Remembering the Drive-In Theater


| June 2006



ODonnell---Drive-in.jpg

OF ANOTHER ERA: People once flocked to drive-in theaters before it was easy to watch movies at home. Now, many theaters like this one are lonely testaments to times gone by.

CAPPER'S Files

The first opened 73 years ago. Folks loved it.

At one time, drive-in theaters could be found across the nation, doing business like gangbusters. How times have changed. Nowadays, they are so few and far between, they should be on an endangered species list.

Back in the 1940s and '50s, however, folks could drive into them at dusk, watch two or three movies, short subjects, previews and commercials for local businesses. If a family was lucky, they got home before dawn.

It wasn't always like that. When the world's first drive-in theater opened on Crescent Boulevard in Camden, N.J., on June 6, 1933, the entire show lasted less than two hours. And there were three shows, at 8, 9:30 and 11 p.m.

'They showed abridged versions of the movies,' said Miriam Favorite, librarian of the Camden Country Historical Society. 'All of the dull or uninteresting parts were omitted so they could have three shows nightly.'

'Wife Beware,' starring Adolph Menjou, was the first film ever shown in a drive-in theater. Each customer paid 25 cents. It was a dollar for a family. By 1933 standards, those were high prices.





mother earth news fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!

LEARN MORE