UPDATE: Fort Worth Twin Drive-In

Posted: November 4, 2007 in The Roper Files


Spent half the day yesterday trying to talk myself into gathering my camera equipment and make one final visit to the Fort Worth Twin. Such a grim way to spend an afternoon; I would have rather done anything else. Finally about two o’clock I drove over there. Cruised down East Lancaster past the usual legions of homeless all carrying their standard issue 24-ounce cans of beer. Past the “drug” dealers trying to flag me down.  Ha ha…yeah right Homey; shove those pieces of wax and soap up your ass! This cracker wasn’t “boan” yesterday.  Turned onto Windham St. and pulled up to the entrance.

Walking into the gate with my camera and tripod, I felt like Clint Eastwood entering  that town at the beginning of FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. No one else around; eerie silence except for the roar of cars on nearby I-30. Underneath the west screen lay a pile of twisted yellow metal; the former marquee over the ticket booth. Despite someones best effort at bulldozing the ground level, 30 years worth of broken beer bottle glass and other assorted trash crunch underneath my feet.

 Looking up at the screen I noticed a couple of holes cut bilaterally in the middle of it with guidewires attached, obvious preparation for pulling it down. Staring at the screen I could for a brief second imagine celluloid images flickering on it. Snack bar ads. Spaghetti westerns. Beach movies. Silent. Fini. No more.

Turning around, I could see the remains of the east screen, now so much scrap metal in a heap on the other side of the lot. There was a small security shack in the middle of the lot.  A door opens, and a  Fort Worth police officer emerges. Here it comes, I thought to myself; get the hell out of here you goddam hippie!

 Instead of running away I walk towards him. Introduce myself, shake his hand and assure him I’m only there to snap a few photos. Tell him I’m not there to steal anything or cause any problems for anyone. He tells me go ahead. He’s obviously bored shitless and seems glad to talk to somebody, anybody besides the usual homeless, prostitutes and drug dealers he’s used to running out of there. I tell him how I used to come here and watch movies when I was a teenager. He smiles and actually seems to relate to my nostalgic feelings for the drive-in theater days. Seeing my 35mm Konica and my tripod, he comicly starts primping and makes me laugh. He reminds me that this is a dangerous area, telling me about an armed carjacking that happened just last week about a half-block away from where I’m parked. I tell him I’m not nearly as naive as I look and I know all about this neighborhood. 

He returns to his shack. I walk amongst the bulldozers and other construction equipment. The property is currently owned by Chesapeake Petroleum of Dallas, and the security guard told me that eventually about eight wells are going up here. I snap a picture of the remains of the east screen, walk around the west screen and snap various angles of it and then got the fuck out of there. 

On my way out I look up at the west screen, probably for the last time ever.  Imagine taking an unwanted dog out to the country, letting it out and seeing that dog in the rear-view mirror as you drive away. That’s the way I feel as I look at the West screen of the Twin. But I’m helpless; there’s nothing I can do about it. Brian of La Mancha and his windmill. Goodbye old friend; I turn away and walk back to my truck, morbidly depressed.



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