Sunrise Drive-In

8149 Greenback Lane,
Fair Oaks, CA 95628

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Showing 16 comments

davidcoppock on October 6, 2018 at 8:15 am

Opened on 3/7/1963. Site is now houses.

Tim Hale
Tim Hale on January 5, 2014 at 4:00 am

The memories i have of this drive in theater.My farther and brother and i would come to this theater every friday night for years.I must of seen thousands of movies here literally.Breaks my heart that it is gone forever and only exists in photos and in the memeries of those whom would come to see a show there.

kandyggurl916 on December 26, 2012 at 8:43 pm

i really wished i couldve experience all the good things everyone has said about this drive in.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on March 21, 2012 at 1:40 am

Goggle Earth 1993..With all the great coments here, does anybody have any pictures to share?

BJNartker on August 7, 2006 at 12:31 am

This is BJ again. I’m still busily working on the DVD about the Sunrise Drive-In. The recreation of the drive-in in 3D is the real time killer. The walls of the snackbar are up along witht the floor tiles being laid, the screen is up and the street Marque is finished. For those of you my fellow geeks out there interested in the Sunrise Drive-In. if you go to my web site and click on the button that reads “Illustrations” I’ve posted the first rendering of the Marque looking new and lit up on my web site. It looks the way it did on opening night back in July 3, 1963. So if you want a sneak peek go to my web site at:

I’ve decided to take Fred’s opening line and use it as the name for the DVD. “Welcome again Ladys & Gentlemen to the Sunrise Drive-In” Still interestd in hearing from anyone who may have photos, video or old drive-in movie commercials.


BJNartker on July 1, 2006 at 4:33 am

This is BJ Nartker Again. It’s June 20, 2006. – I’m in the process of creating a DVD about the Sunrise Drive-In. I’ve just completed interviews with Fred Gabrial and June Cranor – the owners and operators of the Sunrise Drive-In. I have old video, photos and artwork of the Sunrise Drive-In. I’m in the middle of recreating the entire Sunrise Drive-In with a 3D program. (The Sunrise Drive-In is Rising like, the Phoenix, from the ashes!) You will see the Sunrise in it’s glory days! The Marque will be new and lit once again! I also have old video footage of a few of the other old drive-ins from the Sacramento area. The Highlander, Thunderbird, Westerner and even a bit of the Eldorado Drive-In from Eldorado will be on the DVD. Most of the old footage is not the best of quality as it was taken twenty plus years ago with home video equipment. Hopefully the quality of some of the footage won’t diminish the pleasure of seeing the Sunrise once more.

I would still like to get some good footage of the scenes from “Hunter’s Moon” If that person could get back to me again I would appreciate it. I would love to include those snipits on the DVD. I would also like to make an appeal to those of you out there who may have either footage of the drive-in and old Drive-In commercials, photos, or other. If you do please contact me.

This is a labor of love for me and certainly not a money making project. But if you have contibutions you’d like to let me use, I would certainly appreciate it and be happy to send you a copy of the finished DVD as a momento and souvenier of The Wonderful Sunrise Drive-In. You can contact me at or – 360-910-2694. Email is sometimes a faster way to reach me.

JasonBalch on May 13, 2006 at 2:12 pm

The Marquee was removed yesterday. The land has been regraded, and it appears that development will begin soon on the former Drive-in site.

kencmcintyre on January 27, 2006 at 12:32 am

The theater opened in 1963 and had a capacity for 1258 cars.

elfreunder on September 3, 2005 at 7:38 pm

Hi BJ, I loved your post. I thought my friends and I were the only ones that still tried to copy the old Sunrise Drive in annoucements and over those old/classic speakers! We still try to copy Fred’s Classic voice to this very day. Anybody who went to Sunrise Drive In, would know that great and unforgetable voice.

