Compton Drive-In

2111 E. Rosecrans Avenue,
Compton, CA 90221

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 14, 2014 at 5:06 am

Charles Phoenix wrote recently about his all-too-brief encounter with the Compton Drive-In.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on February 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Uploaded some Goggle Earth views.

lincbond442
lincbond442 on February 14, 2012 at 9:23 am

This place is one of my earliest memories as a child. We lived in Lynwood and would pass by this place on the way to Paramount on the weekends. It was a magnificent structure that I still remember almost 40 years later. Compton and El Monte had my favorite screen tower murals.

MagicLantern
MagicLantern on June 18, 2010 at 1:52 am

That’s a huge empty lot at that address now.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 21, 2009 at 7:29 am

Here is a January 1958 ad from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/p55p6m

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on April 23, 2009 at 9:29 pm

The really sad thing is that every single theater in ken mc’s post(except the Paramount which is now the El Capitan)is gone and no longer running movies full time. The Orpheum is still open but almost 100% live shows now. Also, Rooney actually made a number of action films including “Ambush Bay”, “Pulp”, “The Secret Invasion”, “The Domino Principle”, etc.

William
William on January 30, 2009 at 4:07 am

And you can also see that “Sleeping Beauty” was playing over at the Fox Wilshire Theatre in 70MM.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 30, 2009 at 4:04 am

He was the mini-Vin Diesel back then, I guess.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on January 30, 2009 at 3:41 am

Mickey Rooney action film? Those are two things you don’t hear together everyday.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 30, 2009 at 3:21 am

Here is a January 1959 ad for a Mickey Rooney action film, showing at the Compton. Click on the ad to zoom in.
http://tinyurl.com/aesgyv

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on September 6, 2008 at 9:14 pm

This drive-in was in the documentary “Drive-In Movie Memories” in 2001.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 12, 2008 at 12:00 am

One of at least two classic basketball films released in that year, along with “The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh”.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 26, 2007 at 12:44 am

Here is a March 1980 ad from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/22vhcu

lachristiangirl
lachristiangirl on April 12, 2006 at 10:52 pm

The Compton Drive in is now gone. 65 beautiful home are now locaed on the back ¾ of the lot. I am one of the lucky new homeowners. The entire property was bought by a local church which held on to it for several years. The back ¾ lot was sold to Lennar Homes for development and the 65 homes built opened up begining in August 2005, with the last phase to be completed in Summer, 2006. The front ¼ lot is still owned by this local church which plans to develop it as their new church site/community center in Fall, 2006.

Jesseperez
Jesseperez on June 12, 2005 at 6:56 am

My parents lived in Lynwood about a mile away from the Compton Drive-in back in the early 70’s. One of my first childhood memories was driving with my parents on Rosecrans Ave. and seeing this amazing screen tower with Viking ships painted on it. I use to wonder what was behind the glass windows at the base of the screen tower. Just like everything else in life, I assumed it would be there forever and never returned after we moved from the area in 1977. I drove by in May of 2005 and saw that several houses were being built on the former site of the drive-in. I found a great picture of the screen tower in a book titled “Southern Californialand” by Charles Phoenix. Check it out and enjoy, they just don’t make them like that anymore.

justin
justin on June 4, 2004 at 6:02 pm

I am looking for photos or items from the Compton Drive-In. I noticed that the message above from DARIA said that she had some photos from before it’s demolition. Daria, if you can make me an extra set of photos, I would gladly pay you for them. Anyone else who has any photos or items from the Compton Drive-In, please get in touch with me. My e-mail is Thanks!

Justin Kudolla

Daria
Daria on May 5, 2004 at 10:03 am

I was never fond of the Compton Drive-in, even in the relatively peaceful latter part of the 1960s. They had a penchant for showing what was considered more “adult” fair—-meaning movies with the now long-defunct “M” rating. The last films I recall seeing there were “The Illustrated Man” and “The Oblong Box,” both of which kept me awake at night for weeks afterward. I was always fond of the Vikings depicted on the screen tower and the cute little Pacific Theaters office out front, though. I have photos of it from shortly before the demolishing, sadly showing how faded the paint had become and the vandalism (a large, ugly stain or two across the artwork). In its day, the screen tower was one of only 2 tall edifices in the city of Compton, long before the 12 story courthouse was built a few miles away. The Compton could easily be seen all the way from the 91 Fwy; it was missing it from that vista one day that signaled to me that yet another classic screen had bitten the dust.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 9:00 am

Yeap, was a projectionist there in the early 80s. It was right off the freeway. Local 521, IATSE, Long Beach, had jurisdiction then.

William
William on December 17, 2003 at 2:05 am

The architect of the Compton Drive-In was William Glenn Balch.