US Med Voice

US Med


Vol. 4, No. 6 | June 2012




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Drive-In Movies Making a Comeback
Outdoor Movie Theatres are Fun, Inexpensive


US MED Gives BackOn June 6, 1933, 79 years ago, the first outdoor movie theater was constructed by Richard Hollingshead. He hung a bed sheet between two backyard trees, mounted a 1928 Kodak projector on his car hood, and used a radio behind his homemade screen for sound. He charged 25-cents per carload of attendees and put concrete slabs under the front wheels so everyone had an unblocked view.


Hollingshead patented his invention and, soon, individuals and families throughout the nation were hooked on this form of dating and entertainment. By 1958, there were over 4,000 drive-in theaters in operation.

The All-Weather Drive-In of Copiague, N.Y., was the largest drive-in. It had space for 2,500 cars, a 1,200-seat indoor theater, kids' playground and a full-service restaurant. The two smallest drive-ins held just 50 cars.

In 1948, Ed Brown opened the first combination drive-in, fly-in theater in Asbury Park, N.Y. It could hold 500 cars and 25 airplanes, which taxied to the last row.

What happened to the drive-ins? New entertainment options, like television and multiplex theaters drove down attendance. Land values increased, towns and cities expanded into the areas surrounding them, and the aging original owners sold to developers.

Nostalgia for the simpler, more inexpensive, and fun ways of the "old days" has spurred a revitalized interest in drive-in theaters. Since the late 1990s, new ones are being built and others are reopening.

Once you have enjoyed a big-screen movie while sitting under the stars, you may never want to return to a crowded indoor theater. You can bring your own popcorn and drinks, laugh and chat without interference, kiss, and you won't have to walk to your car when the movie's over.

Free Cookbook!



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