Sundown Drive-In

12322 Washington Boulevard,
Whittier, CA 90606

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Pacific Theatres

Architects: William Glenn Balch, Louis L. Bryan

Firms: Balch, Bryan, Perkins & Hutchason

Previous Names: Bruen's Sundown Drive-In

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Sundown Drive-In

Built and operated by Bruen’s Theatres, the Bruen’s Sundown Drive-In was opened August 25, 1954 with Robert Taylor in “Valley of the Kings” & Wayne Morris in “The Desperado”. Pacific Theatres closed the Sundown Drive-In in 1990, and the site was used as swap meet for several years. It was demolished in February of 1999, and the former site is now a Home Depot.

Contributed by Jason Balch, William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

shoeshoe14 on September 8, 2008 at 9:05 am

Capacity for 1,000 cars.

Was mentioned in the documentary “Drive-In Movie Memories” in 2001.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on December 20, 2008 at 8:17 pm

I was a projectionist here also, and I can still hear the manager telling me his million-dollar business will stay here forever.

Been There – Done That

Fredrickr on December 20, 2008 at 9:50 pm

I see from the aerial photo that this DI was built in the less common style of double ramps.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 20, 2008 at 11:00 pm

The July 24, 1954, issue of Boxoffice Magazine carried an article about Hugh Bruen’s Sundown Drive-In, then under construction. It identified the designers as Balch, Bryan, Perkins, and Hutchason. William Glenn Balch was the lead architect of this firm. This was one of the first Southern California drive-ins equipped to show wide-screen movies from the day it opened.

MikeCoke on February 17, 2009 at 6:09 pm

I worked there in the early 1970s. I worked the Box office, Snack Bar & as an Usher riding a bike around while the movies played.
After the movies were over I had to go wake up some of the folks so we could lockup & go home & sometimes they were sound asleep & not wearing their clothes.
During my time there the Snack Bar did not pop the Popcorn there we got it already popped in large plastic bags & we dumped it into large warming bins to warm it up a little before it was sold.
I grewup in Whittier & remember my Mom taking us there & remember seeing the Disney movie Old Yeller there in 1958.

kencmcintyre on February 17, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Pre-popped popcorn? There should be a law against that. Did you at least have butter and not “butter flavoring”?

MikeCoke on February 17, 2009 at 9:53 pm

No it was butter flavored topping.
The pre popped popcorn came in big bags that were my guess was about the size of a 50 gallon trash bag.

TLSLOEWS on February 25, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Nice picure of the marquee kenmc.

rivest266 on October 15, 2019 at 3:30 pm

Grand opening ad posted in the photo section.

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