Valley Drive-In

402 Dixieland Road,
Harlingen, TX 78552

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Additional Info

Firms: Hammond and Company

Styles: Spanish Colonial

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Valley Drive-In

Located on Highway 83. The Valley Drive-In was opened February 8, 1945 with Esther Williams and Red Skelton in “Bathing Beauty”. It was built by C.A. Richer of Lone Star Amusement Co., who claimed he had previously built the third ever drive-in in existence in the USA. He had theatres in the Texas cities of Houston, Corpus Christi and San Antonio prior to the opening of the Valley Drive-In.

The Valley Drive-In was the first drive-in theatre to open in Harlingen. It cost $75,000 and had a screen 38' x 52' and was said to be the 247th drive-in to open in the USA.

In 1955 the Valley Drive-In was still operated by C.A. Richer and Southwest Theatres Ct. in 1948. The Valley Drive-In closed in February 1960.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on April 30, 2015 at 5:34 am

The correct address is:

402 Dixieland Road, Harlingen, TX 78552. In looking at aerials it looks like it was closed by 1962. Most of the drive-in theatre is under RT 2 now.

dallasmovietheaters on May 1, 2015 at 7:09 am

Architected by Hammond and Company, Charles A. Richter and Frederick Martin’s $75,000 Valley Drive-In was showy. The Spanish Colonial architecture, gaudy colors, neon, and landscaping made a nice backdrop for theater-goers and passers by, alike. Composed of brick, steel, concrete and glass brick with maroon accents, the theater tower was best remembered for its tropical palm mural. The 38x52 foot screen had a black matte and a sliver screen projection area. In addition to its 300 spaces, there is a long row of benches for people without cars (which can be seen in one of the photos). Richter claimed to have built the third ever drive-in in the USA. In 1948, Richter became president of the Independent Drive-In Theaters Association located in Austin, TX. The original co-owner of the Valley, Frederick Martin, is listed as its sole owner later that year.

Good call on the closing Drive-In 54: The year-round operation appears to have ceased operations just after its 15th anniversary celebration. The last showtimes advertised were on Feb. 22, 1960 with “The Diary of Anne Frank.” The land was leased from a local farmer which may indicate the end of a 15-year agreement.

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