Drive-in movies can’t turn off – Berkeley High Jacket

On a Friday night in the 1930s, there was no better activity than watching a movie outdoors with family and friends for just 25 cents a person. Drive-in movies, once a staple weekend activity, have seen a steady decline in popularity and locations in recent years. With the increasing accessibility of streaming platforms such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max, many people are less motivated to find a drive-in. In the Bay Area, it may seem more convenient to stay or go to their local indoor movie theater than to go to a drive-in, especially if the closest one is in Concord.

Although drive-ins may seem old-fashioned, they still fulfill a role that cannot truly be replaced. The first patented outdoor movie experience was called Camden Drive-In, which opened in June 1933 in New Jersey. Founder Richard Hollingshead came up with the idea for his mother, who felt uncomfortable with the small size of cinema seats. Hollingshead then announced that its drive-in was a fun experience for families. By the 1950s, drive-ins were opening across the country after Hollingshead’s patent was revoked. It is estimated that there were over 4,000 drive-ins in the United States. However, according to the United Drive-In Theater Owners Association, in 2021 there are only 318 drive-ins left in the United States, which leaves less than 20 drive-ins. ins in California.

Drive-in theaters provide the patron with a sense of community that people feel when they gather outdoors to share the same cinematic experience. Moreover, they are more relevant than ever, given the conditions due to COVID-19. There is no need for a mask inside a car as there is little or no contact between strangers.

An added benefit of drive-ins is that the customer can drive as many people as they can into their car. Unlike indoor cinemas, there is less limited space in drive-ins because anyone who can fit into the parking lot is allowed to enter. This is especially useful when popular movies have just been released, as they are more likely to sell out in an indoor theater due to limited capacity.

Other irreplaceable aspects of drive-ins are the increased space, the ability to chat without annoying your neighbor, and fewer interruptions, which was what Hollingshead wanted when he invented his invention. Drive-ins are a key part of American entertainment history and need to be restored. While indoor theaters have many benefits, they can never replicate the appeal of being outdoors. Removing drive-ins will reduce opportunities for people to comfortably enjoy movies together. Drive-in theaters are an integral part of history and cannot be forgotten in the modern age.

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