Torrance Drive-In

5501 Torrance Boulevard,
Torrance, CA 90503

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kencmcintyre on November 14, 2009 at 9:54 am

Here is a June 26, 1955 item from the LA Times:

The new Torrance Drive-In Theater, another link in the fast-growing Aladdin chain, will open Wednesday. The opening screen attractions are Jane Russell and Jeff Chandler in “Fox Fire” and Rod Cameron in his latest full length film “Double Jeoaprdy”, costarring Gale Robbins.

Officials of Aladdin, civic leaders and others are expected to attend the opening event. Fred Chancia is resident general manager.

Clearlight on April 20, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Correction: My wife and I were married on 12/31/87 so the Torrance Drive-In would have closed the first half of 1988. Sorry for any confusion.

Clearlight on April 20, 2008 at 4:02 pm

After being married on 12/31/81 the first place that my wife and I lived was in the Margarita Townhouse apartments which are around the corner from where the Torrance Drive-In was located. From our bedroom window we could see the films being screened but, alas, the drive-in was closed soon after to make way for the gated community that occupies the land today. This would have been sometime in the first half of 1982. Our daughter now goes to Bishop Montgomery High School and just about every time I pick her up from school I think about the old drive-in.

kencmcintyre on February 21, 2008 at 4:48 pm

A couple of classics from September 1973, per the LA Times. Rev up the Pinto, Ma:

kencmcintyre on September 10, 2007 at 9:00 am

The LA Library website has an archive of past LA Times articles dating back to 1881. You need a library card to access the archives, however.

stevebopp on September 9, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Where did you find the newspaper listing, Ken?

kencmcintyre on September 9, 2007 at 9:10 pm

Here is a January 1958 ad from the LA Times:

Schrader on February 13, 2007 at 9:10 am

That’s a great item, ken mc! Does the paper show what was playing that night?

kencmcintyre on February 12, 2007 at 2:36 pm

Paging Richard Kimble:

One-Armed Man Helps Subdue Bandit

4/17/56 – A Torrance theater manager and his one-armed assistant subdued an armed bandit with his own gun Monday afternoon after they had been tied with bailing wire and then released with orders to open another safe. Just after being untied, Fred Chancia, manager of the Torrance Drive-in Theater, 5503 W. Torrance Blvd., slugged the bandit on the head with an electric heater. Then one-armed Leonard Cicorio, a maintenance man at the theater, grabbed the robber’s gun and fired five shots, all misses. But it took another 20 minutes of scuffling to subdue the man.

Booked at the Lennox Sheriffs station on suspicion of armed robbery was Louis Baca, 32. Deputies said he could have escaped safely with $700 but his greed got him in trouble. After walking into the theater office and producing a .32 caliber revolver, Baca tied up Chancia and Cicorio, deputies said, after forcing the manager to open the safe. Baca calmly removed more than $700 from the safe, counted it and put it in two cloth bags. Then he became convinced there was a second safe in another roomâ€"and untied both victims, so they could lead him to it. That’s when Chancia and Cicorio turned the tables on Baca, deputies said.

dennis906 on April 4, 2006 at 8:53 am

I saw some Elvis Presley films there in the mid 60’s. Bishop Montgomery High was located across the street.

Schrader on November 8, 2005 at 7:53 pm

Thanks for the great pictures, ken mc!

Manwithnoname on March 23, 2005 at 6:34 pm

This theater opened in 1955.

Schrader on December 29, 2004 at 5:20 pm

What I miss most about the Torrance Drive-In is the music you heard on your window-speaker while you waited for the movie to start. Also the trees as the sun went down. Also The Swinging Cheerleaders.

Also there was a children’s play-area in front of the screen. During 1941 (the movie) a friend and I took places at the edge of the play area, and every time there was a forward-tracking shot in the movie, we’d run toward the screen. Anyone who hasn’t done this should try it, if there are any drive-ins left to try it at. You feel like you’re running super fast and you barely keep your balance. 1941 on laserdisc was a real disappointment after that.