Drive-In Theatres

Everyone remembers drive-in theatres, a few are still even operated across America today. The beginning of drive-in theatres was in Las Crusces, New Mexico on April 23, 1915. The location was an outdoor auditorium with seating for 700 but they also allowed cars to park on the grounds and view the movie “Bags of Gold’ from the seats of the auto.

However, the real start of drive-in theatres was in Camden, New Jersey on June 6, 1933. The owner Richard Hollingshead found that his mother could not get comfortable in traditional theatre seats. So he had her sit in the car and he placed a 1928 movie projector on the hood of the car and tied two sheets to trees in his yard. So successful, he developed the ‘Park-in Theatre’. He even developed a series of ramps so the cars arriving later would be at different heights and could still see the screen. For his new business, he charged 25 cents per person up to a maximum of $1 for a full carload. The first movie he showed was “Wivies Beware”. Others opened similar drive-in theatres but the concept did not boom until car speakers hung in each auto were invented in the 1940s.

By 1958 during the height of this type of theatre there were about 4,063 drive-in theatres across the nation. However, there would be a decline in later years. Traditional indoor theatres could show movies all day whereas drive-ins could only show movies at night. Still that had problems if it was rainy, stormy or snowy, very few came to the drive-in.

The number of drive-ins declined over the decades so by 2021 there were only about 321 drive-ins across the nation. The top four states with drive-ins are New York with 49, Pennsylvania with 45, Ohio and California each with 44 theaters. But with the Covid-19 for 2020 to 2022, those few theatres have done well, allowing families to get outside, see a movie together and be separated from others.

Going with the family to a drive-in theatre would be a good addition to your family history.

Photo: Drive-in Theatre in the 1930s.

Related Blogs:

Fun Our Ancestors Had in the 1880s

Family Home Movies

< Return To Blog My pillow, my blanket, and corn dogs!
Sara N Martin 9/04/22

Those who have never been to the drive-in have missed out for sure.
alice 9/04/22

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.