Mission Drive-In

5500 Mission Street,
San Francisco, CA 94112

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My family and I attended the grand opening of the Mission Drive-In the late 1940s or very early 50s. Lex Barker and Arlene Dahl appeared on a temporary stage. People honked their auto horns in lieu of clapping. Took dates there in the late 50’s and early 60’s. The Mission was in operation at least into the 70s, but by the mid-80s had been demolished.

Contributed by CB

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

scottfavareille on May 7, 2008 at 2:25 pm

From what I recall, it was still operating in the 1970s as a twin screener & Syufy theaters was operating it then. They showed a lot of AIP product in the late 1960s & early 1970s.

It was gone by the mid-1980s.

jwmovies on October 25, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Your memory is very vague. See Mission D/I in DALY CITY for address. This was never more than 1 screen OR in San Francisco. I went to this when i was a child.

I also worked for Century Theatres around the time this closed. They did not own or lease the theatre. They owned the Geneva on Carter.

CSWalczak on October 26, 2012 at 12:29 am

JWmovies is correct; however, the confusion is understandable and is explained in Jack Tillmany’s book, “Theatres of San Francisco,” p. 88: “The Mission Drive-in’s official address was 5500 Mission Street, but that was only its mailing address, in order to give it a San Francisco identity…the site was atop Guttenburg Street in Daly City.”

Tillmany indicates the Mission Drive-theater opened in 1951 and closed in 1976. It only had one screen; it was the Geneva that eventually had three screens. I will leave it to the moderators to determine which address should be used and how to deal with what is otherwise this duplicate entry.

There was actually only one drive-in that ever existed within the San Francisco city limits; it was called the Terrace Drive-in, located at 451 Allemany Boulevard that had a short life from 1951-1954. I-280 was built over the former site. According to Tillmany, too many foggy nights led to the demise of the Terrace.

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