KFSN, Fresno CA’s News Leader, ran a nice little video about this season’s reopening of the Madera Drive In Theatre, one of the few drive-ins to survive over 70 years with three distinct names.
The Madera opened as the El Rio Drive-In in 1948. According to the drive-in’s page at Cinema Treasures, it was purchased by the Gran brothers in 1972. Some time between 1964 and 1977, possibly at the time of the sale, the name changed to the Park Vu Drive-In. Eventually, that name changed to the Madera, but when? This 2003 photo shows a Madera Drive-In sign at the ticket booth, but this 2005 photo still shows a faded Park Vu sign.
Somewhere along the way the drive-in also added a second screen. It might have been when the name changed from the Park Vu to the “Madera 2” that was in the 2003 photo.
Except for the original opening year, none of that was mentioned in this little video, featuring employee Dulce Garcia and a table full of snacks. If someone out there has better name-change details or photos, I’d love to hear about it. Meanwhile, enjoy this slice of life in Madera.