Comet Drive-In

2524 W. 7th Street,
Clovis, NM 88101

550 cars

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Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on May 19, 2022 at 7:05 pm

The GPS coordinates: 34.405987,-103.238758

Address is:2524 W 7th St, Clovis, NM 88101.

Kenmore on May 19, 2022 at 5:33 pm

In comparing the ‘62 to the overhead Google Map and using the residences as reference, the structure extends to the south about the same distance, but not as much to the north.

I think they removed the projection booth (which I believe was on the north side) and then rebuilt the concession stand using the old foundation for both new buildings that sit on the property today.

Kenmore on May 19, 2022 at 5:21 pm

Well, the first observation is that the entrance/exit roads are still present in the 1962 photo which provides for a better address.

The address is 2821 W 7th St, Clovis, NM. This lines up well with Google Maps.

Next, the 1958 topo map has the drive-in at the right location, but facing the wrong direction. And the drive-in takes up the entire property, not a fraction of it as in the topo map.

Finally, the building has the same general shape, but there are differences. Most notably in the 1962 photo on the north side that appears to be a projection booth or perhaps restrooms that are no longer there.

So, this isn’t exactly the same building.

They either renovated or removed it and then constructed a new building. My guess is they removed the projection booth on the north side, which explains the lack of slits in the front of the building that is still there. And then they renovated the remaining structure.

At some later point they added the taller building on the south side.

MichaelKilgore on May 19, 2022 at 1:36 pm

I just uploaded a 1962 photo that included the original building, and I think it’s consistent with the 1983 photo. But you’re better at picking out visual details, Kenmore, so I am happy to read your perspective.

Kenmore on May 18, 2022 at 3:06 pm

It certainly looks like two buildings that sit next to each other on the property, the larger one is perhaps a more recent addition.

The smaller building has the basic shape of a typical projection booth/concession stand. It may have been remodeled to remove the small projection ports that are typical of such a building.

One odd aspect is that the building does not face directly east/west. It sits at a slight angle.

The topo map which shows the drive-in looks ridiculously small on the property. If the outline it true, it couldn’t have held that many cars. I suspect it was considerably larger, but all the ramps had been removed by the 1983 aerial as the property became a trailer park.

MichaelKilgore on May 18, 2022 at 2:43 pm

The 1958 topo map previously uploaded here showed the projection-concession building that matched a building in a 1983 aerial photo. Long story short, I think that it’s still there, now alone in a vacant lot, and Google Maps gives it the address of 2524 W 7th St, Clovis, NM 88101.

MichaelKilgore on May 18, 2022 at 11:59 am

Following up that weird mention of the Comet screen in February 1957, in December 1957 the Clovis News-Journal ran a classified ad for residential lots “North of Comet Drive-In.” I’d love to know the reason for the delay between the screen’s erection and the August 1958 grand opening.

The Comet’s last ad in the News-Journal was on May 15, 1960. The next day, there was no Comet ad, and the ad for the co-owned Yucca included the note, “Watch for opening of La Fonda”. On May 19, as workers were dismantling the Comet’s screen, it toppled over, leaving it “in bad shape” and delaying the reopening of the La Fonda for several weeks until “a new screen will be constructed” there, co-owner Loyd Franklin said at the time. Later local histories said that the Comet screen moved to the La Fonda, so it’s unclear whether that was accurate.

Clovis News-Journal, July 24, 1960: “Loyd Franklin, operator of La Fonda Drive-In, reported to police Friday (22) that vandals broke and entered the defunct Comet Drive-In on W. 7th. Police said there was no damage.”

MichaelKilgore on February 2, 2021 at 5:37 pm

Now that’s weird! An ad for Thompson’s Nursery said that it was “3 blks. north of Comet Drive Inn Screen on West 7th”. But that ad ran in the Clovis News Journal on Feb. 3, 1957.

MichaelKilgore on February 2, 2021 at 5:15 pm

Clovis News Journal, April 22, 2002, in an extended interview with Loyd Franklin: “The partners (Franklin and Bearden) also built the Comet Drive In out on West Seventh, but Loyd said the theater only lasted about a year. Lightning destroyed the screen at the La Fonda and the Comet screen replaced it.”

MichaelKilgore on August 11, 2019 at 7:34 pm

As part of a story on the drive-ins owned by Lloyd Franklin and W. O. Bearden, the March 21, 1960 issue of Boxoffice wrote, “The Comet, erected in 1958, has approximately a 550-car capacity”.

davidcoppock on November 29, 2018 at 9:36 pm

Opened onn22/8/1958 with “Don’t go near the water” and silk stockings". 600 cars.

dansdriveintheater on November 28, 2018 at 11:49 am

opened between 1954-1958 it s an empty feild in the 1954 aerial. it was listed in the 1958 topo maps. it opened between then please update.

Kenmore on November 4, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Found It!

The drive-in sat on the SE corner of West 9th Street and Rio Street, Clovis, NM. On the west side of town.

Today, the property has been sectioned off for residential housing, but it remains an empty field with no trace of the drive-in remaining.