El Rancho 4 Drive-In

555 El Rancho Drive,
Sparks, NV 89431

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El Rancho 4 Drive-In

The El Rancho Drive-In opened August 19, 1950 with Dana Andrews in “My Foolish Heart” & Armand Denis in “Savage Splendour”. Opened as a single-screen drive-in, over the years, it has grown to four screens. There is parking for over 560 cars and FM sound. In 1973 the drive-in was taken overy by Syufy Enterprises, later operated by the Century Theatres chain. The El Rancho also hosts a swap meet.

It is now operated by the West Winds Drive-Ins chain.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

RetroFan
RetroFan on March 7, 2006 at 12:30 pm

After all these years, this is still a fun place to visit! I worried during the mid 80’s the place would close. Still a fun destination on hot summer nights.
The best “Drive-In fare” would play here in the ‘60’s and '70’s. Everything from the “Planet of the Apes” films, horror films, “Swinging Cheerleaders”-type T&A films to the latest blockbusters would play here side by side.
The first film I ever saw, “Jaws”, I saw here in 1975. I visit every summer when I’m in town.
Great place and the projection is good. Nothing but great memories of the El Rancho!

Chris1982
Chris1982 on September 29, 2014 at 12:38 am

According to their website this drive-in is all digital projection.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 1, 2016 at 7:02 pm

August 19th, 1950 grand opening ad in photo section.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 3, 2016 at 7:56 pm

August 15th, 1973 grand opening ad as a 3-screen drive-in in photo section

rivest266
rivest266 on May 3, 2016 at 8:16 pm

July 3rd, 1974 grand opening ad as a 4-plex cinema

NeonMichael
NeonMichael on October 25, 2018 at 12:02 pm

There was a long retrospective article in the Reno Gazette Journal this month. Some highlights:

“Tony Pecetti, a bigger-than-life accordionist and entertainment entrepreneur in town, opened the El Rancho Drive-In on Aug. 19, 1950.” He died in 1969. “In 1973, the Syufy Enterprises, now run by brothers Ray and Joe Syufy of San Rafael, Calif., purchased the drive-in.”

In 1993, it was “scheduled to be torn down and turned into a flea market and indoor theater complex.” No mention of how the El Rancho dodged that one.

“The screens, varying in size, are steel and wood, never replaced since first installment, though three were add-ons through the years.”

It’s currently run by General Manager Diego Maldonado, who lives on-site with his family.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on October 25, 2018 at 4:23 pm

Sparks wouldn’t approve the walk-in theatre on the property, so they worked hard to bring the Century 14 to Victorian Square. Were it not for that, I’m sure the El Rancho property would have been divided similarly to the Capitol Drive-In/16 had been in San Jose, CA

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