The Drive-In Theater History Page

1930.gif 1.71 K

Tuesday June 6, 1933
The first Drive-In Theater opens!
Showing "Wife Beware"

LikeTelevision Embed Movies and TV Shows

DIT02.jpg 18.64 K

The First Drive-In Theater was invented by Richard M. Hollingshead. Hollingshead worked out the details by hanging a sheet for a screen in his backyard. Richard began to experiment in the driveway of his home at 212 Thomas Avenue, New Jersey. Richard mounted a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car, he used it to project onto a screen he had nailed to trees in his backyard. He placed a radio behind the screen for sound, then started his test of his idea. Richard tested sound with the windows up, down and half way. He tested many weather conditions, using his lawn sprinkler he simulated a rainstorm. Richard liked what he saw and heard.

DIT03.jpg 17.16 K

One main problem did arise in his test. That was if cars were parked behind each other, the cars at the rear would not be able to see the whole picture, due to the car in front. This did not stop Richard, he lined up cars in his driveway spacing them at various distances and placing blocks under their front wheels he was able to find the correct spacing and the correct angles to build ramps for the cars front tires to park on. Thus was born the first Patent for the Drive-In Theater.

United States Patent 1,909,537

DIT04.jpg 15.34 K

Next we find Richard at the US Patent Office on August 6, 1932. He is explaining about his invention. On May 16, 1933 he get a patent # of 1,909,537 the first Drive-In Theater patent ever. Later in May of 1950 the patent was declared invalid by the Delaware District Court.

List of Drive-In Theaters Started 1933-1939

  1. Drive-In Theatre: Camden, New Jersey. June 6, 1933
  2. Shankweiler's Auto Park: Orefield, Pennsylvania. April 15, 1934
  3. Drive-In Short Reel Theater: Galveston, Texas. July 5, 1934
  4. Pico: Los Angeles, California. September 9, 1934
  5. Weymouth Drive-In Theatre: Weymouth, Massachusetts. May 6 1936
  6. Starlight Auto Theatre: Akron, Ohio. Summer, 1937
  7. Lynn Open Air Theater: Lynn, Massachusetts. July, 1937
  8. Providence: Providence, Rhode Island. July 21, 1937
  9. Miami Drive-In: Miami, Florida. February 25, 1938
  10. Detroit Drive-In: Detroit, Michigan. June 2, 1938
  11. Cleveland: Cleveland, Ohio. June, 1938
  12. Shrewsbury Drive-In: Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. June, 1938
  13. San-Val: Burbandk, California. June 10, 1938
  14. Merrimack Auto Theatre: Methuen, Massachusetts. Summer, 1938
  15. Valley Stream: Long Island, New York. August 10, 1938
  16. Corpus Christi: Corpus Christi, Texas. March, 1939
  17. Saco Drive-In: Portland, Maine. July 15, 1939
  18. Atlantic Drive-In: Jacksonville, Florida. December 6, 1939

Select a new Time Destination
WHIRL2.GIF 2.54 K 1930.gif 1.71 K 1940.gif 1.56 K 1950.gif 1.40 K 1960.gif 1.50 K
1970.gif 1.34 K 1980.gif 1.31 K 1990.gif 1.48 K 2000.gif 1.22 K

Return to Drive-In Theater Main page.