UA Starlite Drive-In

2659 E. Gerard Avenue,
Merced, CA 95341

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According to locals, the Starlite Drive-In opened in the early-1960’s. Located on the Southeast end of town, the Starlite Drive-In was built and operated by United Artists.

Unlike many of UA’s drive-ins, which closed in the mid to late-1970’s, the Starlite Drive-In hung in there until 1987.

While the theater is long gone, the faded and rusted marquee remained, just east of Highway 99, until 2005.

Contributed by Jason

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

GaryParks
GaryParks on October 28, 2003 at 5:00 pm

The sign mentioned above is exactly identical to that of the Starlite Drive-In in Watsonville, demolished in the 1980s.

JasonBalch
JasonBalch on March 30, 2006 at 4:49 pm

The aforementioned marquee was removed during the 2005 winter. No trace of this drive-in remains.

jwmovies
jwmovies on December 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Approx. address for this drive-in was 2659 East Gerard Avenue.

maestro109
maestro109 on November 1, 2017 at 10:02 pm

At age 4 or 5 I saw my first movie at the Starlite! They showed the original 101 Dalmatians (1961) sometime around the summer of 1968 or 1969. My parents packed the station wagon with snacks and my sister (2 years my junior) and we proceeded to have the time of our young lives watching Cruella DeVil get her comeuppance at the paws of those cute little puppies. Later we repeated the experience with The Nutty Professor (1963) and the unforgettable Son of Flubber (1963). How cool it was to have seen those comedy classics at a quintessential drive-in like the Starlite?! Of course we “graduated” to more daring fare during our high school years (1978-1982) when our movie ticket stubbs “proved” to our parents we actually went to the drive-in. They probably knew we drank our share of beer and steamed the windows of our cars while “watching” the movies, but they were drive-in veterans, especially my mom who grew up in “American Graffiti-era” Modesto, CA. I tip my cap to all of you who got to experience this time-honored cinematic tradition, and to the great Joe Bob Briggs, who kept us all abreast on the gradual decline of drive-ins all over America.

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