New Braunfels chosen as home for
second Stars & Stripes Drive-In Theatre
Movie-goers can ‘load up’ for a slice of Americana in summer 2014
New Braunfels, Texas--A piece of Americana culture is being reclaimed in New Braunfels, in part due to the city’s willingness to embrace what is special from the past.
“There’s no other place in Texas that truly embraces its culture and history like New Braunfels,” said Ryan Smith, president of Star & Stripes Drive-In Theatre in Lubbock, and co-owner with father Charles Smith on the soon-to-be-open theater in New Braunfels. “Mix it with the city’s family-centered atmosphere, and it became the right town for a new drive-in theatre to call home.
Slated to open the summer of 2014, Stars & Stripes Drive-In Theatre will show digital first-run double-features nightly and be open year-round. Two of the screen towers will measure over 90 feet wide and be the largest movie screens in Texas. Located on 30 acres close to the intersection of FM 1101 and Kroesche Lane, about one mile from Freiheit Country Store and 9-pin bowling club, it will be the only drive-in theatre within a 150-mile radius of New Braunfels.
“It's a beautiful and convenient location, plus you can see the stars out there,” said Smith. Families and friends will enjoy watching bright digital projection from inside the comfort of their own car or outside in lawn chairs. Because the drive-in theatre has always been more than just a movie going experience, Stars & Stripes will serve Rockin' Eats from their 50’s Cafe, and guests can enjoy the patio and playground areas.
“Yes, similar to favorite nostalgic movies like Grease, kids can swing on the swings and watch their movie,” reminisced Smith. At Stars & Stripes you will have the freedom to watch movies the way you want.
Unlike the traditional drive-in theater sound, which was piped through a speaker box outside the vehicle, patrons now tune their FM stereo dial to a specific frequency and enjoy sound from their vehicle’s stereo speakers. “It’s much nicer—the sound is crisp and clean,” said Smith.
Although 21st century technology has vastly improved the viewing experience, the nostalgia of a drive-in runs deep into childhood for many.
“Mike and I had our first date at the Tower Drive In. It was the place we hung out on Friday nights—and it holds special memories for us,” said Linda Dietert, New Braunfels native and director of The Sophienburg Museum and Archives.
Smith tapped The Sophienburg for history of New Braunfels. “Ryan reached out to us, and we were able to share photos and background of The Tower Drive-In, which was located on Elliot Knox directly across from where the New Braunfels 9th grade center is now. On grand opening day in 1950, each patron got a free pack of Beechnut gum,” said Dietert. Many in New Braunfels hold fond memories of The Tower Drive-In.
“The drive-in experience still appeals to many people because it combines the escapism of movies, cars, good food, and time spent outdoors. This uniquely American experience can only be enjoyed at the drive-in theatre,” said Smith. “The Stars & Stripes Drive-In Theatre is in business to share the joy of creating lasting memories together. We have proudly served Lubbock for the last 10 years, and we are excited to become part of the New Braunfels community. We continue to meet people that will drive hundreds of miles to go down memory lane and create new memories at a drive-in. ”
In an effort to capture those experiences, Smith is asking drive-in fans to share their favorite drive-in memories on the Stars & Stripes New Braunfels Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/StarsandStripesNewBraunfels) to capture a history and culture that may be fading.
Drive-in theaters across the nation have declined from about 4,000 in 1950 to 370 today. As the motion picture industry moves from 35 millimeter film to all digital movies, drive-ins that have not upgraded to digital projection will find themselves without movies to show.
“We are inspired by the many owners across the country who are working hard to keep the drive-in tradition alive,” said Smith. "The drive-in theatre is so special that we decided to reclaim it and share the experience with a new generation. New Braunfels is the right place and it is the right time.”