3560 W. Century Boulevard,
13 people favorited this theater
Previously operated by: Pacific Theatres
Architects: William Glenn Balch, Louis L. Bryan
Firms: Balch & Bryan
Styles: Streamline Moderne
News About This Theater
- Oct 10, 2008 — Remembering Cinerama (Part VI)
Opened on July 2, 1949 with Kirk Douglas in “Champion” & Lon McCallister “The Big Cat”. The Century Drive-In was a single screen theatre, operated by Pacific Theatres with a capacity for 918 cars. The rear of the screen tower had a mural with a nautical theme. There was a childrens playground which was equipped with gymnastic equipment.
It was used in the mid-1950’s to test and show the public the new form of entertainment called "CINERAMA". They used three trailers as the three different projection booths (Abel,Baker,Charlie). On April 17, 1964 it began screening Cinerama films, it began screening Cinerama films, the first being “This Is Cinerama”.
The Century Drive-In was twinned in the 1970’s. It was demolished in 1984 and a Costco & Home Depot industrial park was built on the site.
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Recent comments (view all 44 comments)
The Century Drive-in WAS NOT the 1st Drive-In to install 3 strip Cinerama. It had been done 2 years earlier in Drive-Ins in Cinncinnatti, Ohio and Albany, N.Y.
dick… Those drive-ins in Cincinnati and Albany ran WINDJAMMER, so, technically, they showed CineMiracle rather than Cinerama.
Uploaded aerials 1952 and 1980. Other links are broken.
Coate. I have just done some research and the twin drive in ine Cinn played Windjammer after a cinemiracle run downtown, The drive in ran it in Cinerama from July-Aug in 1960. I am still trying to find out more info on the Albany Drie in. I still can’t see how Cinerama was any good at any drive in without 7 track stereo.. The picture might be big and great but lousy mono sound.
On Roland Lataille’s page, there is this note: “Special B prints used with 2X magnetic strips for sound.” This implies that there was some stereo effect possible, but apparently the special Cinerama sound processor was not used.
I think I remember reading somewhere that the three mobile-home like booths were each mounted on a lift mechanism that would elevate them to the appropriate height for head-on projection.
Aerial view of the Century Drive-In added. There is a curved Cinerama screen in front of the regular screen. May, 1964. Photo and copy courtesy of Robert Juzefski.
Correction: Opened on June 30th, 1949
Opened with “Champion” and “The big cat”.
Well now I’ve seen everything. A Cinerama drive in. Did you have to reserve your parking space in advance? Did they give you seven speakers for your car? How did they afford the three projectionists? And the putting up and dismantling of the screen for flat film must have been expensive and a pain.
“This is Cinerama” opened on April 17th, 1964.
This is Cinerama Fri, Apr 17, 1964 – 82 · The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) · Newspapers.com