Surf Drive-In

4609 Ayers Street,
Corpus Christi, TX 78415

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The Surf Drive-In was opened on February 11, 1953 with Ann Blyth in Red Canyon" & Judy Canova in “Honeychile”. It was closed in 1981. The site of the Surf Drive-In is now occupied by warehouses and offices.

Contributed by Bobby P.

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Yakima1 on June 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm

A very good shot of the Surf Drive-in marquee can be seen in this video of Hurricane Celia from 1970. It’s at the 19:56 point of the movie. The Surf’s screen was completely destroyed by the hurricane, and someone with a sense of humor put on the marquee “GONE WITH THE WIND”. It took quite a while for the Surf to make a comeback. Destroyed Aug 3, 1970; re-opended Nov 24, 1971. A link to some aerials and newspaper ads

Jim on October 9, 2013 at 1:08 pm

So glad I found this site. The Surf was our temporary home back in 1955 when my dad took over management of this theater and the Twin Palms (on Hwy 9, I think). I couldn’t remember the exact address. Our living quarters were in the huge base of the screen, with rooms constructed end to end. As I recall, it was quite spacious. I have fond memories of that place. The projectionist was a wonderful old gentleman who’d let me help him change reels. I’d watch for the “cigarette burn” in the upper right-hand corner, then throw the switch on the rear of the projector which ignited the carbon rods used for light.

Years ago, during a visit to Corpus, I drove along Ayers and could only get a general idea of the exact location. All I could remember was a huge water tower nearby. Thanks to Cinema Treasures, I got address, went to Google maps and selected street view. The 8mm footage that my dad shot reveals a water tower in the background and that landmark is still there.

I posted a frame grab from that footage in the photo tabbed section.

‘Scuse me while a huge wave of nostalgia washes over me.

Yakima1 on October 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm

That’s pretty awesome. I’m udating a link to several Surf related articles and pictures.

Yakima1 on October 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Qbrik…. would you be related to Johnny Blocker?

Jim on October 9, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Yakima, I’m not related. If you’ll read my post on The Viking Twin, also in Corpus, you’ll note that my late father was later hired to run the Viking for Johnny, as soon as it opened. In fact, my granddad was part of the construction crew.

I did have a crush on Mr. Blocker’s daughter. But we were only eight years old.

Leacha56 on November 20, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Hi there! My grandfather Jose “Joe” Ojeda used to manage The Twin Palms Food/kitchen then transferred to the Surf drive around 65' or 66'. My mom and her siblings would help in the kitchen. My mom moved up to the cashier position when she was in her late teens. She remembers the manager only by his last name with a daughter named Sherry. My grandfather managed the food/kitchen until the Surf closed. Made my mom very happy to hear that people still remember the theatres.

MichaelKilgore on April 15, 2020 at 1:12 pm

Billboard, March 14, 1953: “The Surf Drive-In Theater has been opened at Corpus Christi, Tex.”

MichaelKilgore on June 15, 2020 at 1:48 pm

Motion Picture Exhibitor, Jan. 9, 1963: “Sam Kellog has taken over operation of the Surf Drive-In and the Palm Drive-In, Corpus Christi, Tex.”

rivest266 on November 27, 2020 at 10:03 am

Opened on February 11th, 1953. grand opening ad posted.

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