El Monte Drive-In

9700 Lower Azusa Road,
El Monte, CA 91731

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jvp3
jvp3 on February 13, 2014 at 6:57 pm

A PDF version of the Fall 2008 issue of Hagerty magazine that DavidZornig mentioned is available in full color here online:

http://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/~/media/Files/US/Lifestyle/Magazine/pdf/v3i3.ashx

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on September 12, 2008 at 10:41 pm

For anyone who is interested, there is a color picture of the El Monte Drive In Theatre behind an early `50’s Chevy, in the current Hagerty’s magazine. A in-house publication sent to those who insure classic cars through Hagerty Insurance.

The photo accompanies a nice 3 page article titled “Movies Under the Stars”. It indicates the El Monte was demolished in 1999. There is also mention of many other drive-ins by name, though with limited pictures.

Hagerty has a website, but I couldn’t find a link to the current article.
Maybe others will have more luck. It is published out of Warren Michigan.

belteshazar
belteshazar on January 19, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I grew up on Willmonte Av. in Temple City, just a few blocks from the theater. I think I probably saw my first movie there s a child in the mid 1970’s. I distinctly remember playing on the swing sets under the screen, and seeing Blazing Saddles, Moonraker and The Pink Panther there. I lived for the animations at the beginning of the Pink Panther movies. We used to pile into my mom’s yellow VW bug and I would be stowed away in the compartment behind the back seat, covered by a blanket, so they didn’t have to buy me a ticket. One time they had toyed with the idea of putting me in the trunk at the front of the car, I’m not sure if this was serious, but I wouldn’t do it. I associate the El Monte Drive In with summertime memories of tastee-freeze ice cream and In-n-Out Burgers. That huge mural of the Mexican dancer is permanently tattooed to my imagination.

dblack1054
dblack1054 on July 21, 2007 at 5:38 am

I grew up in El Monte. I remember watching John Wayne westerns at the drive in. My sister and I got to play in the playground at the base of the screen, then run back to the car when the lights flashed! That was exciting and fun! Then we’d fall asleep in the back seat before the movie ended.

boywithadream
boywithadream on April 16, 2007 at 5:50 pm

I lived across the street on Willmonte Ave. and remember passing the El Monte every day when I was a kid. In its later years it was only open during the summers and I remember getting in my family’s VW Vanogen and watching the double features. I am in college now and the nostalgia of that place is starting to hit me now. I was only 10 when they knocked it down and I didn’t really appreciate the magic of the drive-in. What I wouldn’t give for another hot summer night double feature down the street at the El Monte.

ElMonteDriveIn
ElMonteDriveIn on March 25, 2007 at 3:49 am

I remember spending the night with my buddy when Star Wars was playing at the El Monte drive-in. His mom took us in her old Pinto, and she sat in the back seat reading a book by flashlight, while we sat in the front watching the movie, and pigging out on snacks.

I miss the old drive-in days.

bahooka
bahooka on June 2, 2006 at 5:19 am

Nice pics, ChrisB.

Here is a link to an animated short film which features the El Monte Drive-In:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXWxZOst53k

ChrisB
ChrisB on June 2, 2006 at 1:47 am

Here’s a couple nighttime shots I took in 1992:

View link

View link

Enjoy!

MagicLantern
MagicLantern on May 16, 2006 at 1:39 am

Also appeared in the film “Bikini Drive-In”.

MagicLantern
MagicLantern on May 16, 2006 at 1:38 am

This drive-in appeared in the film “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman”.

swingparty
swingparty on April 9, 2006 at 5:00 pm

I not only went to the nightime features at the El Monte,It was also a great afternoon hang-out in 1977. I had a job with Angeles Typewriter delivering office equipment.In the afternoons I used to stop at the El Monte to loaf and waste some time. You could drive right in and park,and just hang out. Nobody ever bothered me or said anything.There were several other cars and vans in there on several of the days I was there.I used to bring some girls(married and unmarried)there for “Dates” in the afternoon in my delivery Van.Those were some cool partying times there back then.Jackie,Sandy,and Kathy I’m having some Nostalgic thoughts while writing this thinking of you. Are you still in El Monte or the SG Valley?PS. Did anyone else out there ever hang out at the El Monte in the afternoon.I always thought that if the Cops ever came in there to arrest people for tresspassing no one would be able to drive fast straight out of those parking spaces over all those big dips to get away fast.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 10, 2005 at 4:24 pm

Do you go by yourself? If you bring a girl, you don’t have to worry about watching the movie.

Jesseperez
Jesseperez on June 8, 2005 at 4:24 am

I really miss this drive-in. I grew up near by and would pass by quite often. I saw Star Wars here in 1977. By the late 1990’s I knew its days were numbered. In the summer of 1998 I snuck in and took several pictures of it. The screen tower was open and there was trash everywhere. I was gone for a few days at the beginning of Sept. 1998 and when I got back it was being bulldozed. The mural on the screen tower is what made this drive-in special, it was truely spectacular! Too bad that these places which once played such important parts in our lives are not revered and preserved.

bahooka
bahooka on October 6, 2004 at 9:51 pm

Does anybody know what they do with the old marquees when they tear down the old theatres? I hope they don’t just destroy them!

Macbeth
Macbeth on October 6, 2004 at 9:29 pm

Meredith, also the El Monte Drive In had somr really good foot long chili dogs, wish I had onr right now. The family and I enjoyed this this theatre as well as the San Gabriel. The photo of the front of the back side of the screen is a pretty good one, nice to see it.

bahooka
bahooka on February 26, 2004 at 4:53 am

I used to live right across the street from the El Monte Drive-In when I was a kid.
I lived at 4827 ‘C’ Agnes Avenue. I could see the marquee from my bedroom window. sigh I would love to go back to Temple City. I live in frozen Northern Canada now.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 13, 2004 at 1:33 am

You’re right, the Vineland is still going. :)

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 13, 2004 at 1:30 am

OH, here is one other thing. Where else, but at a Pacific Drive-In Theater, could you get a pizza with its combination of mozarella AND cheddar cheeses? Now think back. Remember? There was white and orange cheeses on those pizzas. I remember them all too well because the projectionist could order a whole pizza for only ONE DOLLAR. Also, that is where I had first experienced not only pepperoni but also jalapenos as the toppings… gastrointestinal bliss…

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on February 13, 2004 at 1:22 am

A minor correction to Meredith’s otherwise excellent post. Pacific still operates one drive-in, the only one still operating in Los Angeles & Orange Counties, the Vineland.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 13, 2004 at 1:19 am

Hey William, do ya miss doing the screenings at Robert Evans' house? Do ya miss Michael, Jennifer and Alan? HA!!! I DO!!! :)

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 13, 2004 at 1:16 am

And, of course, I was a relief projectionist there, as well. Old Man Foreman, the guy who started Pacific Theaters, was instrumental in the drive-ins era, even though it actually began in New Jersey. Sumner Redstone, the owner of National Amusement Theaters and Paramount Studios, started with a single drive-in here on Long Island and grew the business into the empire he has today. Redstone is still alive; Foreman is not. But Foreman really pushed drive-ins in California, and it seemed as though every populated city had its own drive-in. Today, Pacific Theaters Company is still in existance, but it only operates indoor theaters. Ironic, what put them on the map, the drive-ins, do not exist anymore.

William
William on February 11, 2004 at 10:21 pm

The El Monte Drive-In was located at 9700 Lower Azuza Road and the car capacity was 791 cars.