San Gabriel Valley’s – Vineland Drive-In Theater
by Sal Gomez
May 28, 2014 • 443 views
City of Industry
What remains of the once vast empire of Pacific Theater’s drive-in movie theater chain, the Vineland drive-in stands as a symbol of what was once a classic piece of car culture Americana. Built in 1955 on land located in what is now known as the City of Industry, The Vineland has endured.
And like many others like it the theater was “plexed” into a 4 screen theater when the multiplex boom of the late 1970′s threatened it’s very existence. And although the complex lost it’s original screen tower several years ago due to wood rot and severe weather conditions, the drive-n as kept up with many changes to keep serving it’s patrons a fun family movie going experience.
Seven years ago in response to movies appearing too dark for their screens a large investment in a lamp-house technology called “Technalight”, a process first developed for IMAX theaters greatly increased the brightness and picture quality from the theaters four older film projectors(one is on display in the snack bar). Last year in response to a Hollywood studio mandate to end film stock production for film distribution, Pacific Theaters made the large capital investment in digital projection for all four screens. The resulting on screen image can only be described as WOW!
Juan Gonzalez, the Vineland’s likeable manager has experienced the many changes in drive-in theater film presentations. I asked him a few question regarding his experience working in this world of drive-in movies.
Q. Juan, how long have you worked in the drive-in movie world?
Juan(A)- I have worked in the drive-in industry for 35 years, since June 1979. I started at the Santa Paula Drive-in north of Los Angeles
Q. What kind of questions are you asked by your patrons the most?
Juan(A)- The usual kind but the most frequently asked questions are, “What movies are you showing? Or “Are you open every every day?” (BTW – we are always open)
Q. What has it meant to the Vineland in regards to converting your theaters to digital projectors?
Juan(A)- For the Vineland Drive-in the conversion to digital systems means we are able to provide the greatest movie-going experience to our customers with an enhanced projection presentation under the stars.
Q. What changes in future technology do you see coming to the drive-in theater business?
Juan(A)- I do not foresee any immediate changes in the equipment and the technology that we currently have in place. We are still recovering from the expense and installation to transition to our digital systems but it was worth it. This has been the best change we’ve ever made. We love it but more importantly our guests are delighted with it.
In short, the Vineland Drive-In is open all year long so enjoy it whenever possible. There is nothing like experiencing movies under the stars.
Pacific’s Vineland Drive-In Theater,
443 Vineland Ave, City of Industry, CA 91746