Drive In Movie Theaters - Is There A Drive In Movie Theater Near You

Stars And Stripes Drive In Movie Theater Near Lubbock Texas.
Stars And Stripes Drive In Movie Theater Near Lubbock Texas.
A Snack Bar Advertisement that was often shown at the drive in theater.
A Snack Bar Advertisement that was often shown at the drive in theater.

Some Fun Facts And Other Information About Drive In Movie Theaters

In 2012 a careful search revealed that there are now 368 drive in movie theaters left in the United States and new ones still do open from time to time. You'll now find drive in movie theaters in other countries as well including Spain, Brazil, and Australia. In some places including many locations in the United States drive in movie theaters appear to be making come back.

Buck Nights

In the 1950s and 60's buck night was when the drive in movie theater charged a dollar per car for admission. This was usually done on slow nights like Wednesday night.

The Largest Drive In Movie Theater Ever

The largest drive in movie theater ever was on Long Island New York. It covered almost 30 acres and it had parking for 2500 cars. And yes at one point in time it was full every night.

Attention Grabbing Gimmicks

At the height of their popularity drive in movie theaters did all kinds of things to boost attendance. Some had petting zoo's, some had live actors show up that were in the movie being shown, and some had a big cage of monkeys. Some offered free soft drinks during the first hour each night and all kinds of other tricks to try to pack their drive in theater full of cars and people.

Diving Pigs

I know our local drive in theater once had performing pigs that would climb up a ladder and dive about twenty five feet into a large pool of water.

Going To The Drive In Movie Theater

As a small child growing up in rural North Carolina going to the drive in movie theater was a big deal. I remember we would do chores for neighbors during the summer months to come up with money for the drive in movie theater. As well as I can remember the first movie I ever saw at a drive in theater was " The Misfits " in 1961 with Marilyn Monroe and Clark Cable. It was the last film either of them would finish. I don't remember a lot about that movie but I remember my Mom and her friends talking about it.

I remember my dad had a big woody station wagon and when we went to the drive in movie theater they would fill the car with us kids and often our cousins and their mothers. The earliest price I remember was in about 1961 and I remember the drive in theater charged three dollars per car. Today that same drive in movie theater charges seven dollars per vehicle. And the same family is still running that drive in movie theater that was running it in 1961. I don't get to go to the drive in theater as often today but I still enjoy going. I love going to the refreshment stand for foot long hotdogs and big tubs of hot buttered popcorn.

I remember the adults stayed in the car and all the kids would set on a blanket that was put down carefully in front of the car. Now those were the days.

I remember back in 1961 there were about eight drive in theaters in the two county area around us. Today there are two left. In this area they usually open in early April and they stay open until Halloween. My favorite drive in movie theater has always shown Halloween movies for free on Halloween night. We used to go trick or treating in the early evening and then we would go watch the last movie they were showing that evening. After that the drive in movie theater would be closed until April. One of my favorite things was they always sold red candy apples on Halloween night.

When we first started going to the drive in movie theater they had speakers that you hung up on your car window so you could hear the sound for the movie. Later on they switched to transmitting the sound over the car radio.

Did you go to the drive in movie theater as a child. What do you remember about it. Why not tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Ozowners: A Drive-In Movie Trailer

Bass Hill Drive In Movie Theater In Sydney Australia.
Bass Hill Drive In Movie Theater In Sydney Australia.

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Where was the first drive in movie theater?

That very first drive in movie theater was in Hollingshead's Drive In Movie Theater on Admiral Wilson Boulevard in Pennsauken New Jersey a short distance from Cooper River Park. That first drive in theater had room for 400 cars and it had a 40 by 50 foot movie screen. It opened on June 6th 1933. That drive in movie theater only operated for two years but by that time the concept had caught on and before long there were drive in movie theaters all over the United States.

Do you know there were once 5000 or more drive in movie theaters?

At the peak of the popularity of the drive in movie theaters there were 5000 plus drive in movie theaters in the United States. This was during the 1950s through the 1960s. Among the advantages advertised was the fact that you could take your baby to the drive in movie theater and keep a eye on the baby while you watched the movie. Before long drive in movie theaters became a popular date spot for teenagers.

After the second world war ended the drive in movie theaters were full of families with children. It was at this time that a lot of drive in movie theaters put in large playgrounds and even special viewing areas just for kids. These usually included play areas, speakers with the sound from the movies and some even had sleeping benches for the younger kids.

After the 1960s the popularity of drive in movie theaters went down.

By the mid 1960s the popularity of drive in movie theaters was going down and some started showing adult movies. The amount of land needed for a drive in movie theater also caused many theaters to close because the land was needed for other purposes. But by the year 2000 the drive in movie theaters were becoming popular again with families as they provided cheap entertainment and a place for families to go where the whole family was welcome. A few new drive in movie theaters have been built recently. Today you'll find some drive in movie theaters once again doing all kinds of things to get people interested once again in the drive in movie theater. Today some are even offering on premise gyms and free internet access for your lap top or tablet. I even know of one that now offers curb service letting you stay in the vehicle while your foot long hotdogs, soft drinks, and popcorn are brought to you.

Today's drive in movie theaters have many improvements.

And in today's drive in movie theaters there have been many improvements. You can now get a text telling you what the new movies coming to the drive in theater are. And in most drive in movie theaters the sound now comes over your vehicles radio rather than over those scratchy sounding speakers that hung on your vehicles window. Our local drive in theater has added a nice large children's playground recently and a on premise internet cafe complete with coffee drinks. Unfortunately you still have to remember where the car is when you go to the bathroom.

