Farewell to Mission Tiki Drive-In

Back when COVID-19 was so rampant, we were scared to leave our homes or cars, LA Weekly explored how auto-centric L.A. adapted, by revisiting the nostalgic experience of the classic drive-in via our cover story, At the Drive-In: Nostalgic Entertainment Experiences Roll Into the Social Distancing Era. The Mission Tiki Drive-in in Montclair topped many Angelenos’ lists as the best place to roll in for a flick, thanks to its cool thematic environment, great snacks, and film selection.

As historian Charles Phoenix shared in the story, the drive-in was built in 1956, but remodeled a little over a decade ago with four screens and a tropical master tiki craft decor that appealed to vintage-loving contingents, car enthusiasts and of course, tiki culture fans and cinephiles.

But according to reports, the Mission Tiki has been in danger for years, especially after the city released a new site plan allowing developers to build on the property. Developments had been postponed due to the pandemic and the drive-in became a hot spot with movie-goers, especially when the Amercian Cinematheque started hosting screening events there. But its closure was only a matter of time.

Yesterday, the beloved movie and swap meet destination unceremoniously said goodbye on Instagram and sorrowful reactions have been flooding in. Whether you grew up going there or only discovered it during lockdown, it’s a loss, and another piece of history that will soon be gone. We’re sorry to see it being driven out. You can say goodbye –or rather aloha– this weekend as the locale hosts its last swap meet.

 

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Read our 2020 cover story here:

At the Drive-In: Nostalgic Entertainment Experiences Roll Into the Social Distancing Era

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