Don 2 Drive-In

Memorial Boulevard and Highway 73,
Port Arthur, TX 77640

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Martin Theatres

Previous Names: Don Drive-In

Nearby Theaters

1980 newspaper ad

The Don Drive-In was opened in 1950 as a single screen drive-in. It had a capacity for 617 cars and seating for 100 walk-in patrons. In 1950 it was operated by O.O. Cumminings and from November 1952 it was operated by Julius M. Gordon and Jefferson Amusement Co.

Later beoming a typical twin screen drive-in theatre. It was located at, what was then, the north west outskirts of town. The projection setup was unusual in that, even in the late-1970’s the projectors could only handle single reels of film, having to be switched to the other projector every 20 minutes or so. It also used a carbon arc light when most theatres were xenon.

The front screen was also unusual in that it had a small apartment built into the base that the manager lived in. The Don 2 Drive-In was closed in September 1980.

Contributed by Steven Domingue

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

carolgrau on April 10, 2009 at 11:13 pm

What is unusual about that? That is what is called real projection. I remember when we went xenon, after one lamp was installed we wanted to see the difference. We left the xenon lit, then fired up the old Strong Futura II, the carbon knocked the xenon light right off the screen. Carbons was by far a much better light source but they became so high in cost xenon was the only way to go.

stevendm on April 21, 2009 at 9:54 pm

I consider this projection setup unusual for the late 1970’s because each projector would only hold a double reel of film, running for about 20 minutes. I worked as a projectionist in five theaters in the Beaumont / Port Arthur area and this was the only one that could not hold a large reel (about one hour run time) or platters, which held the entire movie. It was only one of two theaters in the area that used carbon arc lamps, the rest using xenon. BTW, I never could get the carbon arc lamps to stop their slight flickering. I could notice it but I doubt most theater goers could (I bet I will be proven wrong on that statement).

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 21, 2010 at 11:43 pm

If you had those old carbon arcs in theatres with cue marks and change overs there would much fewer complaints about movies today when a trained and usually a union man is in the booth,and not some 17 year old kid trying to figure out how to score with"SUSIE" the candy girl. Right on Norelco.

TLSLOEWS on March 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I agree even in the late seventies we ran 20 miniute reels,until we got the bigger reels and could put 3 reels on one and only change over every hour.We also still used carbon arc lamphouses except at the Loews Madison which had xenon bulbs.Xenon was not a bright picture and if the went out they could not be relit as you could with the carbon rods.

jwmovies on September 27, 2012 at 3:55 am

5500 does not map properly. Approx. location for this drive-in was on Memorial Blvd. between Hwy 73 and 60th St. The entrance is still there and you can make out the outlines for both theatres. You can see where the snack bar was also.

MichaelKilgore on March 29, 2019 at 12:17 pm

From the Sept. 10, 1955 issue of Billboard:

“A new second screen has been installed at the Don Drive-In, Port Arthur, Tex. New lamps were also recently installed.”

MichaelKilgore on April 18, 2020 at 6:04 pm

Billboard, Nov. 22, 1952: “O. O. Cummings has sold the 500-car-capacity Don Drive-In Theater at Port Arthur, Tex., to Jefferson Amusement Company, with headquarters at Beaumont, Tex.”

Cherilyn on July 21, 2022 at 12:53 am

Wish I could have gone there I have never been to a drive in movie in my life

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