Buckhorn Drive-In Alice TX The Buckhorn is located just off new Route 44 on the East side of Alice TX. If you are going east on 44 you will need to turn right on Flournoy Road (FM 1931). It will be about 1/4 mile down on your left at the corner of Flournoy and Sain Road (That's the north east corner of the intersection). You can see it in this aerial photo.
The building on the left side of the picture across Flournoy Road is the remains of a conveyor belt company. Just beyond the conveyer company is the Alice High School, so if you find the school, you should be able to find the theater, providing it is still there. You can also see that part of the drive-In has been taken over for a self storage company.
For Terry Moore's account of the this day trip you will need to go here.
Now is a good time to talk about the importance of making yourself very clear when searching for drive-in theaters. Terry and I drove around Alice for almost an hour searching for the Buckhorn Theater. We had some vague directions but they were not panning out for us. In addition, we had a US geological map that gave us a bogus location too. Finally in frustration I stopped by a local farmer that was just getting out of his truck and our conversation went like this.
Me: Have you been around here long?
Farmer: Nope. I just got here. (He looks at me like I'm an idiot)
Me: No I mean have you lived around here long?
Farmer: Oh a few years.
Me: Do you know anything about any drive-ins around this area.
Farmer: Nope, they all closed.
Me: I'm looking for an old closed drive-in that's supposed to be around here.
Farmer: There used to be two of them but they closed down. (Puzzled)
Me: Yes, I knew they were closed but I'm still looking for them.
Farmer: Well one is completely gone and the other one was the Triangle and it's been closed for for a long time. What's left is right down the road. (Even more puzzled)
Me: Can you tell me where it is.
Farmer: Sure, but they ain't open.
Me: I know, I just want to take some pictures
Farmer: (Gives me detailed instructions which I have long since forgotten)
I jumped back in the car grinning from ear to ear. "Our information is so bogus it even had the wrong name of the Drive-In. It's called the triangle." We followed his directions to the T and within 5 minutes we pulled up in front of the Triangle Drive-In Restaurant. Boy was I disappointed and didn't I feel silly. I had never pointed out that I was looking for a Drive-In Theater. Terry and my wife Patty got a great laugh out of the experience and I learned a valuable lesson.
We were in Alice for a regional marching band competition and had to abandon the Drive-In search to see the show. On the way to the buses after the contest we walked around a building at the high school and there sat the Buckhorn.
Previous reports had listed the Buckhorn as looking like it was in a time warp. Time has caught up and Buckhorn has been ravaged. Its days on this earth are probably numbered. There is a huge "for sale" sign on the screen tower with a number to call.
Here are the shots we took. This is the view looking into the lot from the old Route 44 road. The projection booth is built mostly into the ground. This would allow the view from the back to be unobstructed but it would have been very easy for someone to walk in front of the image.
Most of the original Buckhorn neon sign is still there but there are some parts missing.
The screen tower is mostly in tact although there is a small section missing off the bottom left hand side of the screen. The amazing part to me was the thick growth of moss on the face of the screen. In most places it was almost 1" thick.
Update From Pat Turner: Wow, guys. That was sweet. I grew up in Alice and went to the Buckhorn many times. Seeing your photos was so neat. I remember that. I had forgotten about the fountain. I remember the "zoo" as a kid. As I got older the animals disappeared.
When I was really young, there was a building right after the entrance that was the concession stand. When I was in junior high, they built the concession stand that was in the picture. That was the best concession ever. The popcorn was always suckie, but everything else was awesome. The crinkle french fries were always hot and the cheeseburgers were great. Plus, they had the best pizza in town or anywhere.
I knew Mr. Gunter's sons and sometimes would go to the movie with them. The neat thing about it was when you reached the ticket booth, you paid and they gave you a calendar for the month with all the movies.
