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Remember the Gemini!


Those of us born and raised here remember well the good ol' Gemini Twin Drive-In theater at the northeast corner of the North Central Expressway-Forest Lane intersection. The self-proclaimed "world's largest drive-in" with 2,000 parking spots -- which is where the Raquel Welch movie One Million Years B.C. was world-premiered in 1966 -- was around from the mid-1960s till 1984, which I believe was the same year several high school classmates and I got, uh, a stern talking-to for smuggling in a case of Coors Light stashed in the trunk of a buddy's Olds. Well, for the last 22 years, the land's been a waystation for transient businesses -- the random used-car dealership, a few fast-food eateries, a park-and-ride drop-off, etc. Looks like that's about to change.

GlobeSt.com today reports that locally based Westmount Realty Capital LLC has purchased the 27 acres for $20-plus million, in hopes of turning the High Five hot spot into "residential, retail and medical office development sites, with site work slated to start soon after the master plan is done in three to six months."

Westmount bought the land from Tri-State Theaters, which used to own and operate the Gemini and held onto the land long after the drive-in drove outta town.

GlobeSt.com refers to the property as one of the "largest pieces of developable land along North Central Expressway," but Westmount president Cliff Booth says his company likely won't do the development. He tells the Web site he's looking for partners to handle the resential development, and that "he's already talking with other developers about selling all or part of the site." Incidentally, if you click here you can see the grand-opening ad for the Gemini from 1965 -- featuring not only such movies as Beach Blanket Bingo and Circus World but also an appearance from Frankie Avalon and performances from such bands as the Chessmen (which once featured a young Jimmie Vaughan) and the Floyd Dakil Combo. --Robert Wilonsky

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