The Vineland Drive-in Movie Theatre in San Gabriel Valley: A Brief History
In the early days of the automobile, people would take their new cars out for a drive to see the sights and get some fresh air. As Detroit cranked out more and more cars, people began using them for leisure activities, such as going to the movies. However, movie theatres were designed for pedestrians, not cars. This led to the birth of the drive-in movie theatre.
The first drive-in movie theatre was opened in 1933 in Camden, New Jersey. By the 1950s, they were springing up all over America, including in the San Gabriel Valley of California. The Vineland Drive-in was one of those theatres. It opened its doors in 1950 and remained in operation until 1988.
The Vineland Drive-in was located at 8447 E. Garvey Ave., between Baldwin Park and Irwindale. It had a capacity for 600 cars and was open 365 days a year. The screens were huge—60 feet wide and 40 feet high—and the sound was amplified so that everyone could hear it clearly on their car radio.
The Vineland Drive-in was known for its family-friendly atmosphere. There was a playground for the kids and a picnic area for families to enjoy before or after the show. The snack bar served up all sorts of goodies, from hot dogs and hamburgers to ice cream and candy.
By the 1980s, however, drive-in movie theatres were on the decline. The rise of suburban sprawl meant that people were no longer living close enough to them to make them convenient. In addition, multiplexes were becoming popular, offering viewers a wider variety of films to choose from under one roof. The Vineland Drive-in closed its doors for good in 1988.
The Vineland Drive-in was a popular destination for families in the San Gabriel Valley for 38 years. It was known for its huge screens, amplified sound, family-friendly atmosphere, and tasty snacks. However, by the 1980s, suburban sprawl and multiplexes sounded the death knell for drive-in movie theatres nationwide, including the Vineland Drive-in which closed its doors in 1988.