United Flea Markets, whose flagship location is a literal stone’s throw from the 88 Drive-In Theater in Commerce City CO, bought its first drive-in theater this week. According to a story in FleaMarketZone, the new acquisition is the Rubidoux Drive-In Theatre of Riverside CA.
According to that story, which reads a lot like a press release, “With its original 1948 screen tower still standing tall, The Rubidoux is the last of the classic drive-in theaters remaining in Southern California.” That might be a surprise to the Van Buren Drive-In Theatre, also in Riverside, which might think that opening in 1964 makes it old enough to be classic. Not to mention the Mission Tiki (1956) or the Vineland (1955), also in the Los Angeles area, or the Santee (1956) or the South Bay (1958) further south. But I digress.
The fun part about this story is the element of man bites dog. Historically, drive-ins added flea markets to add daytime revenue. Although there’s at least one former drive-in site that’s now only a flea market, this is the first I’ve heard of a flea market company diversifying into drive-in movies.
“Flea markets and swap meets serve as community gathering spaces where people come together and have a good time,” said Rob Sieban, head of United Flea Markets. “What better way to encapsulate that vision than through movie night?” Sounds like fun to me.