San Jose Auto Movie

750 E. Gish Road,
San Jose, CA 95112

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Drive-In, San Jose Drive-In

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San Jose Auto Movie

Located at Gish Road and Oakland Highway 17. This was the first drive-in theatre built in San Jose and opened as the Drive-In on June 16, 1946 with Evelyn Keyes in “A Thousand and One Nights”. By 1949 it had been renamed San Jose Drive-In and was operated by Guy Meek with a 600 car capacity. By 1952 the car capacity was given as 500. By 1953 it was operated by the Gannon Brothers & Gordon Allen. It retained the San Jose Drive-In name until at least 1957.

The San Jose Auto Movie switched to triple features in the mid-1960’s and started showing adult (non-porn) films on a frequent basis in 1967. It showed adult films only on triple bills in 1969 until closure.

Hard-core porn was shown only in the last two years of its existence beginning in 1977.

The drive-in closed in 1979 and an office complex was built on its site.

Contributed by scottfavareille

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

HowieT on December 10, 2003 at 10:42 am

This drive-in was truly the last DISCOUNT TRIPLE BILLER around.
The City of San Jose forced the owners hand and stopped the
Triple X Films and it switched to Triple Features Action/Comedy
shows at Family Carload Prices. The owner eventually sold the
land and yes – its offices now. The old owners family are very
wealthy and wise … first from the porno and then from the land

scottfavareille on January 14, 2004 at 2:31 pm

I did some research today. The drive-in quit showing triple billed hard porn on June 20, 1978. On June 21, 1978, under the new policy, their first show was: “Great Smokey Roadblock” “Death Sport” & “End of the World”. Sometimes a 4th feature was added for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. However, the new policy was a failure and by the time October 1978 rolled around, the drive-in was closed for good.

robertgippy on June 1, 2007 at 12:07 pm

This drive in was a lot of fun. They used to show the old black and white 50’s cutie nudie flicks there. One of movies I didn’t forget was “The Diary of Knockers McCalla”. The Snack Bar had great pizza they made it from scratch. Place was always packed. It showed hardcore pornography during it’s last years, and people would park off of Gish Road, at a field a few blocks away, to see the screen. The San Jose Sheriffs Department was busy arresting the prostitution that lingered there. Finally from pressure from the locals, and from the police, the drive in went legit before closing.

SteveNY on April 2, 2009 at 9:17 am

I also remember the black & white nudie movies they showed in the late 60’s and early 70’s. They were so corny it was laughable!

kencmcintyre on April 2, 2009 at 10:52 am

Entering the address on this site produces aerial views of the drive-in from 1948, 1956 and 1968. By 1980 you can see that the theater has been paved over.
View link

TLSLOEWS on April 26, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Big Brother watching you,Just a joke!

Bobbalt on July 30, 2016 at 8:01 pm

The San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive has rare film. Included is a KRON Channel 4 report from 5/30/1978 on the drive-in and the controversy surrounding its adult films. It can be viewed at

davidcoppock on October 6, 2018 at 3:52 am

Opened on 16/6/1946 with “A thousand and one nights”. 750 cars.

DavidZornig on June 8, 2019 at 7:44 pm

Undated marquee screen grab added via Andrea Thomas‎.

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