Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Now & Then Views of Corral Drive-In Location
Seco Canyon, Saugus, California

Click image to enlarge

The Corral Drive-In Theatre with movie screen in view, 1963. Photo courtesy of Dave King, whose maternal grandparents, Henry (Hank) and Peggy Ostrom, owned the venue.

Showing roughly the same view in 1987 is the photo below from Mike D. De Anfrasio, who is wearing the Alf costume and walking in front of the teacher at Seco Canyon Elementary School.

Seco Canyon Elemtary was a temporary campus with portable buildings, erected quickly in 1987 by the Saugus Union School District at the corner of Seco and Copper Hill Drive to accomodate the rapid student population growth of the 1980s. In 1989, the permanent James Foster Elementary School opened at 22500 Pamplico Drive to replace it; Seco Canyon closed in 1990.

Beginning in the summer of 1952, Henry L. "Hank" Ostrom and wife Margaret "Peggy" H. Long Ostrom, transplants from North Dakota, managed the American Theatre in Newhall. Lamont Theatres Corp. had been leasing the building from the American Legion. Whether the Ostroms managed the business for Lamont or took over the lease themselves is unclear, but they were soon identified as the owners of the theater business. The lease terms required them to run a Western every week, according to the Ostroms' grandson Ron King, and they occasionally hosted live acts on the stage. (Although the American Legion owned the property, it had not yet become Post 507's clubhouse. Post 507 was lodged in the French Village.)

Both of the Ostroms were active members of the community. Hank was elected to the board of the Newhall Chamber of Commerce, and Peggy was president of the PTA Council for Soledad Township (the Santa Clarita Valley).

The Ostroms ran the American Theatre for five years and left in 1956 to go into competition with it.

Leo T. and Cecelia M. Molitor of Minnesota took over the American on June 1, 1956.

The Ostroms, together with a partner — Louis Wutke, a theater supply store owner from South Los Angeles — developed, owned and, on April 16, 1957, opened the Corral Drive-In on San Francisquito Canyon Road in Seco Canyon. It was designed by D. Arthur Lowe, a civil engineer in Studio City. It included a 35x70-foot screen, spaces for more than 400 cars, a projection booth, offices, restrooms and a concession stand.

The Corral was a seasonal operation. Some years the Ostroms ran it themselves, other years they leased it out to a third-party operator.

The Corral — phone NEwhall 1394 — had a good run for about a decade. It was the Santa Clarita Valley's only drive-in movie theater until May 1966 when the Mustang Drive-In opened at a more central location, 21021 Soledad Canyon Road. By that time the flashy, new Plaza Theatre had opened on Lyons Avenue (August 1965), driving the dated American Theatre out of business. While the Mustang was still under construction, and while Hank and Peggy were in the midst of a divorce after 30 years of marriage, the couple sold the Corral to Seco Canyon residents Leon and Avis M. McGarrah, who reopened it for the 1966 season — its last — on April 22 under the name "Valencia Drive-In." Afterward, Hank Ostrom sold real estate locally.

Three decades later, in July 1998, the Corral Drive-In property would be reborn as the new home of Grace Baptist Church, which moved from Placerita Canyon. San Francisquito Canyon Road having been reconfigured, the new address is 22833 W. Copper Hill Drive.

Nanette Lagasse Gaither remembers (2006): "My family will never forget the first time we went to the [Corral] drive-in after we moved to Saugus in 1964. The drive-in was quite old by then and the screen was leaning or somehow mounted on the mountain slope on the far end of the drive-in. There was a fairly large concession stand. Saugus didn't have many stores and no real entertainment venues back then, and having a drive-in was quite a treat to those of us who moved up from the [San Fernando] Valley."

Corral Drive-In location. The old San Francisquito/Seco Canyon Road alignment is blue. Yellow is the movie screen. Red is the parking lot. Google Maps image 2017. Layout extrapolated from Click to enlarge.

All The Signal except as noted. Click each to enlarge. 7/24/1952.









Van Nuys Valley News 4/18/1967.


HB6302: Images courtesy of Dave King and Mike D. De Anfrasio. Online only.

Grace Baptist Church


1960 Playbill


Popcorn Bag


Interior, Exteriors 1963


1963 & 1987

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