Century Drive-In

3560 W. Century Boulevard,
Inglewood, CA 90303

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Century Drive-In

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 diffrent projection booths (Abel,Baker,Charlie). In the mid-1960’s, it began screening Cinerama films.

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.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 42 comments)

moviebear1 on April 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Thanks for the high quality repros

dickneeds111 on May 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm

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.

Coate on May 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm

dick… Those drive-ins in Cincinnati and Albany ran WINDJAMMER, so, technically, they showed CineMiracle rather than Cinerama.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on May 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Uploaded aerials 1952 and 1980. Other links are broken.

dickneeds111 on August 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm

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.

CSWalczak on August 24, 2012 at 12:18 am

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.

DavidZornig on April 1, 2015 at 8:38 pm

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.

rivest266 on October 7, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Correction: Opened on June 30th, 1949

davidcoppock on October 7, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Opened with “Champion” and “The big cat”.

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