c.1982, from Syufy Enterprises collection 10

The Coliseum Drive-In was a drive-in movie theater near I-880, and opened in May 1964. The opening features were "PT 109" with Cliff Robertson, "Spencer's Mountain" with Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara, and "McClintock!" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. 7,8 But the theater's proposed sign and huge screen near the freeway almost sunk the project.

At first, the council expressed concern over the proposed 62-foot tower for the marquee, worried that the signage would be a distraction to drivers. They gave it preliminary approval, but after criticism, reversed their stance and rejected the marquee. A few weeks later, they approved a smaller (but now taller 65-foot tall) sign, but had come to realize the screen itself would be visible from the southbound freeway and would itself be a distraction: "Wait till they see Cleopatra up on that screen." (6,600 Square Feet of Liz Taylor Hazard to Drivers) 4

But the theater did open, and eventually expanded to 4 screens.

It closed in _?_ (before 2007), but the location is still used for a large swap meet. A photo dated 1997 shows a sign for the swap meet Tuesday through Sunday, so it likely closed before that. The West Wind Swap Meet is also owned by Syufy Enterprises which owned the theater.

Links and References

May 22, 1964 opening 8

  1. Coliseum Drive-In on cinematreasures.org
  2. Council Orders Study on Theater Marquee Oakland Tribune April 16, 1964 (p2)
  3. City Bans Freeway Marquee Oakland Tribune April 24, 1964
  4. Coliseum Movie Sign Approved Oakland Tribune May 6, 1964
  5. Look, Drive Movie Ban On Freeway Oakland Tribune May 8, 1964
  6. Screen for Drive-In Movie Hit Oakland Tribune May 13, 1964
  7. Coliseum Drive-In Opens Here Tonight Oakland Tribune May 22, 1964
  8. opening ad Oakland Tribune May 22, 1964
  9. Change in Traffic Code Postponed Oakland Tribune June 10, 1964
  10. Coliseum Drive-In on cinematour.com