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|Home: BigScreen Journal - Celebrate the 79th Anniversary of the Drive-In by Watching a Movie Under the Stars!|
79 years ago, the first drive-in movie theater, the Camden Drive-In, opened in Camden, New Jersey. Richard Hollingshead opened the new theater after he was awarded a patent for the idea.
According to this article on History.com, the theater was inspired by his mother:
Park-In Theaters--the term "drive-in" came to be widely used only later--was the brainchild of Richard Hollingshead, a movie fan and a sales manager at his father's company, Whiz Auto Products, in Camden. Reportedly inspired by his mother's struggle to sit comfortably in traditional movie theater seats, Hollingshead came up with the idea of an open-air theater where patrons watched movies in the comfort of their own automobiles. He then experimented in the driveway of his own house with different projection and sound techniques, mounting a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car, pinning a screen to some trees, and placing a radio behind the screen for sound. He also tested ways to guard against rain and other inclement weather, and devised the ideal spacing arrangement for a number of cars so that all would have a view of the screen.
Today, we show that there are more than 400 drive-in movie theaters in North America. If you would like to watch a movie under the stars, this anniversary seems like as good an excuse as any to do so!
Just head over to our Nearby Theaters page and select "Drive-Ins" to see where some are near you. You may have to widen your search, as they may be scarce in some areas. If you're curious, you can also do this on the "By Region" page to see all the drive-ins by state.
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