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Richard Hollingshead and the First Drive-In Theater

Drive-In Planes

In 1948, a drive-in theatre named ‘Drive-In and Fly-In’ opened in New Jersey with a capacity for 500 cars and 25 small planes.

It included an airfield for the landing and subsequent departure of the planes coming to watch a movie.

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Richard Hollingshead and the First Drive-In Theater

Richard Hollingshead and the First Drive-In Theater

https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-drive-in-theaters-4079038

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Key Ideas

Drive-In Theaters

The first Drive-In Theater was opened on June 6, 1933, by Richard Hollingshead, who was a car and movies enthusiast. This was located in Camden, New Jersey and cost 25 cents per person, plus 25 cents for the car.

He ironed out the technical challenges, perfecting the parking, sound and screen arrangements for a decent movie experience for people sitting in their own cars. The initial investment in this novelty entertainment option was $30,000.

Drive-In Theaters: Evolution of Sound

The sound quality was an issue in the early days, with the sound system producing low voice for the cars on the back, and too much noise for the neighbours.

This early technology was called ‘directional sound’ and was replaced by the in-car speakers later.

The Largest Drive-In Theatre

The largest drive-in theatre was in Copiague, New York, known as the All-Weather Drive-In.

It had space for 2,500 cars plus an indoor viewing area of 1,200 seats along with a kid’s playground, shuttle trains and a restaurant.

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