Rancho Drive-In

1200 Connecticut Avenue,
San Pablo, CA 94806

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Rancho Drive-In

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The Rancho Drive-In was just off of San Pablo Avenue in San Pablo, Ca. It was operational by 1955, when it was operated by Richmond Drive-In Inc. & Ray Syufy. It was closed in 1973.

Contributed by billspain

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 5, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Same with the 1969 IMPA. The Rancho is listed with a car capacity of 560 and the Automovies with a capacity of 750 cars. Something isn’t right. Sometimes drive-in’s can drive you nuts finding information for them. :)

William
William on March 5, 2009 at 6:01 pm

No one really paid any real interest till it was to late. You’re right about the info for them. :)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 5, 2009 at 6:17 pm

An ad with an address or a newspaper story that included an address for either of these drive-ins could solve this mystery. Then we would know if Drive-Ins.com or IMPA is wrong. It might turn out that they are both wrong. LOL

rockyroadz
rockyroadz on May 11, 2010 at 11:06 pm

The Rancho Drive-in was definitely located at 1220 Connecticut Ave. San Pablo, CA 94806 (I worked there as a teen).
The San Pablo Drive-in theater was near Riverside Ave and Hwy 80 in San Pablo.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 12, 2010 at 11:00 am

Thanks for clearing that up.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 12, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Is this called the El Rancho or just the Rancho? Boxoffice of October 24, 1953, said that Homer Gray was selling his Rancho Drive-In at San Pablo to Ray Syufy. Then the El Rancho Drive-In at San Pablo was mentioned as a Syufy operation in Boxoffice of October 15, 1955. Boxoffice switches back and forth in various items over the years. Which form was on the screen tower or attraction board (or did they each have a different one?)

To add to the confusion, Boxoffice of July 9, 1973, has an item saying that the San Pablo city council had asked the courts to have the Rancho Drive-In permanently closed as a public nuisance, but this item gave the location of the theater as 14th Street and Broadway.

Whatever the name, the drive-in was in operation by September of 1951, and must have been one of the two drive-ins that were reported in Boxoffice of July 8, 1950, to then be under construction at San Pablo.

BJB
BJB on July 17, 2010 at 9:39 pm

That was starting to be a pretty dodgy neighborhood in the ‘70s. It was also surrounded by the type of businesses that are only open weekday days, and is otherwise rather deserted at night. I can see why the city council would ask for it be closed down in 1973, as I can imagine some of the type of people and activities a drive-in there could attract. I vaguely recall seeing ads for a weekend flea market at the El Rancho, but don’t remember movies running there. I grew up in the North East bay in the '70s, and people would go to the Hilltop Drive-In by the freeway, but I never heard of anyone going to a movie at the El Rancho.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on January 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Added aerial from 1959

JohnRice
JohnRice on December 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm

The Rancho did big business in the early 1950’s, before the arrival of the nicer, more modern San Pablo Auto Movies. Before then it’s closest drive in competition in the Richmond area was the El Cerrito Motor Movies. I liked the Dusk-to-Dawn movie marathons on holiday weekends, 4 or 5 features with free coffee and donuts if you managed to stay awake until closing.

xsallnow
xsallnow on November 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Used to go to both the Rancho and the San Pablo a lot in the 50’s-60’s. Newspaper theater pages showed the Rancho as being at 14th & Broadway, San Pablo and the san Pablo as being at San Pablo Ave. & Dam Rd., which I believe was in Richmind.

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