Fountain Valley Drive-In
18245 Brookhurst Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Pacific Theatres
Architects: Don Griffin
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News About This Theater
- May 21, 2010 — Happy 30th, "Empire"
- Aug 21, 2009 — "Alien" 30th Anniversary
The Fountain Valley Drive-In was opened on July 12, 1967 with Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” & Debbie Watson in “Tammie and the Millionaire”. I recall riding past this drive-in’s huge screen many times in my youth, but I’m not sure if I ever saw a movie there (if I did I don’t recall). However, I do recall passing it once as my mother drove north on Brookhurst Boulevard one night in summer 1980, and as we passed over the 405 Freeway on Brookhurst I could VERY clearly see that <em>The Empire Strikes Back</em> was playing, and I could even make out which scene it was (Luke blowing up the AT-AT walker); this was from at least half a mile away! That’s how big the screen was!
It was closed in October 1984 and later demolished. The land it occupied had apparently increased in value and so shopping centers, restaurants, and homes now occupy the land it once was on (originally all farmland). By 2018 the Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center and houses stand on the site.
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Recent comments (view all 10 comments)
This theater was wonderful for the gigantic screenâ€¦the largest outdoor one I have ever seen. It was close to home and also very close to the Warner and the Harbor Drive-inâ€¦at one time that part of Orange County had five drive-ins about ten minutes apart to choose fromâ€¦Warner, Harbor, Fountain Valley, Highway 39 and the Pauloâ€¦. Valhalla for those of us who loved drive in movies! This one also was in the lowlands and was now and then shut down early due to thick fogs.
This drive-in was equipped for 70mm projection.
Yeah, Fountain Valley Drive-in had a BIG screen. I lived a mile away on Elm Street in Talbert Village, and I’d climb the big elm tree in our front yard and watch the movie, perched in the branches. No sound and pretty uncomfortable, but impressive nonetheless. The night it opened they had a big broohaha – the world premiere of John Wayne’s ‘The War Wagon’ – and the PR buzz was that “An Oscar-winning actor” would be there for the festivities. Imagine everyone’s disappointment when it turned out to be Ed Begley, Sr.! On the other hand, a lot of guys appreciated the appearance of a young up-and-coming starlet named Raquel Welch.
Was mentioned in the documentary “Drive-In Movie Memories” in 2001.
I have lived in FV since 1977 and remember going to see St. Pepper with my husband and infant daughter at this drive-in. I now work as a nurse at Orange Coast Memorial hospital that is sitting on the site of the drive-in.
I know it would impossible to have a top ten DRIVE-INS,but if it were THE FOUNTAIN VALLEY would have to place somewhere in those numbers.
Saw Star Wars there for the first time… after the show the old man drove off with the massive speaker box still attached to the window of the family Ford Granada… good times.
Opened on 12/7/1967 with “Snow White and the seven dwarfs” and “Tammy and the millionaire”. Site is now Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center and houses.
Saw Star Wars A New Hope there the summer of 1977
My very first moviegoing experiences were at this drive-in. My parents would take the entire family there in our green station wagon. My mom would make a giant vat of “M&M popcorn” (which is exactly what you think it is) and a massive thermos filled with “Suicide” (which was her name for some sort of Kool-Aid/7-UP type of mixed drink). We’d always get there early so my siblings & I could play in the playground that was beneath the giant movie screen. I always loved going to the snack bar even if we didn’t buy anything. Aside from STAR WARS, the only movie that I have a specific memory of seeing there is BRAINSTORM. I remember that being the first time I realized movies could be filmed in different aspect ratios (as the film itself is shown in two different aspect ratios). I remember thinking to myself, “Why isn’t the movie using the entire screen?” Until, of course, the first virtual reality sequence appeared and the film suddenly used the entire screen.