From about 1972 to 1980, we spent a lot of time there. Winter or Summer, we loved it. After getting out of college, we still went there, but not as much. Remember the old dusk till dawn days? I believe it was 4 movies? I had a dead battery there one night (winter and raining) and there was only 1 other car left! Or the time there was a fire (next door) on the 4th of July and Fred had to stop the movie because it was too bright to see the film. We all went over and watched them put out the fire, and then went back to the cars! The bathrooms were a bit small, but unforgetable. I remember finding someone sleeping in a stall one night. Man, some great times at Sunrise. I was able to take our daughter there before it closed.

But the greatest moment came when (about 1 year before it closed) we talked to Fred for about 5 minutes. My friends and I were first in-line and it was not open yet. We got out of the car and shook his hand, and told Fred how much we loved Sunrise and that he was somewhat of a legend with his voice. He smiled and kind of laughed, and said thanks. Over the years, that was something that never did change, the classic voice.

I would be super interesting in a DVD that had anything to do with Sunrise Drive in.

  • Eric
BJNartker on June 8, 2005 at 5:48 am

Fred gave me a copy of the film mentioned above “Hunter’s Moon” I believe that was the one. I lost it during one of our moves. If the person who made “Hunter’s Moon ” could contact me about getting another copy of the movie, I would appreciate it. Call me at my number 360-891-5511 and ask for BJ. Or contact me through my website at

I used to live in Orangevale, which is right next to the Sunrise Drive-In. My folks took us to the opening night of the Sunrise Drive-In which was July 3, 1963. I believe the movie playing that night was ‘The White Stallions.“ They had sky divers and Ping-Pong balls falling from the sky that day. I believe there were give aways with certain Ping-Pong balls found.

As I grew up I became friends with the owners Fred & June. I’m an artist by trade and did a painting of the Sunrise Drive-In. I gave it to Fred and June in exchange for a life-time pass to the Drive-In. They threw in free drinks, popcorn and half off on everything else as part of the trade. It was a lot of fun, especially if we were low on cash. My wife and I could always count on
going to the Sunrise Drive-In for a date.

We took our children to the Sunrise Drive-In. They loved it! We even celebrated my oldest daughter’s 16th birthday there. Fred and June made great pizza!

I have lots of pictures and video of Fred, June and the Sunrise Drive-In. I even have a sound recording that my wife made of Fred doing his announcements over the old speakers along with the commercials they used to play. She made the recording back in 1975. One of these days I may make all of these items available on DVD if there is enough interest.

Fred and June I love you guys! Fourty years is quite a run! Thanks for all of the great memories!!!

teecee on April 26, 2005 at 6:37 pm

Actually, here is the link to the photo gallery:
View link

This theater is shown in photos 127-145

teecee on April 26, 2005 at 6:35 pm

Photo of the drive in sign (“X” out of the print menu to view):
View link

Fish on January 26, 2005 at 5:22 am

Sadly, the Sunrise Drive-In was demolished a few months ago. I shot a short film in the Sacramento area about 10 years ago, called “Hunter’s Moon”. Sunrise Drive-In was a primary location. We shot it inside and out. I think my film is the only project that was ever shot there.
The Sunrise Drive-In lives on in “Hunter’s Moon” and in our memories.

Rally around your local theaters, folks! Let’s try to stop this from happening again and again! We’ve got to preserve the past, before it’s gone forever. Get involved in City Council meetings and tell your elected officials that you want to preserve historical theaters for future generations. And do it now!

scottfavareille on September 1, 2004 at 8:38 pm

Sacramento had a number of drive-ins at one point. Syufy had the Sacramento 6 and the 49er Drive-in, UA had the Southgate(which had both indoor and outdoor screens) and the Westlane(which ended its career as a XXX drive-in for almost a decade), and there were several independent drive-ins.

JasonBalch on August 31, 2004 at 9:36 pm

The Sunrise Drive In has closed permanently, and is slated for demolition. Local civic leaders are revoking the commercial use permit to operate a Drive-in at this site, due to the owner’s inability to conform to safety codes for the property and structures. This closure, soon to be followed by the closure of the Sacramento 6 Drive-in, marks the end of operational Drive-ins in the Sacramento Area. R.I.P., Sunrise Drive-in.

William on March 29, 2004 at 10:08 pm

The Sunrise Drive-In had a car capacity of 1000 cars.