- Photos, Ephemera & Historical Trivia for Oak Cliff, Texas.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

South Loop Drive-In

photo courtesy of Steve Bonner
Photo courtesy of Steve Bonner
South Loop Drive-In opened March 31, 1950, with two showings of "On the Town" starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. The theater was located at 3030 Ledbetter, on the south side of the road, just west of Bonnie View and southeast of the Veterans' Hospital.

The drive-in was part of the Adelman theater circuit, which operated movie houses in Houston, Fort Worth, and Tulsa, as well as the Delman Theater (not a drive-in) in Dallas. Cost of construction was $150,000, which included innovations such as indirectly lighted walkways, a patio with lounge chairs, and a playground for children. I don't think they would have got away with that Snow White mural on their theater today!

Both the South Loop Drive-In and the Delman Theater closed about 1968, and no obvious trace remains of this theater in the field that still sits along Loop 12.

A couple of corrections from reader Matt Schaffer (schaffermatt54 @ gmail.com):  The Delman persisted on into the 1980′s. Was a fine venue (and well-maintained/managed) til the end. After it closed as a movie theatre, it was operated for a while as a club.  If I may offer a small correction re: exact location of the South Loop, historicaerials.com has photos that document it precisely – on the south side of E. Ledbetter. Here is the link to the photo – compare the route of Ledbetter in that photo with it presently on google maps (hasn’t changed) when you enter 3142 E. Ledbetter for the address.

Thanks to Matt I was able to find two aerial photos of the drive-in's location, one from 1952 when it was still new, and one from 1972 after it had been razed.

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