A peek into my crazy huge collection of L.A. matchbooks: Pacific Drive-In Theaters
Everybody loves the Arclight Cinemas. Who could resist those plush seats, quake-inducing surround sound, and fancy hot dogs? The company behind this masterpiece theater has local roots dating back to World War II and was once L.A.’s largest operator of outdoor cinemas. This matchbook depicts that icon of California car culture: The drive-in movie. The big bathtub car on that original 1940’s era logo was rendered in neon at the early locations. The packed vehicle indicates the old “pay by the carload” pricing, and the “come as you are” slogan speaks to the informality of the drive-in experience. Loud babies, crazy aunts and even yappy dogs were welcome if we use this matchbook as our guide. By 2002, when they opened the first Arclight, Pacific Theaters had sold off all but one of their more than 50 drive-in theaters to mall developers and housing tracts. Against all odds, their Vineland Drive-In in the San Gabriel Valley is still cranking out double features seven nights a week… and kids are free!