Opened: Late 1940's
Location: Roscoe Blvd, near Sepulveda Blvd, Van Nuys California
Screens: One, later three
Operator: Pacific drive-in theatres
The Van Nuys drive-in theatre was once one of eight drive-in theatres run by Pacific in the San Fernando Valley. It outlasted most, but ultimately "closed for the season", as Pacific put it so eloquently on their marquees. This phrase meant there was some hope that the drive-in would re-open, but in Southern California, as opposed to the Northern states, it generally meant closed for good. Van Nuys was in a good location, but that was probably as big a part in the drive-ins downfall as anything else. Van Nuys has been redeveloped into a car dealership. No longer will Cat and Buddy cruise Van Nuys Blvd then head up Roscoe for a movie and burger at the Van Nuys Drive-in Theatre. Generations of people lived this ritual every Friday and Saturday night, today the pounding Dodge and Plymouth V8's on Van Nuys have been replaced by Mitsubishi's and Honda's, it's just not the same.
Like all of these monster drive-ins in urban areas, the land value simply becomes too great to justify the operation continuing. Van Nuys had a screen mural depicting a bucking horse and the theatre name in neon. This was removed during the early 1980's due to its deteriorating condition and the addition of an extra two screens. It can be seen on page 125 of the book "Ticket to Parardise". The Van Nuys drive-in was equipped with Cine-fi sound on all screens. The theatre sat for a few years before being redeveoped.
This sign was able to be viewed by motorists travelling along Roscoe Blvd for almost 50 years, with a constant change of films every week. Closed for the season means closed forever!
Typical Pacific ticket boxes all in a row. If the driveway was not long enough to absorb the cars waiting to enter, then extra ticket boxes were added to keep the traffic from blocking the main roads.
This could be a Pacific drive-in field anywhere in LA, but it is actually theatre one of Van Nuys, this screen replaced the original.