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History of the Drive-In Movie Theater
The story of the drive-in movie theater begins with one man. That man was Richard Milton Hollingshead, Jr., born on February 25, 1900, the “father” of the drive-in.
The drive-in got its humble beginnings in the driveway of Hollingshead’s Riverton, New Jersey home, at 212 Thomas Avenue. This is where his first experimentations took place. Setting a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of the family car, he projected the film onto a screen he had nailed to a tree. He tested the potential hazards of foul weather by turning on his lawn sprinkler to simulate a rainstorm. His home radio sitting behind the screen to provide sound, Hollingshead sat in his car watching and listening. The car windows up or down, sprinkler on or off, he liked what he saw and heard. And with that, the drive-in’s inception was well under way.
Of course there were a great many problems to work out. But once he felt he finally had his major problems solved, Hollingshead landed the financial backing needed for his venture. His major partner was Willie Warren Smith, also o…