The Drive-In Theater History Page
Drive-In Theaters Hit the high Numbers!!
The drive-in boom was under way. Going from less than 1,000 in 1948 to close to 5,000 by 1958. The drive-in etched it's place in history, not just in the U.S.A. but in many countries across the world. During the same years of 1948 to 1958 over 5,000 indoor theaters closed reducing their number from 17,000 to 12,000.
Not just the # of drive-ins increased, but the size.
They said you can't build one that big!
One of the largest Drive-In Theaters was the All-Weather Drive-In , Copiague, New York. parking spaces for 2,500 cars. It also had an indoor 1,200 seat viewing area, that was heated and air-conditioned, a playground, a cafeteria, a restaurant with full dinners. A shuttle train that took customers from their cars to the various areas, on the 28 acres.
List of theaters by size.
- Troy Drive-In: Detroit, Michigan. 3,000 cars
- Panther Drive-In: Lufkin, Texas. 3,000 cars
- All-Weather Drive-In: Copiague, New York 2,500 cars
- 110 Drive-In Melville, New York. 2,500 cars
- Newark Drive-In: Newark, New Jersey 2,400 cars
- Belair Drive-In, Cicero, Illinois. 2,300 cars
- Timonium Drive-In: Timonium, Maryland 2,479 cars
- Los Altos Drive-In: Long Beach, California 2,150 cars
What was the smallest?
- Harmony Drive-In: Harmony Pennsylvania. 50 cars
- Highway Drive-In: Bamberg, South Carolina. 50 cars
- Ponce DeLeon Drive-In: Ponce DeLeon, Florida. 60 cars
- Twilite Drive-In: Nakina, North Carolina. 60 cars
- Norwood: Norwood, Colorado. 64 cars
More to do at the Drive-In
As the size and number of drive-ins increase, many go from just a playground to:
- Miniature Trains
- Pony Rides
- Boat Rides
- Talent Shows
- Miniature Golf
- Animal Shows
Many theaters would open the gates as much as 3 hours before the movie would start. This allowed customers to bring the kids early. Many theaters began to serve a wide variety of dinners such as Fried Chicken, Bargecued Sandwiches, Hamburgers, Pizza, etc.
A few theater owners even gave the customers the ability to order from their car and have a car hop deliver. To increase sales the intermission trailers were invented. Theaters using these gained increased sales between films.
Select a new Time Destination