The Drive-In Movies Turn 90 Years Old!
June 6, 2023, is National Drive-In Day and a very special birthday as it is the 90th anniversary of the FIRST drive-in movie showing! 90 years ago at the Camden Drive-In in Camden, New Jersey Richard Hollingshead first publicly displayed a talking picture you could watch from the comfort of your own car. Just a few short weeks prior he had received a US patent for the drive-in theater, and after a $30,000 investment he was showing his first outdoor movie – 1932’s “Wives Beware”. Admission was .25 cents for the car and .25 cents per person in the car. Unlike the drive-ins of later using “In-A-Car” speakers mounted to a pole by each car or the more modern FM transmitters to your car radio, Mr. Hollingshead’s theater basically used a PA system to broadcast the sound throughout the field.
Unfortunately for Mr. Hollingshead (but probably pretty good for the rest of us), his patent was overturned 16 years later in 1949 and the drive-in movie industry exploded across the United States with over 5,000 theaters scattered the country by the 1950s-60s!
If you’re on my page reading this you probably have fond memories of the drive-in theater and maybe you still attend one near you. If not, check and see if you have a local theater still and support them so the drive-in can keep having birthdays to celebrate!