Sundown Drive-In

12322 Washington Boulevard,
Whittier, CA 90606

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Bruen's Theatres, Pacific Theatres

Architects: William Glenn Balch, Louis L. Bryan

Firms: Balch, Bryan, Perkins & Hutchason

Previous Names: Bruen's Sundown Drive-In

Nearby Theaters

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 August 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 17 comments)

Fredrickr on December 21, 2008 at 5:50 am

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 21, 2008 at 7:00 am

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 18, 2009 at 2:09 am

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 18, 2009 at 2:44 am

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

MikeCoke on February 18, 2009 at 5:53 am

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 10:09 pm

Nice picure of the marquee kenmc.

rivest266 on October 15, 2019 at 11:30 pm

Grand opening ad posted in the photo section.

Fanofcomedy on July 10, 2023 at 10:00 am

Does anyone know what was the last movie playing at Sundown before it closed down in 1990?

MichaelKilgore on July 10, 2023 at 7:03 pm

The last reference I saw in an LA Times ad was on Aug. 25, 1990. Whittier’s Sundown was one of dozens of theaters showing Steve Martin’s “My Blue Heaven.”

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