El Dorado Drive-In
4639 El Dorado Road,
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Previous Names: Se Rancho Drive-In
The El Dorado Drive-In opened as the Se Rancho on December 15, 1949 under the management of Vic Banta and was described as being five miles west of Placerville on Highway 50 to Sacramento. The opening advertisemnt read: “Regardless of what you hear the Se Rancho Drive-In Theater is home-owned and NOT connected with ANY chain.” This may have stemmed from the earlier reports in the Mountain Democrat that Fred Naify of the T&D chain was interested in purchasing another site near Placerville for his own drive-in.
In-car heaters were available soon after it opened and it showed its first CinemaScope picture on October 3, 1954 on a 100x40 feet screen. On May 5, 1976, after an ownership change to the Jerry and Aria Toler, it became the El Dorado Drive-In. The Tolers also operated the Empire Theatre on Main Street.
The El Dorado Drive-In was listed in the newspaper theater section as late as August 1988 as still showing movies but appears to have closed after the 1988 season. Advertisements in the classified section in January of 1989 said it was for sale for $225,000.
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