Drive-In Movie Theaters

I remember Drive-In Theaters from way back. My sister is 8 years older than I am. When she was 16 I was 8 and mom made her take me with her on dates and that included the Drive-In. Most Drive-Ins charged by the person so guess where I was located? A mile up from the Drive-In I would know the routine…I would climb in the trunk. I remember smelling the old dirty tire and whatever else…I would hear us roll over the gravel and then the car would stop…my sister would let me out.

I would climb in the back seat and start watching. Although I make fun of her for this I actually enjoyed it. It was fun to do as a kid. I was a laid-back kid anyway. I remember the only movie showing one time was an R rated movie. It was called “Revenge of the Cheerleaders” from 1976…I got quite an education on the female anatomy. She would tell me don’t look now… then she and her date would go out and talk to friends parked around. I was of course looking and I never told mom…I knew I would not get to come back if I told her.

There are a few around here and once in a while, we will go see them. No Cheerleaders though.

In 1933, eager motorists park their automobiles on the grounds of Park-In Theaters, the first-ever drive-in movie theater, located on Crescent Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey. Richard Hollingshead opened it up. He thought of it because his mother was to large for theater seats. He charged just 25 cents per car.

The Drive-In didn’t really take off until the in-car speakers were invented by the late 40s. By 1958, the number of drive-ins peaked at 4,063.

Indoor theaters were more practical because they could show a movie 5-6 times a day and not have to worry about the weather or being light so the Drive-In’s started to get B movies (Revenge of the Cheerleaders!) and the fad started to slow down. Also, land value pushed the Drive-In’s out.

Now there are roughly 400 Drive-Ins left in America.

In Nashville, they are building an indoor Drive-In Theater. When it is finished I will check it out. You will not drive in with your car…you will walk in and sit in one of the classic cars they will have ready for you…I’m ready…but no trunks

A rendering of the August Moon Drive-In theater planned


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

24 thoughts on “Drive-In Movie Theaters”

  1. I love the drive-in. As little kids we would wear our pajamas to it. They had a playground equipment way up front and we were allowed to go play on it until the movies started. When older, we used to climb into the tire well of my dad’s old station wagon. There used to be 1 screen, now there are 4. First there were the speakers hung on the window, now you tune in to a channel on the radio for whichever theater you are watching. Our drive-in is still going strong. They were going to close it down and build storage units awhile ago but there was such an outcry they didn’t. I absolutely *love* the idea of the drive-in they are building in Nashville! What a fantastic idea.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The one I went to as a kid has been long closed and replaced with a shopping mall. We do have some around in surrounding counties…like yours one of them has 4 screens. It’s a lot of fun. I miss the speakers for some odd reason but yes the audio is better on the radio.
      I cannot wait til they open that. Picking a classsic car to sit in…sounds great. It is a great idea.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. We do have a few around. They are fun… The new one they are building here in a dome with classic cars looks interesting. I went around 10 years ago

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The problem I had with those are too many distractions. I can’t recall ever seeing a good movie at a drive in.. always people running around- and a lot of people watching… I do remember a Frank Robinson quote- I think it was Frank- “Closeness only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and drive-in’s.”

        Liked by 3 people

      2. But when you are watching the Revenge of the Cheerleaders…it works lol… No I know what you mean. I would not go see a highly anticipated movie at one. A comedy or horror would be fine.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. The movies I saw at drive-ins were as a kid with my parents or in high school with friends. I remember seeing American Hot Wax and Greese at one I think it was a double bill. I wouldn’t say it wasn’t an experience-but as you said its not a place have gone to see Platoon.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, until last month, I could boast that we still had a drive-in theater just down the road. But it abruptly closed, and the property sold. A community group is trying to raise funds to buy it and keep it going. Not sure they’ll be able to accomplish it, but they’ve got a lot of people hoping they do.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Today out of the blue we had a surprise announcement that a deal has been struck, and our drive-in theater has been saved. Pretty cool. I really thought it was too late to save it. It’s great to be proven wrong. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Good memories. Was always a treat for me as a kid in 70s …my brother & I would be in back of station wagon & they’ d usually have a cartoon, then a double feature. I was supposed to watch cartoon then first (usually G movie) then get into sleeping bag for remainder. Was 1 near us & a better 1 maybe 15 miles away called “teepee” because snack bar was shaped like a teepee. Not surprising, it’ s long gone. Couldn’ t pay for those land prices near Toronto I expect. One or 2 left in that city’ s outer hinterlands I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. See that is the way it should have been… That sounds awesome. Not Revenge of the Cheerleaders lol. We have a few in surrounding counties…I hope they finish the one in Nashville by next year.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Someone mentioned above…. “As little kids we would wear our pajamas to it. They had a playground equipment way up front and we were allowed to go play on it until the movies started.”

    Same here! Great memories! My mom would make home-made steak sandwiches and a BIG brown paper bag of home-made popcorn. Parents would give us a few coins to go to the concession stand to buy soda, candy or ice-cream. We were always back to the car and settled in by the time the “dancing hot dog, soda, popcorn” cartoon began!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I never got to go to my town’s drive-in. My parents went to see Star Wars there. By the time I was a teenager, it had shut down. We had a second drive-in out in the county but, it showed X-rated films. Someone burned it down. Heh.

    Liked by 2 people

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