Drive In Theaters

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.

Drive In Theaters

Postby frodoboy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:29 pm

Does anybody remember all the drive in theaters in Fresno? I can remember most of them. I haven't lived in Fresno for many years so I don't know what is in those locations now. Any more??

Moonglow (out on Ashlan somewhere, maybe around Hughes?)
Sunset (I think this was on Whitesbridge)
Motor Inn (Possibly off Chestnut and 99??)
Stardust?? It was the one where Fashion Fair now stands.
Sunnyside (Where swap meet is/was)
Woodward Park (Where Costco is now?)
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drivein theaters fresno.jpg
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Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby Jody » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:19 pm

It was Starlight, not Stardust.

Re: Drive In Theaters

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.

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Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby Sharlsie » Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:12 am

Boy we used to go to the Sunnyside all the time! When we first all got our licenses when we turned 16 in 1973, we went every weekend, no matter if the same movie from the week before was showing (which it usually was. lol) I can't count how many times I saw Live or Let Die that summer. But still it was absolutely great....a sad day that they tore it down.
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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.
Christopher Stone
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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!!!
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Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby Chuck » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:51 pm

the Moon-Glo was on Hughes and Dakota here in Fresno
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Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby starlite1 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:23 am

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?
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Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby RAR » Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:08 pm

I remember one cold December night in the late 1960s when I was teenager. We drove across town to the Sunnyside, watched the first feature and then shortly after the second feature started, the fog rolled in and the movie just disappeared. They gave us a "fog check" and we left, heading back towards the Fig Garden area where we lived. As we drove west on Shaw, we saw the movie at the Starlite and realized that there was no fog there. We used our fogcheck to get in, watched a film and then, again, shortly after the second feature began, the fog rolled in once more. Again, we got a fogcheck, and away we went. Two movies, no charge!

There was nothing better than a night at a Fresno drive in theatre, especially a warm summer night.
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Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby starlite1 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:21 pm

Yes that is true...Hot summer nights, kids swinging in the play ground in front of the screens. Used to go with my girlfriends during the 70's to check out the cute ushers. The smell of the popcorn in the snack bar. Putting a blanket in the back of a pick up. Good memories.
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Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby jeremi08 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:21 am

Good times!
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Story Ideas

Postby » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:22 pm

Good Afternoon,
I am writing today to introduce you to new neighborhood websites from KMPH FOX 26. The KMPH FOX 26 Neighborhoods are a great venue to showcase what makes your community unique, and to share the local issues and triumphs that matter to you and your neighbors, and you can promote your business for free. You can view one of our sites at this link:
We are reaching out to members of the community to ask them to generate stories for these websites. We want you to share things that are pertinent to your community—school activities, business openings/closings, events, meetings and more! What matters to us is hearing from various voices in our communities.
Becoming a contributor is very simple—
1. Just reply to this email and tell me about your company or story idea.
2. Or I can set you up as a contributor, and you can post stories and pictures as frequently as you like. Stories will typically appear with 24 hours after you post them, which gives us time to make sure everything is appropriate for our family-friendly neighborhoods.
We welcome all types of stories and here are a few ideas:
• Fundraiser at the local animal shelter
• The winner of a high school art contest
• School sport scores and highlights
• Town hall and community council meetings
• Openings and closings of businesses
• Pictures of the community

Erik Rosales
KMPH Fox 26
News Assignment Manager
5111 E. McKinley Avenue
Fresno, CA 93727

Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby Lost Fresno » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:22 pm

Hello Erik and welcome to Lost Fresno. My name is Teddy and I am the administrator of this forum. I want to let you know how excited that I (and I think mostly like "we") are about your web site. If there is anything that I (we) can do to help promote your site, we would be most happy to!

Lost Fresno admin
Lost Fresno
Site Admin
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Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby irency » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:54 am

Yeah I agree the Moon-Glo was on Hughes and Dakota here in Fresno....
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Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby NettiesKid » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:50 pm

I really miss Drive-In movie theaters. The beginning of Spring always reminds me of the late 70's and going to the Sunset Drive-In on Whitesbridge Avenue in Fresno. You could see some really great movies there (back before Cable TV and VCRs/DVDs were in every house).

We'd always arrive about an hour before dusk, because there was a playground at the foot of the big screen. Swings, slides, monkey bars. There'd be tons of kids running between cars. People crowding around the snack bar (I recall they made a really excellent Pepperoni pizza that you could order with a big paper cups of Pepsi with ice - good eats). Mom and sister would take the front seats of the car, while my older brother would spread a blanket on the roof where he and I would stretch out and watch the movie. Unless it was a horror flick, then chicken little me would take a spot between mom and sissy in the car.

At night the wind blew through the tall palm trees that lined three sides of the theater. Some nights the legions of stray cats that lived and bred around the theater would yowl and fight. It was an eerie sound, but it was part of what made Sunset Theater unique. It was a rural drive-in, unlike most of Fresno's other drive-ins.

I drove past the old Sunset Drive-In a couple of summers ago. It's long gone, of course. All that remained there was a field of rusted junk machinery, old cars and badly overgrown weeds poking up through the crumbled concrete where we used to park to watch movies. All the speaker poles are gone. No signs of stray cats. Even the big palms were gone. Sad day.
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Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby Jack » Sun May 05, 2013 11:08 pm

At one time, I believe Sunnyside Drive In had a third screen, to the west end. Was not there very long.

Re: Drive In Theaters

Postby Dano » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:10 pm

Regarding the Sunset Drive-In. Technically, Fashion Fair is not on the site of the drive-In. You can still see the rough dimensions of the Sunset by looking at the park that sits there now. A park sits over the Sunset which is not a bad trade.

What about Woodward Drive In? Killed by Costco but it had four screens so if your movie sucked you could turn around and watch another. We lived close to Sunnyside but Woodward was our favorite.

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