What was the first T.V. show that showed a drive in movie theater every week?

In case you don't remember the first TV show that showed a drive in theater in every episode actually was the Flintstones. Remember Fred's car always turned over.

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Please Post Your Comments About Drive In Movie Theaters Now. Thanks For Reading. 22 comments

Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Great memories, my first date we went to a drive in, in a suburb of Chicago, It was a treat for my brothers, I was really to young and Mom made my date take my brothers along. The only thing I remember was it was a comedy.

Before that my family went in California to the drive in at least once a month.

Great hub - Thanks for the memories!


mts1098 profile image

mts1098 3 years ago from InsideTheManCave

Great memories and a great time...I also remember the speakers that hung from the car windows and we actually found one in PA that where we brought the kids to watch their first drive-in movie...great hub idea...cheers and sharing


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 3 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

Thanks for the heart felt comment. I think a lot of us remember the drive in movie theater and all the fun and memories we had there.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

I sure miss going to the drive-in movie! I only went with my parents once, that I can remember, but as a teen-ager, several of us would get together and go. From time to time, we would sneak someone in inside the trunk of the car. ( I know, not a wise thing to do.) I have said before, that if I had the money, I would open a new drive in movie in my town. Come on HubPages, make me rich, so I can! (Yeah, right!) I love this hub, some many memories! Voted up and awesome! :)


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 3 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

Thanks the comment. It is appreciated.


SpeakUpStandOut profile image

SpeakUpStandOut 3 years ago from Southern California

There used to be a drive in theatre near my house, my siblings and I would sit on the roof of our house and watch the movies. There are several operational drive in theatres in Southern California and I go every chance I get. It's such a fun experience.


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 3 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

etower036 thanks very much. I do appreciate the kind words and comment.

kittythedreamer thanks much for your comment to. I lived for a while in Tampa at one point in my life.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether

There is still a drive-in theater in Tampa, FL...my hubby and I went there on a date about 6 years ago and saw 300...it was a lot of fun! I wish there were more drive-ins.


etower036 profile image

etower036 3 years ago from Helana

Your welcome, I loved your hub.


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 3 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

I remember the last drive in movie theater you were talking about. I used to drive thru there all the time going to Seattle. I hate to fly. And thanks for the comment.


etower036 profile image

etower036 3 years ago from Helana

back in the early 80's there used to be 2 drive in theaters here in Helena. One was the Skyhigh drive in, and the other Sunset drivein. Both of these theaters did a great job at entertaining a mass of people because you could fit 200 cars in one and about 250 in the other. We used to go to a fast food joint, pick up dinner, and then go to the theater till they change the rules that put a stop to that. (forcing people to buy the over dried burgers and week old pizza in the snack shop. Course heck this is America, and they couldn't search your car, So we would just hide the food in the glove compartment. LOL We also would have fold out chairs so that we could sit outside the car to watch a movie. (that was a blast.)

I recall one time that my buddies and I went there and during a boring part of a movie, we sat there playing truth or dare. (enough said...)

in the mid 80's about 84, one theater was torn down and a discount grocery warehouse was built in its place, and a gas station across the road. which also opened up land for a McD's and other businesses to open. Then in the 90's the remaining theater tried to update the drive in by making a wireless speaker system so people could listen to the movie without having the speakers hanging on their window, and it would be in sterio. However, this backfired on them when people then could tune in around town and listen to the movies, and if you parked your car across the street, you could also watch the movie and listen to the movie for free. Totally destroying their profits. So the property was bought by Walmart, and the last drive in was taken out.

Helena has seen many a changes in the 30+ years I've lived here, and it is changing every day. What used to be called "Small town" its now considered "The metropolis of the rockies." Progress phfffffffffffffffffffffffffff!


JohnM profile image

JohnM 3 years ago from Miami Florida

I used to go to the drive in theater back in Illinois all the time but it's gone now. It's really sad that a lot of Americans will never get to experience going to the drive in theater. The pop corn was also a big favorite of mine. CHG you come up with some of the most interesting topics. Great work here mate.


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 3 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

I hate to see them close down because they are part of our history. Thanks for the comment.


agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 3 years ago from Indonesia

There was one in my city, but since it couldn't stand competition against indoor theaters then it went bankrupt.


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 3 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

Thanks for the comments. They are appreciated.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Great hub, all the drive-in near where i live are all no longer around. Thanks for the memories !


twilanelson profile image

twilanelson 3 years ago from Carmichael, California

Fantastic Hub full of interesting history and fun memorabilia. Thank you.


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 3 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

Wouldn't that be nice. Thanks for the comment mate.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Glad to hear that the drive-in is making a come back. I'm glad to hear that history is repeating itself. Maybe the carefree life of the '50's will come back, too...


crazyhorsesghost profile image

crazyhorsesghost 3 years ago from East Coast , United States Author

Your both very welcome. And thanks for your comments. They are appreciated.


moneyfairy profile image

moneyfairy 3 years ago

Wow what a great nostalgic hub. I haven't thought about drive in theaters since I was a kid. I remember for at least 3 summer in a row for my birthday we would watch herbie and the love bug and bring our sleeping bags and lay on the top of my dad's vw bus and watch anything herbie that came out . I just loved it and the speakers were on my dad's window so we could hear everything it was great fun. I'll have to check out places here to see if there are any that exist :) than ks for bringing up fun memories!!!


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

A trip down memory lane. I have not seen a drive in for years. Thanks for sharing all of this...For many of this..brings back a lot of memories.

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