Texas Drive-In

5142 Leopard Street,
Corpus Christi, TX 78409

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Texas Drive-In Feature

The Texas Drive-In was located on Highway 9, only a few blocks away from what would later become the Thunderbird Drive-In. As the first drive-in in Texas, it was also one of the first to close, lasting from its opening on November 12, 1939 with Bing Crosby in “East Side of Heaven. It was closed on November 5, 1948. It was operated by C.A. Richter & Lone Star Amusement Company.

Contributed by Bobby P.

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Yakima1 on May 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Address: 5200 Leopard St (formerly SH 9) | Capacity: 200 cars | Opened: Sunday Nov 12, 1939 | First Feature: “East Side of Heaven” (7 April 1939) starring Bing Crosby, Joan Blondell | Owner / Builder: Lone Star Amusement aka Southwest Theaters – CA Richter, Leon Newman, Nick & Pete Katsaris | Closed: Friday Nov 5, 1948 (Last ad in Caller) | Currently (2010): Corpus Christi Greyhound Racetrack kennels, Sico White & Braugh Warehouse | The first permanent drive-in in Texas and one of the earliest in the country. It is often incorrectly stated that it opened March 1939. Richter & Newman opened The Boulevard Drive-in Feb 1942 on Lexington Ave (S.P.I.D. at Richter) where the Trade Center sits today. By 1948, the wooden Texas was rotting so a replacement (The Corpus) was built a few blocks closer to town on Leopard (SH 9), and would someday be known as The Thunderbird Drive-in.

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rivest266 on November 26, 2020 at 1:41 pm

Opened on November 12th, 1939. Grand opening ad posted.

Kenmore on December 27, 2022 at 9:55 am

A slightly closer address is 5142 Leopard St, Corpus Christi, TX.

Google has updated their street addresses. It now lines up with the old entrance.

A 1951 aerial shows the drive-in demolished and apparently for a few years.

Today, the north part of the property is occupied by kennels for the Gulf Coast Racing facility. while the south part of the property is open ground. There is no trace of the drive-in remaining.


MichaelKilgore on May 22, 2024 at 10:15 am

In his well-researched 1992 book “Drive-In Theaters,” Kerry Segrave included a list of “Early Drive-ins.” The first Texas entry of the list was presumably this one in Corpus Christi. Seagrave wrote that it opened in March 1939 and was owned by Nick Katsaris, Pete Katsaris, Leon Newman, C. A. Richter, and F. D. Smith. He said he based that information on a note on Page 126 of the March 30, 1940 Boxoffice magazine, but I couldn’t find any of that in the online version of that issue.

Kenmore on May 22, 2024 at 1:08 pm

The Texas Drive-In did NOT operate until 1955.

A 1951 aerial shows the drive-in demolished with trees growing on part of the property. It clearly had been closed for some time well prior to 1951.

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