Boxoffice, Sept. 10, 1955: “The Chocolate Bayou Drive-In is listed in the telephone book as the Sunnyside Drive-In”

50sSNIPES on June 28, 2022 at 6:18 am

Looks like it closed in the early 1970s. As of 1977, the traces were fading, but everything else is pretty much left attached.

Kenmore on June 28, 2022 at 8:48 am

A 2021 Google Street View shows the land is now a pasture for cows.

rivest266 on November 10, 2022 at 4:25 am

Closed 1971. Adult movies in its later years.

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