Winchester Drive-In

535 Westchester Drive,
Campbell, CA 95008

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Winchester Drive-In

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was a massive drive-in complex located next to Highway 17 in Campbell. It closed in 1984 when Syufy Enterprises shut it down. The site remained abandoned for years until 2000 when the City of Campbell allowed developers to build (yet another) high-tech building campus on the location.

Contributed by Marc Schneider

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on March 17, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Had a capacity for 900 cars.

GaryParks
GaryParks on March 21, 2007 at 3:21 am

I never went to this drive-in, as I lived “over the hill” in Santa Cruz County during its last years of operation, but I do remember seeing its sign looming atop the Highway 17 embankment, both when still functioning and then for a number of years even after the screen towers were demolished.

The sign was two-sided. Above the large reader boards for the multiple screens, the word “Winchester” was written in single-tube neon script, which I think was yellow. Around and below this snaked a long arrow, which carried the word “Theatres” in upper-case type, also in neon. I forget what color. The serpentine arrow itself featured a multitude of red neon v-shaped cross-pieces as its “ribs,” which animated. During the last years of operation, the animation mechanism failed, and so there were alternating little bunches of tubes stuck in either “on” or “off” condition. The paint colors of the sign as best as I can remember were brown, white, red, and possibly yellow.

I never saw the actual entrance of the theatre, so don’t know what sort of signage fronted the street it was on. The above-described sign advertised the theatre to passersby on the Highway 17 freeway.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 28, 2007 at 3:22 am

Capacity in 1963 was 1100 cars, according to the 1963 motion picture almanac. However, these numbers seem suspiciously rounded off in most cases, so I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it. Operator in 1963 was Syufy.

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