On This Day, June 6th

1. 1933: America’s First Drive-In Movie Theater Opens

Photo: wired

Photo: wired

It was on this date in 1933 that the first drive-in movie theater opened in Camden, New Jersey. It was designed by Richard Hollingshead Jr., whose family owned a massive chemical plant in the area. He had started tests in his driveway with an old 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car and an old white sheet that had been nailed up on a stack of tires. Hollingshead really focused on the proper spacing between vehicles and the sound quality for each car. Using blocks he was able to determine the proper height that the ramps would need to be built in order for each car to have the optimum view. Popularity of the drive-In theater would increase significantly over the next forty¬†years, reaching its peak in the 50’s and 60’s with more than 5,000 theaters across the country. Unfortunately, in today’s world there are said to be less than 500 theaters still in business.


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