Winchester Drive-In

535 Westchester Drive,
Campbell, CA 95008

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Syufy Enterprises

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Winchester Drive-In

This was a massive drive-in complex located next to Highway 17 in Campbell. It opened as a single screen drive-in on November 23, 1960. Two more screens were added by 1968 and another two screens were added by 1980. It was closed as a 6-screen drive-in in 1984 when Syufy Enterprises shut it down. The site remained abandoned for years until 2000 when the City of Campbell allowed developers to build (yet another) high-tech building campus on the location.

Contributed by Marc Schneider

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

shoeshoe14 on March 17, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Had a capacity for 900 cars.

GaryParks on March 21, 2007 at 3:21 am

I never went to this drive-in, as I lived “over the hill” in Santa Cruz County during its last years of operation, but I do remember seeing its sign looming atop the Highway 17 embankment, both when still functioning and then for a number of years even after the screen towers were demolished.

The sign was two-sided. Above the large reader boards for the multiple screens, the word “Winchester” was written in single-tube neon script, which I think was yellow. Around and below this snaked a long arrow, which carried the word “Theatres” in upper-case type, also in neon. I forget what color. The serpentine arrow itself featured a multitude of red neon v-shaped cross-pieces as its “ribs,” which animated. During the last years of operation, the animation mechanism failed, and so there were alternating little bunches of tubes stuck in either “on” or “off” condition. The paint colors of the sign as best as I can remember were brown, white, red, and possibly yellow.

I never saw the actual entrance of the theatre, so don’t know what sort of signage fronted the street it was on. The above-described sign advertised the theatre to passersby on the Highway 17 freeway.

kencmcintyre on August 28, 2007 at 3:22 am

Capacity in 1963 was 1100 cars, according to the 1963 motion picture almanac. However, these numbers seem suspiciously rounded off in most cases, so I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it. Operator in 1963 was Syufy.

MichaelKilgore on May 29, 2019 at 4:09 pm

BoxOffice reported that the Winchester opened in 1960. It cost $450,000 to build and was owned even then by Syufy Enterprises.

jwmovies on June 27, 2022 at 1:48 pm

Originally a twin in 1960 like the Santa Barbara in Goleta. Additional screens were added: 4 by 1968, 6 by 1980 per Historical Aerials. Same marquee as the Century Domes 21, 22, 23 (RIP) on Winchester near Stevens Creek Blvd. Same domed snack bar as Burlingame, Capitol, Coliseum, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, South Bay Carson, Stadium Orange, Vallejo and mini snack bar at Union City (I worked that one myself in ‘85! MEMORIES! 😩).

dblinn61 on March 24, 2023 at 7:13 pm

The Winchester Drive-in originally opened on November 23, 1960, at Winchester and Camden Blvd. The latter was already set to be replaced by San Tomas Expressway so the drive-in opened on borrowed time. It closed on November 7, 1965, and re-opened 16 months later on March 16, 1967 at its location off McGlincy Lane and Union Avenue. Both locations were just off Highway 17, across the freeway from each other, and both were owned and operated by Syufy Enterprises/Ray Syufy.

The original theater had 1 screen, and at the new location a second screen was not yet built (but was being built) when it re-opened. Within months it was increased to two screens, and by the time it shut down in 1983-84 there were a total of six screens.

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