I took these photos just after an article appeared in the Dallas paper in early 2004 that what was left of the Jefferson would soon be demolished. The Jefferson had a really unique art-decoish look. I'm not sure the build date of the Jefferson but the theater opened on June 17, 1950. The sight was occupied by some type of trucking company for years. It was pretty surprising that the screen and marquee stayed up as long as it did. The marquee sheetmetal was still in fair shape although the neon was all gone. The last trip I made to the site I found the marquee gone. I wonder if someone salvaged it? The screen and everthing was still there but the marquee was gone and the poles were cut off at ground level. The drive-in was demolished soon thereafter.
It appears from the neon tube connection points still in place on the marquee that it was originally covered with neon tubing over the Drive-In script, top section light blue-green lines and all of the lighter tan colored wavy and straight line sections on the brown lower part of the sign. It must have been a pretty impressive sight!
The art-decoish Jefferson vertical pylon of the screen. Notice the scroll sheetmetal thing at the top. The channel letters were still in decent shape. All the neon tubing was gone though. The screen had a huge animated neon mural. The mural had been painted over to match the rust red color of the rest of the screen for some reason. The mural featured a band playing and people dancing. Most of the red paint had peeled off over the years and some of the mural could be seen. At the bottom of the mural I would make out a kettle drum with a figure hitting it with drum stick. I could also see a figure playing a horn and dancers. There were hundereds of holes all over the mural for neon tube connections. I would love to have seen it in operation. See close-up shot of the mural below.
The September 1950 issue of Boxoffice Magazine has a description of the Jefferson Drive-in neon mural on page 77. http://pro.boxoffice.com/the_vault/issue_page?issue_id=1950-9-16&page_no=77#page_start Incredible. There is a very poor quality photo on the magazine page but you can get an idea of what it must have looked like even from the poor quality photo.
Here are the entry gates and ticket booth. Still in fair condition in 2004.
This shot was taken from the exit drive looking back toward the screen. Notice all the trucks in front of the screen. The projection surface of the screen was still in decent shape at the time. I don't remember seeing a projection or consession building when I took these photos. If it was still on the site surely I would have take a photo but it also could have been hidden behind all of the trucks parked there at the time.
This is looking east from the entry drive back toward the screen. At the time the surrounding fences and ticket booth were still intact. It didn't look like it would have taken much to get the place back in operation.