Did you know that the first drive-in theater opened today in 1933?
I didn’t either until I opened Google and saw their adorable animation (which will only be available until the end of the day, 6/6). Seriously – I get excited when I see the Google page is different.
After plenty of beta-testing at his own home, the first drive-in was opened by Richard Hollingshead in Camden, New Jersey on June 6, 1933. At 25 cents per car and 25 cents per person, the first movie shown was the Adolphe Menjou film Wife Beware. While this theater was only open 3 years, the drive-in phase was ignited everywhere. By 1948, there were 820 drive-in theaters across the U.S.
The 50’s were when the theaters hit their high numbers. And although in the media they were dubbed “passion pits”, it didn’t keep people from coming to the drive-in. By 1958, there were 5,000 theaters open and they were getting bigger in size. The largest, the All-Weather Drive-In in New York, could hold 2,500 cars and had an indoor movie theater for when it rained.
By the end of the 1980’s, due to low attendance and the building of multiplex movie theaters, drive-ins were closing in droves. In 1989, there were 999 theaters still open. While it look dismal for any drive-in during this time….the 1990’s brought a small resurgence of families wanted to come out and see a movie in the comfort of their car. Maybe relive a time when going to the drive-in was a highlight.
In Washington state, there are 10 drive -in theaters open today. I personally can remember going to see a double-feature at a local drive-in with my best friend and our boyfriends. While I don’t remember what the movies were – it was fun to be in the car and watching a movie (or whatever – hey! My parents read this!). If there was one still open close enough to me now, I would definitely take my kids.
Do you have a drive-in theater still open near you? Do you go?
Until next time………