The Sunset Drive In

Who could forget the fabulous Crest or the Tower Theater? Fresno’s drive-ins were the most popular with teens, among them the Moon-Glow and the Sunset. The world’s largest outdoor screen was housed at the Sunnyside Drive-in. Did you hide in the trunk to save 50 cents or possibly steam up the car’s windows? Share your old Fresno theater memories here.
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Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:48 pm

The Sunset Drive In

Post by NettiesKid » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:50 pm

I really miss Drive-In movie theaters. The beginning of Spring always reminds me of the late 70's and going to the Sunset Drive-In on Whitesbridge Avenue in Fresno. You could see some really great movies there (back before Cable TV and VCRs/DVDs were in every house). We'd always arrive about an hour before dusk, because there was a playground at the foot of the big screen. Swings, slides, monkey bars. There'd be tons of kids running between cars. People crowding around the snack bar (I recall they made a really excellent Pepperoni pizza that you could order with a big paper cups of Pepsi with ice - good eats). Mom and sister would take the front seats of the car, while my older brother would spread a blanket on the roof where he and I would stretch out and watch the movie. Unless it was a horror flick, then chicken little me would take a spot between mom and sissy in the car.

At night the wind blew through the tall palm trees that lined three sides of the theater. Some nights the legions of stray cats that lived and bred around the theater would yowl and fight. It was an eerie sound, but it was part of what made Sunset Theater unique. It was a rural drive-in, unlike most of Fresno's other drive-ins. I drove past the old Sunset Drive-In a couple of summers ago. It's long gone, of course. All that remained there was a field of rusted junk machinery, old cars and badly overgrown weeds poking up through the crumbled concrete where we used to park to watch movies. All the speaker poles are gone. No signs of stray cats. Even the big palms were gone. Sad day.

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Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:12 am

The Sunset Drive In

Post by billwelshsf » Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:06 am

$1.50 a carload!!!!

*Note from admin: Newspaper clipping added from 1965 showing Sunset $1.50 per car load ad.
Fresno Bee - Sat. Jan. 2, 1965 - Sunset ad


Re: Sunset

Post by Dano » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:10 pm

Regarding the Sunset Drive-In. Technically, Fashion Fair is not on the site of the drive-In. You can still see the rough dimensions of the Sunset by looking at the park that sits there now. A park sits over the Sunset which is not a bad trade. What about Woodward Drive In? Killed by Costco but it had four screens so if your movie sucked you could turn around and watch another. We lived close to Sunnyside but Woodward was our favorite.


Re: The Sunset Drive In

Post by AmaysingFamily » Sun Feb 04, 2024 9:46 am

My wife and I met at church, but our very first date was Oct. 24th 1981 at the Sunset. Her older and younger sisters came with us. The movies played were Flash Gordon and Popeye starring Robin Williams. Here we are just over 42 years later still together and in love. The Sunset was a favorite place in our hearts and memories. I don’t remember any other movies and had to go back and watch both Popeye and Flash Gordon again. The advancement of movie making over the past 4 decades has been incredible.

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