10860 W. Pico Boulevard,
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Previously operated by: Pacific Theatres
Architects: Clifford A. Balch
Previous Names: Drive-In, Pacific Drive-In
The Drive-In Theatre was the first of its type to be opened in California, and it opened on September 9, 1934 with Will Rogers in “Handy Andy”.
Later known as the Pacific Drive-In, as it was operated by Pacific Theatres. By 1943, it was known as the Pico Drive-In, and was closed on October 1, 1944 with Fred MacMurray in “Double Indemnity” & James Mason in “Candlelight in Algeria”. It was demolished in 1947. It was moved to Olympic & Bundy and reopened as the Olympic Drive-In (which has its own page on Cinema Treasures). The Picwood Theatre was built on part of the site of the Pico Drive-In.
Movies have always held a place at this intersection of West Los Angeles–from the 1948 built Picwood Theatre (which was demolished in 1990) to the 4-screen Landmark Theatre inside the Westside Pavilion, which opened in the 1980’s.
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Address should be corrected to read 10860 W. Pico Blvd. Evidence is in the image posted 04/17/15.
From the Motion Picture Herald, Feb. 8, 1936:
“Guy Douthwaite, operator of the open-air Drive-in theatre in Hollywood, is applying for patents on horns which he invented when complaints about noise forced him to abandon a loudspeaker. In his invention, sound is carried by wire to each car and is released through horns placed in front of the radiators.”
The Pico Drive-In closed on Oct. 1, 1944, showing Double Indemnity and Candlelight in Algeria, per its listings in The Los Angeles Times. Its Oct. 2 listing read “Closed. Watch for Opening Date.”
Ads mention by MichaelKilgore posted in the photo section.
1934 photo added credit Dick Whittington.
Boxoffice, Feb. 17, 1951: “Seth D. Perkins, 63-year-old pioneer theatrical man, who built the first drive-in in California, died recently following a long illness. … Perkins' first drive-in, the second in the world, was built in 1934 on Pico boulevard in Los Angeles. Later he built a chain of theatres throughout southern California.”
Larger opening ad
Pico drive in opening Mon, Sep 10, 1934 – 3 · Evening Vanguard (Venice, California) · Newspapers.com
Here’s a pre-opening drawing of the drive-in. It looks a lot like one of Hollinghead’s patent drawings, but the ramp height is more pronounced.
Pre-opening drawing of what would become known as the Pico Drive-In. 06 Sep 1934, Thu Evening Vanguard (Venice, California) Newspapers.com
Also opened with a Disney cartoon “Little Red hen”.
It’s actually “The Wise Little Hen”, notable for Donald Duck’s first appearance and the only Silly Symphony short Donald Duck has an appearance on, before moving right along as a cameo in Mickey Mouse cartoons for a few years while under the United Artists' banner until his first full-titled Donald Duck self cartoon “Don Donald” in January 1937. United Artists continued with Donald himself (and the gang of course) until his last United Artists appearance in his own “Modern Inventions” short later that May, and then RKO had to take over the rest of Donald (including his gang)’s lineup with a darn load of Buena Vista reissues.