San Val Drive-In

2720 Winona Avenue,
Burbank, CA 91504

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Pacific Theatres

Architects: Clifford A. Balch

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Nearby Theaters

San Val Drive-In

The San Val Drive-In was the second drive-in theater to open in California, after the Drive-In Theatre on Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles. It opened on June 19, 1938 and was operated by Seth D. Perkins. It originally had a capacity for 590 cars. The San Val Drive-In was forever immortalized in the James Cagney classic “White Heat”.

Operated by the Pacific Theatres chain, the San Val Drive-In closed in the mid-1970’s and the site is now the home of several production and effect houses.

Contributed by R. L. Strong, William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

mujerado on December 12, 2005 at 3:29 am

My memory of the San-Val goes back to the first-run of “Shane,” some time around 1951. I was in the back seat, watching between my Mom & Dad, wearing my pj’s. We lived in Pacoima at the time, and would take a long drive east on San Fernando Road to get to the drive-in. I saw many movies there, and my little brother and I played on the swings and the little merry-go-round spinner many happy times. Going from the car into the low snack-bar was always exciting. It’s too bad; there’s only one operating drive-in left in all of L.A. County now, and it’s a multi-screen.

kencmcintyre on September 23, 2007 at 8:14 pm

Here is a September 1960 ad from the Valley News:

Jimbo on November 15, 2007 at 2:13 am

I remember riding with my P.J.’s and pillow in the package tray of our ‘36 Ford with Mom and Dad …

Dad worked at lockheed and we couldn’t wait until he came home on Friday’s or Saturday’s for “Movie Night”.

The only problem was during 1943 – 1945 when the air-raid sirens would go off, the screen went dark and everybody was told to stay in their cars … kinda scary … and it usually happened during the Cartoon … DARN!

Jim Rowe

kencmcintyre on February 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm

“Blood Feast” was playing at the San Val in April 1964:

oobleckboy on March 20, 2008 at 3:20 pm

The San Val is featured in “White Heat” (1949). Listed on the marquee outside are “South of St. Louis” and “Siren of Atlantis”. On the screen, however, is an action scene from “Task Force”.

The car-hop’s uniforms are great.

mujerado on March 21, 2008 at 5:47 am

Hi Lost Memory. Did you post the release date of “Blood Feast” as a point of information? Or to dispute ken mc’s post that it was playing at the San Val in April 1964?

It was often the case that drive-ins didn’t show first-run movies. In ken’s ad, the movies Hud, Lilies of The Field and Cleopatra are all advertised as Oscar winners. They were all released in 1963, and the ceremony for those awards was held and televised on Monday, April 13, 1964. [Tom Jones won Best Picture.] Therefore, ken’s post is correct.


kencmcintyre on January 16, 2010 at 6:38 am

Here is a September 1961 ad from the LA Times:

davidcoppock on October 3, 2018 at 6:20 am

Opened with “Who killed Gale Foster?”. Scene filmed here for the movie “White Heat”.

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