12109 W. Olympic Boulevard,
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Previously operated by: Pacific Theatres
This former drive-in originally opened in 1934 as the 500-car capacity Drive-In (the first drive-in in California) at Pico Boulevard and Westwood Boulevard. It was soon re-named Pacific Drive-In (the operators were Pacific Theatres) and had become the Pico Drive-In when it was closed on October 1, 1944. (A separate page on Cinema Treasures covers this theatre)
It moved 2 miles to the west from that location to Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive, (re)opening on April 4, 1945 with Edward G. Robinson in “The Woman in the Window” & Bud Abbott & Lou Costello in “Lost in a Harem”. It was renamed the Olympic Drive-In on October 3, 1945. This drive-in had a screen tower with a mural of two surfers (a boy and a girl) riding a wave. Opened with 775 car spaces, it lasted until October 14, 1973 when it was screening adult movies. The final program being “School Girls”, “School Girls Growing” and Swinging Wives".
Cars are still located at this old drive-in – a Cadillac dealership replaced it.
Other classic Pacific murals were located at the below list, but sad to say all have been demolished:
Century D/In Sailing Ships
Compton D/In Viking Ship
El Monte D/In Spanish Dancer
Gage D/In Spanish Horsemen
Hi-Way 39 D/In Sail boats nr beach
Lakewood D/In Sail boats
Rosecrans D/In Jet Plane
San Pedro D/In Spanish Horsemen nr a beach
Tri-City D/In Two Skier going down hill
Van Nuys D/In Spanish Horsemen nr Spanish house
Vermont D/In Woman surrounded by birds & trees
Whittier D/In Spanish Dancers
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Recent comments (view all 30 comments)
I saw “THE FACTS OF LIFE” bet alot of L.A. drive-ins were used in the movies.
Went to this drive in quite a few times in my childhood. I remember it quite fondly.
This theater should be listed in Los Angeles. West Los Angeles is a district, not an independent city.
I just watched “The Facts of Life” (UA, 1960) which shows the Olympic Drive-In Theatre. The b&w movie is available on a 2007 MGM/UA DVD. The segment starts at the 56:59 point and ends at 1:00:10. Bob Hope and Lucille Ball are driving, nervously looking for some place to go, and Hope says, “Hey, there’s an idea. Wanna see a movie?” Ball replies, “Sure” and they enter the Olympic Drive-In Theatre. There are great shots of the Olympic exterior, showing the name in neon and a mural showing a couple on surfboards, sailboats in the water and a beach/coastline. The theater entrance is shown, then a long-shot of the Drive-In lot, showing the screen and the car entering and pulling into a spot. At the end of the scene, the car exits the Olympic, showing the street side of the screen. Is this the Olympic Drive-In shown in the “interior” shots? I assume it is, but you never know with “movie magic”…
A few other movies with “drive-in” scenes (not the Olympic) are “Lolita” (1961) and “Lonelyhearts” (1958) with Montgomery Clift.
Original location is now Westside Pavilion Mall. Second location is now Martin GMC-Cadillic dealership and KTTV-TV FOX Channel 11.
The Olympic (re-)opened on April 4, 1945, showing Woman in the Window and Lost in a Harem, per its listings in The Los Angeles Times.
tiny grand opening ad posted.
Much larger grand opening ad posted from the Vanguard in Venice. Olympic Drive-In opening 04 Apr 1945, Wed Evening Vanguard (Venice, California) Newspapers.com
The Olympic was remodeled in spring 1950, adding a playground, enlarging the rest rooms, and swapping in better in-car speakers. Maybe that was when its screen tower switched from the plain one shown in its grand opening ad to its famous Pacific mural? The surfers were definitely there by August 1951, when they appeared in a (Venice CA) Evening Vanguard newspaper ad.
There were a lot of conflicting references to the Olympic’s capacity. A month before it opened, the Citizen News said the drive-in would be able to hold 800 cars. In September 1945, the Evening Vanguard ran a press-release type of article that said 1200 cars. Then in March 1950, in a story about upcoming Easter services there, the Evening Vanguard mentioned “the 820 cars which can be accommodated on the large parking lot”.