Richard Hollingshead, the inventor of the drive-in movie theater, passed away on this day in 1975. The invention of the drive-in goes as this. Hollingshead mother was supposedly a rather large woman who complained about sitting in uncomfortable movie theater chairs. Hollingshead wanted to make the movie going experience better for his mother so he began to experiment with a 1928 Kodak movie projector and couple of bed sheets nailed between two trees on the family property in Camden, NJ, USA that he could drive a vehicle up to in order to watch. He eventually added ramps and raised the screen so more cars could see. Hollingshead applied for a patent in 1932 and received one on May 16, 1933. Hollingshead recruited three investors who started a movie theater company called Park-It Theaters, Inc. On June 6, 1933 they opened a 400 acre movie theater in Camden that featured a 40 foot by 50 foot screen and three 6 foot tall speakers. Admission cost $0.25 per automobile plus a quarter per person inside with a max rate of $1. The theater was sold in 1935 so that Hollingshead could open a second theater. The technology was eventually licensed to Loews Drive-In Theaters. In 1950, when the idea was soon taking off, Hollingshead’s patent was ruled invalid. So, what’s your drive-in story? PhotosThe first drive in theater in Camden, NJ – 1933An Ohio drive-in by Jack Pearce from Boardman, OH, USA – Elm Road Drive-In Theatre, CC BY 2.0An inflatable drive in theater screen in Brussels, Belgium by Assistant08 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0Richard Hollingshead
At the drive-in!
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