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Plano Drive-In Theatre

Highway 75 & Parker Rd
Plano TX 75074

Demolished Outdoor Theatre
Record #9059  
 Opened: August 1, 1969
 Closed: 1984
 Demolished: Yes (date unknown)
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:
 Previously operated by: McLendon Theatres

Information for this tour was contributed by Mark Richey.

The Plano Drive-In, the rapidly growing suburb’s first theater in 12 years, opened on August 1, 1969 with "Winning" and "House of Cards." The single-screen was initially privately owned, by Bob Davis, but was quickly snapped up by the McLendon chain, which erected two additional screens during the spring of 1970.

The theater (which seemed to be down to just 2 screens) shuttered on January 10, 1974. There was no explanation offered in the Plano Star-Courier, but it was in the middle of the energy crisis, and as the almost-simultaneous closing of the Cameo indicates, Planoites in the mid 1970s weren’t exactly avid moviegoers. It remained closed for nearly two years, before having a grand re-opening (again with just 2 screens) on December 23, 1975. The third screen returned to service sometime in the late 1970s.

I’m not sure who owned the theater after the chain broke up. A late 1970s ad listed the theater as part of the "FLW" chain, but by the early 1980s, it was listed in the back of the Morning News’s Weekend Guide, along with the other theaters that didn’t buy display ads.

The Plano was where I think I saw (or more accurately, was taken to) my first movie, one of the re-releases of "Star Wars" that popped up frequently during the late 1970s.

The theater apparently closed September 6, 1984, the final time a listing appeared in the Dallas Times-Herald (the Morning News had run its final listing for the theater the previous Friday). There was no mention of the demise in either Dallas paper or the Star-Courier. The News continued to list the drive-in as one of Plano’s movie theaters throughout 1985, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. The last shows were "Gremlins," "Lassiter," "Footloose," "Rock n’Roll High School," "Purple Rain," and "Sudden Impact." The theater was demolished and a farmer’s market was built in it’s place during the late 80s, which itself has been mostly torn down to make way for (yet) another shopping center.

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Last featured 6/26/2005. Last edited 9/17/2011.

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