Starlight Drive-In Theater (now site of Fashion Fair)

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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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carlesglass
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:06 am

Starlight Drive-In Theater (now site of Fashion Fair)

Postby carlesglass » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:22 am

The Starlight Drive-In had two screens as did Sunnyside. When Sunnyside opened its main screen in the mid 60s it was advertised as the largest anywhere. I have great memories of going to the Sunset with my family as a kid. I believe it was at that time $1.50 a carload. As a teenager it went up to $3.50 a carload and we'd smuggle in a case of beer. Sometimes our friends too. Ah! The good ol' days. Carl
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Christopher Stone
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Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:53 pm

Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby Christopher Stone » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:30 pm

It was the Starlite Drive-In that stood on the current location of Fashion Fair. It had two screens: the North and the South.

shawaveczr
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:33 pm

Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby shawaveczr » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:51 am

Great times. My dad was the manager of Starlite and then Sunset. We had a family pass that got us in for free, so all my dates were drive in dates. All thats left is the screen for Motor-In on Golden State near Chestnut, and a big lot where Sunnyside was. My dad used to tell the story of when a single person would come into Starlite he would go and stand behind the car in those bright yellow sports coat they wore. Sure enough after a few minutes he would hear banging from the trunk and people yelling let me out! Another trick they would use to sneak in was to put a board over the spikes at the exit and drive in that way. I really miss those nights under the stars, holding my girlfriend and "watching" the show!!!

starlite1
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:11 pm

Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby starlite1 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:23 pm

Does anyone know the year the Starlite Drive In Theatres was built? Was it always a duo screen or did it start out with only the south side? I always thought it was funny that it was open 365 days a year. Remember, readmission tickets for foggy days?

jcwsaturn1
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:57 pm

Starlight Drive-In Theater

Postby jcwsaturn1 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:01 pm

We used to go to the Starlight all the time. One time I was in the trunk of a friend's car (had to save $$), when the car behind us in line accidentally bumped us. I could hear everyone getting out of their cars, and I was rather scared. Lots of arguing, almost a fight--but the trunk never was opened, got in ok, and crawled into the car via the pushed open back seat.

jcwsaturn1
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:57 pm

Re: Starlight Drive-In Theater

Postby jcwsaturn1 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:04 pm

I remember it took 5 or 6 attempts to finally see "Rosemary's Baby" sober. We would many times back up a pickup truck facing the screen, with a plywood board across it for a 'viewing bench.' Drank so much wine each time, we had to keep coming back on various weekends to try and finish the damned movie. Finally got it, tho.

billmac

Re: Starlight Drive-In Theater

Postby billmac » Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:47 pm

I was a student at McLane high in the late 60's and we use to frequent the Starlight Drive-In. Sometimes there would be a line of cars several blocks long on weekends waiting to get in to see popular movies. I remember seeing Dr. Zhivago with a very pretty girl I thought I liked. After we parked, she immediately informed me what my intentions were and how she was going to have none of it. That wasn't what I was thinking, but suddenly she did not look near as pretty. That was the longest movie I have ever seen and could not wait to dump that girl home. lol

I remember one time the line was super long to get into the Starlight. I had a 15 year old ford that overheated in the line. When I finally got inside and shut the motor off, the engine puked antifreeze all under the front of the car. It stunk and everyone that walked by laughed and some said, "do your car is leaking antifreeze". Needless to say, that was embarrassing for me and my date. The car was hot and so was the evening. Yeah, I remember the Starlight. lol
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Munschy
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:54 pm

Re: Starlight

Postby Munschy » Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:37 pm

We live a few blocks from the Starlite Theater and did the same thing, just a bunch of neighborhood kids, no parents. Sat in Carey Park and watched the movies, now it is Macy's.

Arne Dresslar
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:34 am

Re: Starlight Drive-In Theater (now site of Fashion Fair)

Postby Arne Dresslar » Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:48 am

My family and I moved to Fresno in 1959 from Reno Nevada. My Dad worked for Pacific Telephone at their offices on Dakota Avenue just east of Blackstone Avenue.

I remember sometime in the early 1960's that we attended a theater-in-the-round (I believe it was at Carey Park) right next to the Starlight Drive-In and saw "How to succeed in business without really trying" in a live performance with (can you believe this?) Jack Bailey as the company president (remember him from the 1950's hit daytime show "Queen for a Day?) in the part played by Rudy Vallee in the motion picture. The young man moving up the company ladder (played by Robert Morse in the motion picture) was some other TV actor whose name I can't remember.

It was a great time to be a young kid in Fresno and I miss it terribly.

FresnoShadow
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:40 pm

Re: Starlight Drive-In Theater (now site of Fashion Fair)

Postby FresnoShadow » Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:26 am

I only did this a couple of times: The Starlight was easy bike distance from my house. Just after dusk I would ride over there and sit on the back fence until it was good and dark. Just as the movie started up I would hop down, turn-up the speakers as loud as they would go in the unused spots on the back row (always empty). Then I would jump back on the fence and watch the movie. It was great! Best of all, I was never caught.


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