GATESVILLE — Central Texas families have enjoyed movies on the big outdoor screen of the Last Drive-In Picture Show for almost four generations.

Customers have lined up at the drive-in on Texas Highway 36 since it opened in 1950.

Movie-goers who rolled into the place as kids are now joining their children and grandchildren for a Saturday night show in the comfort of the family car or, in many cases, the bed of the family pickup equipped with lawn chairs and beverage coolers.

The Saturday night crowd in the drive-in’s parking area often resembles a yard party or a family reunion, said Gene Palmer, whose family has owned the drive-in since 1962.

“It is a family place,” Palmer said. “We want to be as family-friendly as possible.”

Two features are shown every night on the big outdoor screen; two other features can be seen every night in the adjacent 200-seat indoor theater.

All the films are family-friendly, mostly carrying G, PG and a few PG-13 ratings but nothing with an R rating, Palmer said.

The first feature usually starts around 8:45 p.m., and the second starts about two hours later.

The parking area holds about 300 vehicles, but if spaces are full, movie-goers sometimes opt to park in front and watch the show standing up.

In addition to the walk-in theater, there is an indoor viewing area where people can sit and watch the outside feature.

The viewing area was constructed before the indoor theater. It was an additional feature aimed at serving non-driving-age movie buffs, those ages 12 to 14, who could be dropped off to watch the films.

For showtimes and features at the Last Drive-In Picture Show, call (254) 865-8445

Contact Tim Orwig at

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