Red River Drive-In

1801 N. Robison Road,
Texarkana, TX 75501

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Joy's Theaters Inc.

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Red River Drive-In

Not to be confused with the Red River Drive-In in the Arkansas side of Texarkana which eventually became the Loop Drive-In later on.

The Red River Drive-In in the Texas side of Texarkana opened as early as 1951 and was originally operated by Joel Bluestone before taken over by Mrs. Paul Ketchum who also operated other drive-ins in the area. Horace Fall would eventually then take over the theater in April 1955.

The screen suffered major damage from heavy wind gusts during severe weather in June 1959. In the early-1960’s, it was operated by Joy’s Theaters.

The Red River Drive-In closed in either 1967 or 1968 and was demolished a short time after to make way for Robinson Plaza.

Contributed by 50sSNIPES

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

MichaelKilgore on April 11, 2024 at 3:00 am

If you look at the 1960 topo map, there were two drive-in on the Texas side of the border. One was southwest on 7th Street (US 67), the other (this one) just west of town on US 82. Based on the ad below, I’d guess that the southwest drive-in was the Red River, leaving the name of this one still unknown. If someone wants to ask a Texarkana historian, we could probably get a quick answer.

Red River Drive-In Theater in Texarkana, a mention of its address.

Article from Feb 5, 1965 The Paris News (Paris, Texas)

Anyway, here’s my bag of clips for the Red River, wherever it was:

The Exhibitor, July 2, 1952: “Joel Bluestone will handle the buying and booking for Mrs. Paul Ketchum’s State and Red River Drive-In, Texarkana, Tex.” Then on Aug. 13 that year: “Mrs. Ruth Ketchum opened her new Red River Drive-In, Texarkana, Ark. (?), in grand style.”

The Exhibitor, April 6, 1955: “Horace Fall, H. R. Fall buying and booking service, Dallas, purchased the Red River Drive-In, Texarkana, Tex., from Mrs. Ruth Ketchum.”

Motion Picture Exhibitor, July 1, 1959: “E. L. Walker, Harry McKenna, and Horace Falls, are making repairs to the screen tower of the Red River Drive In at Texarkana, Tex., which suffered heavy damages in a heavy wind storm.”

Boxoffice, March 28, 1960: “TEXARKANA — Purchase of the Red River Drive-In on West Seventh by Houck & Powers Theatres has been announced by L. D. Powers. The new owners have closed the drive-in for remodeling and redecoration and will reopen around April 1. Movies booked will be the “latest and the best,” according to Powers, who has been in theatre business 21 years. His partner, Joy Houck, has been in exhibition 30 years and also produces pictures. They plan to redesign the concessions stand, repair speakers, repaint the building and improve the ramp area. The drive-in was built eight years ago, formerly owned by Eldon Peek of Oklahoma City. “We have faith in Texarkana and its future and in show business,” Powers said. He and Houck also own the Leo, the Joy Drive-In and a theatre in Prescott, Ark.”

There’s a confusing note in the June 3, 1963 edition of Boxoffice. “Joy’s Theatres closed the Joy Drive-In, Texarkana, and reopened the Red River Drive-In, rechristened the Joy”

Boxoffice, Dec. 7, 1964: “Corelite lamps were sold recently by National Theatre Supply to … Joy N. Houck for the Red River Drive-In, Texarkana”

The 1965 edition of the Motio Picture Almanac was the first to notice the Red River, owner Houck & Powers, Inc., capacity 525, listed under Texarkano. (sigh) A few years later, the MPA list went on autopilot for a decade, so it stayed that way through 1976. When the MPA rebooted its drive-in list for its 1977 edition, the Red River (or Joy) was gone, of course.

MichaelKilgore on April 11, 2024 at 5:00 am

I might have an answer from the Leo Theatre, Inc. ad in the 1954 Hooks High School yearbook. In addition to the “Loop Drive-In, North State Line Avenue,” it promoted the “Joy Drive-In, New Boston and Robinson Road.”

My guess is that this one was always the Joy until it closed, probably in 1963.

50sSNIPES on April 11, 2024 at 6:44 pm

I think we’ve just solved the mystery there. Since there was a Joy Drive-In somewhere, I was the one who found the original Joy Drive-In before the nearby Joy Outdoor Twin was built. And yes, I’m very sure that the Loop Drive-In was the only drive-in in Texarkana that was once known as the Red River Drive-In.

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