Pickwick Drive-In

1100 W. Alameda Avenue,
Burbank, CA 91506

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Pickwick Drive-In

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Burbank’s Pickwick Drive-In opened May 12, 1949 and had space for 781 cars.

Operated by Pacific Theatres, the theater is perhaps best known as the site of the World Premiere of Mel Brooks’s "Blazing Saddles". Warner Brothers held the premiere at this drive-in and the guests were led in on horses.

The Pickwick Drive-In was closed and torn down in 1989.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

klebrun on June 14, 2006 at 4:20 pm

I believe this theater was also used in a car chase scene from the second season Rockford Files episode “The No-Cut Contract”. A little over 9 minutes into the episode, Rockford’s Firebird turns into the entrance to the theater and you can see the marquee advertising “The Gambler” with James Caan and “Once Is Not Enough” with Kirk Douglas. Since James Garner did most of his own stunt driving, you could see a smile on his face while he was “hill jumping” between the speaker poles in the drive in parking lot.

mrae on September 8, 2006 at 9:14 am

I went on horseback to see Blazing Saddles at the Pickwick Drive-In! I remember lining up to enter the theater on my pony, along with 30 other riders, behind a stream of cars. I was in elemenatary school at the time. A friend of mine, used to live in the apartments next door on Shelton St. We would sneak out and climb into the trees that lined the theater to watch rated R films, like Saturday Night Fever. Good memories = ]

kencmcintyre on September 23, 2007 at 9:31 pm

Here is a February 1980 ad from the LA Times:

shoeshoe14 on September 6, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Was mentioned in the documentary “Drive-In Movie Memories” in 2001.

Tillmany on September 21, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Pickwick Drive-In Theatre is featured in Columbia’s 1950 film “He’s a Cockeyed Wonder” with Mickey Rooney. On the marquee is the Columbia feature “Fuller Brush Girl” with Lucille Ball and Eddie Albert, and “A Girl’s Best Friend,” a non-existent film, which is apparently the second feature, and the one in progress. A uniformed female usher greets the driver, takes his money, and gets his ticket from the nearby cashier, in a glass-enclosed booth; then a uniformed male usher, with flashlight, directs the car to an available parking spot, and places the speaker on the car window. We get to see a bit of “A Girl’s Best Friend” with Richard Quine and Lola Albright as the uncredited couple, in the usual situation, in the front seat of a convertible, before trouble in the theatre breaks out.

Harvey on April 6, 2009 at 2:41 am

The Pickwick plays in role in 1976’s ST IVES starring Charles Bronson.

MagicLantern on June 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Now a large development with a Pavilions and a Staples. You can see on Google Maps where the screen was – at the bottom right corner of the lot.

Logan5 on February 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Info I’ve found says the Pickwick was open May 12, 1949 to September 15, 1989. It was operated by: Cal-Pac Drive-In Theatres, Inc., and then by Pacific Theatres. Vehicle capacity was around 750. Unfortunately I never saw a movie here but I remember driving by there just before it was closed in 1989. It was demolished around late-1989 and replaced by the “Rancho Marketplace” shopping center (Vons Pavillion, Denny’s). The Pickwick Gardens entertainment complex (banquet rooms, bowling, ice skating, etc.) is still in operation just to the south (behind the shopping center) on Riverside Drive.

bigfoot1076 on September 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

I recall many pleasant movie dates at the Pickwick drive-in, 1959 -1960

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