Where Was the First Drive-In Theater?

In 1932, a man named Richard Hollingshead set up a screen in front of his garage in Riverton, New Jersey, and sat in his car to watch a movie.

He did this so that he could become the first person to watch a movie from a car, and thereby get a patent on the idea, which would prevent anyone else from using it.

Hollingshead set up the world’s first drive-in theater a short time later in a vacant lot in Camden, New Jersey. The lot had room for 400 cars. But then the government declared that he didn’t have a patent on the idea, and many other people began to set up their own drive-in theaters.

By 1948, there were 820 drive-ins in America, and in 1958, the total had soared to over 4,000. Today, there are about 3,500 drive-ins in the United States.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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