For cinephiles from many decades past, fun summer nights mean heading out and driving to the nearest drive-in theater to watch the latest flicks. Allow us to take you back to this popular summer tradition with a selection of nostalgic photos from the LIFE Photo Archives!
It has been 80 years since the first drive-in theater opened in Camden, New Jersey, but the memory of the time when people used to spend their summer nights watching the latest movies still lingers up to the present. The idea of an outdoor cinema where people can drive in and watch movies in the comfort of their cars was the brainchild of Richard Hollingshead Jr., an auto parts store manager in Camden. His slogan for Hollingshead’s drive-in? “The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are.”
Since then, drive-in theaters sprouted around the United States and became a staple summer activity, peaking in the late 1950s and early 1960s. From roughly 4,000 drive-in theaters in the U.S. during its peak, now, there are only close to 400 remaining, with more closing as years go by.
Have you managed to spot and experience watching a movie in any of the 400-ish drive-in theaters still in existence? Tell us about it with a comment below!