Want to show the kids what cinema was like in the American Graffiti days? Want to take a hot date out for some heavy petting under the flickering lights of the silver screen?
If the answer to either of those questions is yes, you are in luck. For the past seven years, the Houston area has been home to the Showboat Drive-In, an off-the-radar theater on FM 2920 in Hockley.
Built, owned and operated by the Rumfolo family, for whom drive-ins are seemingly embedded in their genetic code, the Showboat takes its visitors back to the days when whole families would get off the couch and actually go out to have fun together.
Open every Friday-Sunday at six p.m., the Showboat's early screenings begin at the delightfully vague time of "dusk." There are two screens, each accomodating 400 cars. At least one of the early screenings is family-friendly. Adult admission is $6, kids 3-12 are $4, and babies are free. The snack bar offers burgers as well as traditional box office fare.
Getting there from Houston is easiest on Saturdays and Sundays, when traffic on the federal disaster area otherwise known as Highway 290 clears out. To get there from downtown, take 290 to the Becker Road exit, head four miles north, hang a right on Waller-Tomball Road (FM 2920) and drive just over a mile-and-a-half, whereupon you will see enormous screens looming over the prairie.
In our case, the last drive-in movie we ever saw was in 1989. That was when we smuggled in a handle of Bacardi and viewed Patrick Swayze's Palme D'Or-winning Road House at a theater that once stood on the North Freeway near Spring. We can't let our drive-in experience go out like that, so see you at the Showboat soon.