- Audio & Video
Outdoor Inflatable Movie Screen
Do you remember drive-in movie theatres? Many people have great memories of going to the drive-in. Others have only seen it in movies – do you remember the scene from Grease where Danny and Sandy reminisce about their summer together.
If you miss the days of the drive-in, now you can have the magic of a drive-in theatre in the comfort of your own backyard. But first, a brief history of the drive-in theatre: Read on, it’s very interesting and amusing…
A brief history of the drive-in
Richard Hollingshead of Camden, New Jersey loved cars and movies. He longed to come up with a way to combine the two. He experimented in his own driveway by mounting a Kodak projector on the hood of his car. It projected onto a screen that he had mounted with nails to his backyard trees. He used a radio behind the screen for audio.
He tested his “drive-in” over and over for quality of sound, best placement of cars and weather considerations. He actually imitated rain with a lawn sprinkler. He spent several weeks arranging many different configurations of cars to solve the problem if visibility, especially for the cars in the rear. He discovered that the perfect parking arrangement was to space cars at varying distances and to put ramps and blocks under the front wheels of the cars in the rear, furthest away from the screen.
He was issued a patent in 1933 and he then invested $30,000 to open the first ever drive-in. It opened on June 6, 1933 in Camden, New Jersey. He charged $0.25 per car and $0.25 per person.
It was known as “Drive in Theatre”, but the actual name was the “Automobile Movie Theatre.” Opening night proved positive, and the theatre was packed with cars.
The first ever film to be shown at the drive-in was the 1932 release of “Wives Beware”, which was in its second run at the time.
His design of this first drive-in didn’t include the in-car speakers that we all remember today. He contracted with RCA Victor to provide the “directional sound” system, which included speakers that mounted next to the screen. Unfortunately, the sound quality for those cars near the rear of the theatre was poor.
The largest drive-in was in New York and had parking spaces for up to 2,500 cars. It was an all-weather theatre and also had patron seating for 1,200, a playground for kids and a full service restaurant.
The smallest known drive-ins were located in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, each with a maximum capacity of 50 cars.
In 1948, a man named Edward Brown Jr. opened the first theatre for cars and airplanes – imagine that! There was a small landing strip adjacent to the theatre and planes could land there and taxi over to the last row of the theatre where there was enough room for 25 airplanes. It also had a 500 car capacity. This theatre was located in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Now you can enjoy the same big screen magic at home in your own backyard...
I was watching one of my favorite channels recently, HGTV, and saw one of these on a program called Yard Crashers. These lucky homeowners received an incredible redo of their backyard, which included the addition of an inflatable movie screen.
Can you imagine sitting out on your patio or even in your pool on a beautiful day or night watching a movie on a giant inflatable screen? I would love that! If you have teenage kids, your house would be where everyone wants to hang out (that could be good or bad!)
Inflatable movie screens
The inflatable movie screen is perfect for family movie nights, block parties and even romantic evenings. Everyone can see it all on this big screen in your backyard.
It takes only minutes to set it up and it includes everything you need: inflation blower, stakes & tethers, and a bag for storage. It comes in a couple of different sizes: 10' and 12'. These inflatable movie screens provide a perfect flat surface for movie viewing.
Of course, if you’re going to get yourself one of these, you either already have, or will need to get, a projector and speakers. Epson makes the MovieMate, a portable hi-def projector, DVD and music player combo. You can even use it to play video games! It projects DVD movies up to 8 times larger than they would appear on a 40" widescreen TV, and its DVD player enhances standard DVDs so you can view them in true hi def, with 720p resolution. It even has integrated stereo speakers. All you need for set up is an electrical outlet, and maybe a stand to put it on.
Also available is a complete package that includes the inflatable screen, an electrical blower, yard stakes, cinch straps, a projector, DVD player, audio mixer, cables and speakers - everything you need for a perfect backyard movie under the stars experience!