Phoenix Drive-In

16657 B,
Houston, MO 65483

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Phoenix Theater & Drive-In (Official)

Additional Info

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Previous Names: Sunset Drive-In

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 417.967.3010

Nearby Theaters

Phoenix Drive-In

Located on State Route, to the east of Houston. The ozoner opened May 10, 1951 with Ann Sheridan in “Stella” and operating as the Sunset Drive-In. It had a capacity for 140 car capacity. It was later renamed the Phoenix Drive-In.

The drive-in closed in 1998 but under new ownership it re-opened in 2001. It went through a remodel in early-2004 by its current owner and now has a capacity for 150 cars.

It operates seasonally from May through October. Sound is provided by both traditional pole speakers and FM radio.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Chris1982 on August 29, 2014 at 9:39 pm

This drive-in is owned by the same owner as the Phoenix Theatre adjacent to the drive-in.

MichaelKilgore on April 5, 2017 at 3:10 pm

I found a great article in the Houston Herald from September 2011. Lots of nice photos, and these timeline clues:

It changed hands “several times over the years”.

Jaretta Lankford owned the drive-in and adjacent indoor theater “for most of the 90s.” The original screen blew down “in the mid-1990s” and was replaced with the screen that endures to at least 2011. That was also when it upgraded to FM sound, keeping a few car speakers too.

It was purchased in February 2010 from someone who “only had it less than a year”.

As of the article, Samantha Thomas owned the Phoenix and ran it with her parents, Richard and Hillary Thomas, and sister Noel.

rivest266 on March 14, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Grand opening ad in the photo section.

MichaelKilgore on January 3, 2019 at 9:02 am

There’s another great article, with a ton of very nice photos, in yesterday’s Houston Herald. Here are a few new details:

Long-time Texas County residents Josh and Jennifer Shelton took ownership of the business in June 2018. The Faith Fellowship youth group painted the projection / concession building on Day One.

The Phoenix “can accommodate close to 150 vehicles”. It still uses FM sound, and there was no reference to leftover speakers.

“The drive-in was open on weekends during the holiday season, and will operate on a week-by-week basis until re-opening for good in the spring and showing movies into late fall.” Since the indoor theater operates pretty much all year, the drive-in appears to run whenever weather permits.

MichaelKilgore on May 20, 2019 at 9:02 pm

The Jan. 1, 1955 Motion Picture Herald reported:

“The Sunset Drive-In theatre at Houston, Mo., owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Hubert E. Lay since 1951, has been sold to Mr. and Mrs. Dick Fisher of Willow Springs, Mo.”

That lines up with the reference books. The 1952 Theatre Catalog listed the Sunset with capacity 350, Exec: H. E. Lay. The 1955-56 Catalog listed R. D. Fisher as the exec.

The 1951-52 MPA listed the Sunset without further details. The 1952-55 editions had the capacity of 150, “Owner or Booker” was H. E. Lay. The 1956-66 Almanacs listed R. D. Fischer as owner/booker. The MPAs stopped listing owners for a decade, then the 1977 edition listed the Sunset with a capacity of 200, owner Wyatt. That’s how it stayed through the final drive-in list, the 1988 Almanac.

KenLayton on May 21, 2019 at 8:17 am

Looks like they no longer have speakers?

davidcoppock on January 9, 2022 at 5:14 am

Opened on 10th May 1951 with “Stella”.

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