GATESVILLE — When is the last time you have been to a real, old-school drive-in movie theater? For me, I was probably eight or nine years old, living in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. It’s a true piece of Americana that everyone should experience at least once. And it’s an experience that is readily available to Soldiers and their families stationed at Fort Hood, as the Last Drive In Picture Show is located right outside the gates of North Fort Hood in Gatesville.
I love movies and have been wanting to go to one for months, but with the COVID-19 pandemic going on, I’ve not been willing to sit in an indoor theater with strangers. Also, I didn’t want to wear a mask for two hours. The Last Drive In Picture Show alleviated all my concerns about the coronavirus and allowed me and my family to sit comfortably in our own car, maskless, and enjoy a movie free of all worries.
The drive-in is located at 2912 TX-36 in Gatesville and at $10 per car, it is affordable for everyone, even if you have several kids. They sell all the normal snacks at about the normal prices, but I hate spending money, so we popped some popcorn and put it in plastic bags and threw some drinks in a small cooler and headed off. It’s about a 45-minute drive from the post’s main gate in Killeen.
When we arrived, the old- school marquee with neon lights greeted us. As we pulled in, I saw they had outdoor putt-putt golf available. We arrived 10 minutes before the movie started and didn’t have time to golf, but next time we will go an hour or two early and get a round in before the movie starts.
We pulled up to the window, paid out 10 bucks to the attendant, and found a nice spot to park. You can see the large, outdoor screen from anywhere in the parking area, but we pulled up close to get the full experience. I was a little worried about having to crane our necks to see, but the parking spots are situated like small ramps. So, your front tires are parked on a small bump that elevates the front of the car, allowing you to recline back and see through the windshield with no problems at all.
If you like, you can bring a blanket to spread out on the ground or some folding chairs and sit outside. Several people parked their trucks backward and sat in the beds of their trucks. We might do this next time. But if you do this, you will need to bring a small radio so you can hear the film. They broadcast the audio to the parking lot on FM 90.3.
Right now, because the movie industry is still a little upended by the ongoing pandemic, the Last Drive In Picture Show is showing second run movies. We saw Disney’s “Hocus Pocus,” which is a great movie for the Halloween season. (I don’t watch horror movies, so this is as spooky as it gets for me. Why would I pay people to scare me and make me uncomfortable?)
I almost forgot to mention that the $10 is for a double feature! My wife and I had our grandson, X’zavier with us, so we didn’t stay for the second film. But you can make it an all evening outing if you want.
The Last Drive In Picture Show in Gatesville is an affordable outing, even for large families, and will have you reliving you childhood as you watch movies and eat popcorn from the safety and comfort of your own car. Check it out!