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Group Description

Welcome to "Movie Theaters & Drive Ins", a place to share photos of old or new movie theaters & drive in theaters anywhere in the world. Exterior, interior, facades or just their marquees & signs, it's welcome here.

Please include the name of the theater in your title if possible, or include it in your tags. Also, we'd like to know the location of it (state/city, etc) in your tags too.

Movie Theatre History:

While the history of the indoor movie theatre is far to complicated and convoluted to present here, here are some interesting facts;

• Vitascope Hall, the nations first dedicated movie theater, opened in New Orleans on June 26, 1896. It sat 400 and charged 10¢. However, Hollywood's first full-length film, The Squaw Man, wasn't released until 1913.
• Popcorn was first served in movie theaters in 1912, so it was actually in theaters before full-length films.
• In the 1920s & 30's, movies cost about a 25 cents, in the '60s about a $1, the '80s, around $4.
• The first air-conditioned movie theater was built in 1922.
• The first shopping mall multiplex was built in 1963. It had two screens and held 700 people.

Drive-In Theatres:

Everyone agrees that the Drive-In Theatre was invented by Richard Hollingshead, Jr. in 1932. (His father owned and operated "Whiz Auto Products Company", and a theatre with cars was a natural tie-in.)

After patenting the idea, the first drive in began construction May 1933 in Pennsauken Township, NJ, with it's packed opening night June 6, 1933. The feature shown was the 1932 release of "Wives Beware," which was in second-run status at the time. Admission was 25 cents per car, and an additional 25 cents per person.

From those humble beginnings, Drive-In theatres continued to grow in popularity and number over the years. The 1950's saw an explosion in construction and numbers. In 1949, there only 155 drive-ins in the USA. By 1951, 820, and by 1957 the total soared to 3700. Some theatres could hold over 2000 cars! 1958 was the zenith of the Drive-In, with estimates being around 4100. From there, however, the numbers started to slide downward.

The 1978-1988 time period was very hard on the industry, with over 1000 screens going dark. Fast forward to today, and the estimated total number of operating Drive-In theatres is now under 400. Some new ones are built occasionally, and some old closed ones reopen, but growth remains esentially flat for the ozoners.

Richard Hollingshead Jr. died at the age of 75 on May 13, 1975 in his home in Villanova PA.


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Additional Info

  • This group will count toward the photo's limit (60 for Pro members, 30 for free members)
  • Accepted content types: Photos, Videos, Images, Art, Screenshots
  • Accepted safety levels: Safe
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