The Return of the Paramount Drive-In

A vintage screen may make a surprise appearance, in time for summer.

Fans of classic drive-in movie theaters have learned over the last couple of decades a melancholy truth: If a favorite screen or beloved cinema shows up in a headline, the story to follow very often tells of that place's closure.

There are movements to battle time's march against this particular way of viewing movies -- the fairly recent introduction of digital has helped, as have fundraising groups like Project Drive-In -- but a lover of film under a big sky can't help but cringe when another drive-in story rolls around.

Cringe not, drive-in-istas, at the latest news out of outdoor-screen-land: Paramount's vintage drive-in is set for a reemergence.

Yep, the place where the swap meet has been for lo these many years. The lot wasn't always a place to sell and trade used goods, though; The Roadium debuted there back in 1947, which the early days of the drive-in's triumphant era.

The LA Times reports that Glenn Bianchi and his son will re-open the drive-in this spring with digital projectors and audio via FM radio. Swap meet regulars will know the 11-screener Bianchi Theatres at 7770 Rosecrans Avenue in Paramount.

Two mondo screens will dominate the reopened drive-in, a fact sure to please drive-in-ers who recall the pleasure of checking out the film fare on the opposite screen from time to time.

Other drive-ins dot Southern California, with some going for a theme-y feel. The Mission Tiki of Montclair goes for a retro feel, a feel that all drive-ins, looking for their second or third or fourth acts, do well to embrace in part.

Why? Nostalgia is powerful currency, and a movie played on a screen backed by a setting sun has it. Drive-ins everywhere boast nostalgia by the popcorn-bucketful, something many businesses would love to replicate but few can.

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