Rancho Drive-In

1200 Connecticut Avenue,
San Pablo, CA 94806

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xsallnow
xsallnow on November 4, 2013 at 5:25 am

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.

JohnRice
JohnRice on December 7, 2012 at 12:26 am

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.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on January 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Added aerial from 1959

BJB
BJB on July 18, 2010 at 5:39 am

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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 13, 2010 at 4:42 am

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.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 12, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Thanks for clearing that up.

rockyroadz
rockyroadz on May 12, 2010 at 7:06 am

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.

William
William on March 6, 2009 at 2:01 am

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

William
William on March 6, 2009 at 1:28 am

The 1961 IMPA has a car capacity also at 560.

William
William on March 6, 2009 at 1:08 am

The 1981 IMPA lists this drive-in as being in San Pablo, CA. too, but with a 1004 car capacity. They have Syufy operating it and an address of 1220 Connecticut Ave. San Pablo, CA 94806. If you map it out from the address, some of the houses look like they may have been built in the last decade or so.