El Rancho I & II Drive-In

Hickey Boulevard and Crown Circle,
South San Francisco, CA 94080

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Redwood Theatres Inc., Robert L. Lippert Theatres Inc.

Previous Names: El Rancho Drive-In

Nearby Theaters

El Rancho I & II Drive-In

This drive-in was located on top of a hill near Hickey Boulevard in South San Francisco district of Colma, to the south of Daly City. What was pretty cool was this was one of the first drive-ins that had FM sound transmission. I had friends who lived up the hill, they could see the movies from their windows and listen to the sound on their radios.

Originally a single screen, it opened May 26, 1949 with Clifton Webb in “Mr Belevedere Goes to College”. It was operated by Redwood-Lippert Theatres and was twinned on December 25, 1974. Closed in the early-1980’s and replaced by a condo-complex.

Contributed by Victor

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

FoxFan on October 17, 2004 at 12:38 pm

This poor DriveIn was constantly “fogged out” and eventually
leased out by its original owner to an independent who could not
afford to keep it going thus resulting in the eventual sale
for condominiums which don’t mind cold weather all year long.

lvmstar on October 4, 2005 at 9:15 am

Wow, I grew up right around the corner in Buri Buri. My parents took me to the El Rancho almost every weekend, I’d pack up my blanket and watch in the back of mom’s 68 Barracuda – I can remember many movies but the scariest one I remember was Jaws, think I was about 8. What great memories…

Doron on November 27, 2006 at 10:10 am

I grew up during the “70’s in the Serramonte area. We could see the movies nightly from our living room windows. I wish I knew then about the FM Radio station! :–)

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on January 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm

New picture… alot of broken links.

Jemimah63 on June 6, 2013 at 11:12 am

The Google map I get for 157 Hickey is the wrong location for the El Rancho. The address shown in the map is for Pacifica. The El Rancho was in Souty City. It was located where the Briarcliffe development is now. Look for Crown Circle—-that is where it was.

Gbarulich on June 16, 2018 at 7:47 am

This does appear to be the Rancho Drive-in in So. San Francisco. The photo is old, I lived in the houses behind the marquee in 1953. That is Conrad Court, what isn’t clear are all the other houses that remember up on the surrounding hills. Winston Manor shopping center is to the left of this theater and we walked to the store by it always as kids. Fond memories.

stevenj on June 16, 2018 at 8:52 am

When I was a kid my dad would sometimes take the “back way” into SF (before the Serra Frwy was built) by using either Junipero Serra Blvd or Skyline Blvd. You could see the screen and parking area from those roads above the drive in. Today the entire area is covered with subdivisions.

rivest266 on August 5, 2018 at 3:40 pm

This opened on May 26th, 1949, Grand opening ad in the photo section.

rivest266 on August 12, 2018 at 4:22 pm

Two screens on December 25th, 1974. No ad found.

PopcornCrow on August 29, 2023 at 5:46 am

When I was a kid, we used to go to this theater often, I loved it. My last visit was in 1977-78 with friends, and it had FM by then.The Spruce Drive-in (SSF), Was also a regular of ours. It had a playground and was next to a lumber company,and after closing became part of the lumber company.

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