Google unveiled a fun animated Doodle Wednesday (June 6) to commemorate the opening of the first drive-in movie theater on June 6, 1933 in Pennsauken, New Jersey by R.M. Hollingshead. That drive-in was only operational for three years, but by then the concept had caught fire and drive-ins began opening all over the country.
In 1941, RCA introduced the personal in-car speakers and the popularity kept increasing, as drive-ins were all the rage in the 1950s and 1960s. But as VCRs came along and the large expanses of property that drive-ins demanded became high-value real estate, the drive-ins began closing all around the country.
According to drive-ins.com, the peak year was 1958, when there were over 4,000 operational drive-in theaters in the U.S. In 2011, according to the United Drive-in Theater Owners Association, there are 366 drive-in theaters currently operational in the country.
We remember our hometown area had three drive-ins when we were little (in fact, we saw “Top Gun” in a drive-in, until we fell asleep because we were pretty little). By the time we hit high school, only one remained, but we would go on weekends in the summer for the triple feature, which didn’t get over til nearly 4 a.m. We distinctly remember one of the third movies shown one year was Shaq’s “Shazam,” so that’s awesome. But that drive-in has closed too, which was so sad. We now live near one that still operates and, coincidentally, we were thinking of going to see “Men in Black III” on Friday at the drive-in.