Mission Tiki To Close In … 2020

UPDATE: Last week, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin columnist David Allen got a call from the Mission Tiki’s owner. Frank Huttinger, vice president of De Anza Land and Leisure, said the site’s buyer told him, “They’re not going to want to come in here until the third quarter of 2020. So we’re going to continue operating the drive-in and swap meet past the summer of 2020.” So the end is still near, but now patrons will have some warm-weather months to have a last look at this 63-year-old institution.

Well this stinks. The folks who own the popular Mission Tiki Drive-in Theatre of Montclair CA were offered too much money to turn down, so they’ve sold the place. To their credit, they’re keeping the Mission Tiki open through the end of the year to give patrons a chance at one last look at this 63-year-old institution.

As I wrote during my virtual visit in 2017, the Mission Tiki opened as the single-screen Mission Drive-In in 1956, when the city was known as Monte Vista. They replaced the original screen with four new ones in 1975. The name changed to the Mission Tiki in 2006 during major refurbishing, including FM transmitters and Technalight projection system. The parking lot was repaved, the ticket booths were remodeled to look like tiki huts, a Maui statue garden was added, and the concession stand was remodeled to match the tiki theme.

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported the sad news yesterday. The buyer plans a technology-focused business park. City Manager Ed Starr said he was surprised by the sale. “They’ve had lots of interest over the years and they never wanted to sell,” he told the Daily Bulletin.

Now I said it was popular, but Frank Huttinger, vice president of the corporation that owned the Mission Tiki, said that beyond a group of core enthusiasts, attendance was down. “The people who know it really love it,” he said. “We don’t get new customers.”

Huttinger said the last night would be around Christmas, depending on studio-dictated minimum showings. “It’s bittersweet,” he said, “but it was time.”

Roadium Reopens After 30 Years As Flea Market

Roadium Drive-In marquee
Photo from the Roadium Facebook page

For the second consecutive summer, the vintage Roadium Drive-In is transforming from an open-air market back to a drive-in on Friday evenings. And for the first time, I noticed it, thanks to a helpful article in the Daily Breeze of Southern California.

The Roadium is a classic single-screen drive-in, opened in May 1949 at the beginning of the first ozoner wave. Housing was sparse in the region at the start, but as so often happened, neighborhoods grew and expanded to the drive-in’s borders by the early 1960s. The Roadium added a flea market years later, including a separate parking area by 1980. Soon enough, the drive-in stopped showing movies and the flea market stayed open every day. Thank goodness they never took down the screen.

Today it’s open again once a week for movies the way they used to be, with the bonus that once a month the In-N-Out food truck is also available there. Admission is just $20 per Carload, and $15 of that goes to charity. For more details, check out Eventbrite.

Video: Sacramento Upgrades Facilities

KXTV, Sacramento’s News Leader, ran a nice story about upgrades at the Sacramento 6 Drive-In, and I just noticed it today. Sorry.

The drive-in is paving its parking lot and has upgraded its bathrooms. The report says that it plans to install a swamp cooler at the concession stand.

West Wind, which owns the Sacramento and a few other multiplex drive-ins, tends to make smart decisions. I hope that this means that the Sacramento 6 will hang around for years to come. Meanwhile, I enjoy any excuse to share drive-in video.