Fountain Valley Drive-In

18245 Brookhurst Avenue,
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

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The old snack bar.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Fountain Valley Drive-In was opened in July 1967. 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).

Contributed by papibear

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on October 14, 2003 at 5:52 am

I saw “The Cowboys” at this theater and the screen was not only huge it was curved. If memory serves, this was the last single screen drive-in built in Orange County. It was run by Pacific Theaters.

bkazmer
bkazmer on March 16, 2005 at 1:14 am

This theater was wonderful for the gigantic screen…the largest outdoor one I have ever seen. It was close to home and also very close to the Warner and the Harbor Drive-in…at one time that part of Orange County had five drive-ins about ten minutes apart to choose from…Warner, Harbor, Fountain Valley, Highway 39 and the Paulo…. 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.

moviebluedog
moviebluedog on January 6, 2006 at 6:10 pm

This drive-in was equipped for 70mm projection.

sduhler
sduhler on June 16, 2007 at 7:00 pm

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.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on September 8, 2008 at 8:51 am

Was mentioned in the documentary “Drive-In Movie Memories” in 2001.

nancynurse
nancynurse on May 23, 2009 at 8:28 am

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.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 18, 2010 at 11:52 am

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.

Richie_T
Richie_T on July 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm

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.

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