In the United States, which year did motorists first enjoy a movie at an outdoor, drive-in theater?
People first enjoyed an outdoor movie in 1933 when eager motorists parked their automobile on the grounds of Park-In Theaters, the first-ever drive-in movie theater. It was located on Crescent Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey in the United States.
It was the brainchild of Richard Hollingshead Jr. (1900-1975), a movie fan and a sales manager at his father's company called Wiz Auto Products, also located in Camden. He was inspired by his mother's struggle to sit comfortably in traditional indoor movie theater seats.
Hollinghead came up with the idea of an open-air theater where patrons watched movies in the comfort of their own automobiles. He then experimented in the driveway of his own house with different projection and sound techniques, mounting a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car. Then he pinned a screen to some trees, and placed a radio behind the screen for sound.
He also tested ways to guard against rain and other inclement weather, and devised the ideal spacing arrangement for a number of cars so that all would have a view of the screen. The young entrepreneur received a patent for the concept in May 1933 and opened Park-In Theaters, Inc. less than a month later with an initial investment of $30,000 (2019 = $591,099)
Advertising it as entertainment for the whole family, he changed 25 cents per car and 25 cents per person, with no group paying more than one dollar.
He sold the theater in 1935 and opened another one.