Camden, NJ

National Drive-In Movie Day

Lefty Graves
Drive-In Movie TheaterRobert Linder/Unsplash

Today is National Drive-In Movie Day. It commemorates the first drive-in movie theater that Richard M. Hollingshead Jr. opened in 1933. Richard lived in Camden, New Jersey, and his first theater had a screen that was 40’X50’ with slots for 400 cars.

Today, drive-in movie theaters are more challenging to find; however, we’ve located a website that you can go to and find the one located nearest to you. For many adults, the drive-in movie theater was a right of passage that we looked forward to.

Parents would pile kids into the car and bring along blankets and lawn chairs so that the family could spread out and enjoy the movie together. The second movie shown was usually when the kids would conk out in the back seat under the warmth of blankets and perhaps a pillow.

The more frugal families would bring their own snacks; however, most outdoor drive-in movie theaters had a concession stand that sported pizza, hot dogs, burgers, fries, nachos, popcorn, and more. Regardless, everyone would vie for the best seat in the car that would allow them to watch the movie in both comfort and warmth.

The sound was piped into the car either via a speaker that was removed from a post and hung on a window, or in later years it was by tuning in to a specific radio station that users would tune their car radio to in order to hear the movie.

Many families would make this a weekend tradition and older teens who were dating looked forward to Friday or Saturday date night so that they could go and park to make out. Of course, more than one parent would spy on their teens in the back row to make sure that the make-out sessions weren’t too intense.

Drive-in movies caught on quickly however, with the dawn of the Internet, Netflix, and other Internet streaming programs the drive-in movie theater quickly became a thing of the past. However, as noted above, there are a small handful of drive-in movie theaters to be found if you do a bit of research.

If you’re in the mood for something fun to do some weekend, why not drive to one of the drive-in theaters near you and enjoy a family movie night? You’re sure to have a great time and enjoy the movie from the comfort of your own car. Celebrate and share on social media with #DriveInMovieDay.


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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming & more. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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