Erased and Invisible History: Van Nuys Drive-In Theater

     The Van Nuys Drive-In was opened on July 30,1948. It was a great place for families and teenagers to watch movies because they could be enjoyed from the comfort of their cars. With the increased use of automobiles after WWII, and the booming growth of the San Fernando Valley , the drive-in theater was the perfect setting for fun, as it could hold a large number of cars. Aesthetically, the drive-in theater could be recognized through its famous mural of a cowboy gallantly riding a horse and it had a large open space that could hold up to 900 cars. However, as Pacific’s last drive-in theater, its success was later met with failure. Due to shortages of money, the land was sold to make a school, and the drive-in was demolished in the late 1990’s.

     Attending Vista Middle School, I never knew that it had once been home to a lucrative business that attracted many people from the Valley. But, it now makes sense why the school took pride in calling itself  the “Home of the Vaqueros.” Furthermore, I chose to commemorate this part of erased history, not only because the land now houses the school I learned in, but because of its deep sentimental value to my favorite high school teachers.

     Growing up, they and their families watched movies in the Van Nuys Drive-In. My   American literature teacher recalls watching mostly Disney movies as a kid and even watching “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with her husband while they were dating. My calculus teacher mentioned how he used to live near the drive-in, and how he would stay awake at nights to watch movies from his backyard and how he sometimes sneaked into the theater with his friends.

     All in all, commemorating this part of history is to thank them for their part in bettering my future.Their determination and passion to teach was a great factor that motivated me to continue my education. I am thankful to Mrs. Allford for making Shakespeare bearable,and even fun to read (the lit reviews were never fun though), and to Mr. Fernandez for teaching me that partial fractions and derivatives are not difficult to master with due practice.  I hope that commemorating the Van Nuys Drive-In will be a sweet reminder to their childhood pastime.


BTTF#14: Drive-In Theatres of the San Fernando Valley | San Fernando Valley Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2016.“Van Nuys Drive-In.” In Van Nuys, CA. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2016.


One thought on “Erased and Invisible History: Van Nuys Drive-In Theater

  1. Since we are the generation “obsessed with nostalgia”, I like that you chose to bring about something that’s so closely related to 1900s. The drive-in is a place to enjoy a movie with your friends and family without worrying about disturbing others. I’m not surprised that a school was built after the drive-in closed, especially with there not being enough space for kids in classrooms now. However, I’m very surprised that the drive-in closed. I love going to the drive-in and seeing it packed almost every time I go, so it’s shocking that something so relaxing and family-centric failed.


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