Drive-in theater


“A drive-in theater or drive-in cinema is a form of cinema structure consisting of a large outdoor movie screen, a projection booth, a concession stand, and a large parking area for automobiles. Within this enclosed area, customers can view movies from the privacy and comfort of their cars. Some drive-ins have small playgrounds for children and a few picnic tables or benches. The screen can be as simple as a wall that is painted white or it can be a steel truss structure with a complex finish. Originally, the movie’s sound was provided by speakers on the screen and later by individual speakers hung from the window of each car, which were attached to a small pole by a wire. These speaker systems were superseded by the more practical method of microbroadcasting the soundtrack to car radios. … After 1945 rising car ownership and suburban and rural population led to a boom in drive-in theaters, with hundreds being opened each year. More couples were reunited and having children, resulting in the Baby Boom, and more cars were being purchased following the end of wartime fuel rationing. By 1951, the number of drive-in movie theaters in the United States had increased from its 1947 total of 155 to 4,151. The drive-in’s peak popularity came in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly in rural areas, with over 4,000 drive-ins spread across the United States in 1958. They were a cheaper alternative to in-door cinema theaters because not only did they save the gas of driving out to the city and then back home, but the cost of building and maintaining a drive-in theater was cheaper than that of an in-door theater, resulting in lower overall cost of attendance. Among its advantages was the fact that older adults with children could take care of their infant while watching a movie, while youth found drive-ins ideal for a first date. Unlike indoor cinema theaters, there was an air of informality which was appealing to people of all ages, but specifically to families. The drive-in’s success was rooted in its reputation of being a family-friendly place. Parents were able to bring their children to the theater, often in pajamas, without having to worry about bothering other movie-goers, and were also able to spend time together without paying the expenses of babysitters. … During the 1950s, the greater privacy afforded to patrons gave drive-ins a reputation as immoral, and they were labeled ‘passion pits’ in the media. … Some drive-ins held Sunday religious services, or charged a flat price per car on slow nights like Wednesdays or Sundays. On ‘buck’ or ‘bargain’ nights during the 1950s and 1960s, the admission price was one dollar per car. …”
Wikipedia
W – List of drive-in theaters
The Segregated Past of Drive-In Movie Theaters (Guest Column)
Welcome To The Drive-In Theater!
Vanishing Drive-Ins
YouTube: Drive-In Movie Ads : Drive in Intermission 1960’s

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