Shows were Monday-Tuesday, Wednesday-Friday and Saturday only features. Saturday was usually a double feature. Also the exit had these spikes to keep you from sneaking in. I wish you could get a photo of it at night. It always looked so cool.
The reason for the neon lights is because H.G. Gunter also owned Gunter Neon. The Buckhorn had a beautiful lighting in orange and green. Hurricane Beulah flattened it, but it was rebuilt. The place was wonderful. There was another drive-in in Alice on the way to San Diego in the late 1950s called The Coyote. I was about a year or two old when that was around. I don't remember it, but the structure was up many years.
Thanks again for your web page and effort
Update from Don Galaway 11 March 02 - Where do I begin? If I were to tell you the sequence of events that led up to my finding your web site you probably wouldn't believe me. Suffice it to say, I received an e-mail from Pat Turner who lived in Alice, where the old Buckhorn drive-in theater is. I too was born and raised in Alice, and I too went to the Buckhorn many times. I went from the time I was a small child with my parents until I, myself was married. Pat and I don't know each other, but he saw another web site (Alice Coyote web site) where I registered on the guest page, and wrote to me, telling me about your site. Thanks Pat.
Oh, the memories. My earliest memories of the Buckhorn were about the age of three or four when I would go with my folks. That had to be sometime around the late forties (I'm aging myself). As Pat mentioned, there was indeed a zoo there. I know all too well because one night I was sitting in some chairs in the grassy area below the screen, eating some popcorn when suddenly, some sort of little animal was climbing all over me eating my popcorn. Now, keep in mind that I was no older than three or four. Anyway, I screamed like a banshee and threw down my popcorn, and the animal, whatever it was, jumped down to eat my popcorn. He must have escaped from one of the cages.
My next memories are of my teen years, taking my girl to uh, watch the movies. Actually, we double dated most of the time, so we did pretty much watch the movie. Pat, the spikes you mentioned were not there until the late sixties because many is the time we turned off our headlights and drove in the exit. Of course, most of the time we got caught and were asked to leave.
Other times, one of us would drive in and pay for a ticket, then drive to the back row and let everybody out of the trunk. The first time I had Sarah (my girlfriend and now my wife) to drive in with us in the trunk, I told her to drive to the back row and let us out. Well, she didn't quite drive to the back row. In fact she parked right in front of the brightly lit concession stand. She thought I meant the last row where everyone parked. And she still married me after all of that.
One of the last movies I attended there was, "M.A.S.H." It was about 1971 and I had just gotten out of the Army and we had moved back to Alice. I was working for a logging and perforating company (long, hard days), and ended up sleeping while Sarah watched the movie.
Thanks for a great web site, guys. It really made us take a trip down memory lane. I'll never forget those balmy summer evenings, not a care in the world, at the Buckhorn. I am going to tell everyone about your site, so expect some visitors soon.
Oh, to answer one of your questions, the marquee under the neon sign was used to advertise the movies showing.
Don Galaway, Baytown, Texas
Posted anonymously -- As a child, my fondest memory is my sister and I jumping in the back of our dad's pickup truck with lawn chairs and blankets en route to the Buckhorn...via Church's fried chicken, of course. Pizza places were scarce (one Pizza Hut at the time)so a box of chicken and the fixin's was usually just right. Summer nights under the stars watching such combos as Grease and Saturday Night Fever, Eat My Dust and Grand Theft Auto.
I'm too young to remember the monkeys but I do recall playing on the swing set while mom went in for "coke" refills. Everyone referred to sodas as "Coke". I guess you could say that was in the mid-70's.
During the 80's the Buckhorn mostly ran XXX movies. So, being a young teenager (early junior high) a few of us used to ride our bikes out behind the Buckhorn Storage place and climb over the fence, and perch on the roof of a storage shed and take in the "action". Eventually, word got out about our little secret and many followed our lead. However, that led to break-ins of storage sheds and vandalism (all good things end up that way in Alice) so the police started patrolling the area.
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