Wednesday, June 3, 2015
National Drive-In Movie Day, an “unofficial” National holiday, honors the opening day of the first drive-in and is annually celebrated on June 6. Richard M. Hollingshead Jr. of Camden, N.J., was the creator of the drive-in theater and his drive-in opened in New Jersey on June 6, 1933.
At this first drive-in theater, the screen was 40 feet by 50 feet and there were 400 car slots. The advertising slogan used was, “The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are.” An Adolphe Meniou film, Wife Beware, was the first film shown. The idea caught on quickly and drive-ins began to pop up in other areas. In the late 1950s there were 4,000 drive-ins across the United States.
Copiague, Long Island, N.Y., was home to one of the largest drive-in theaters. It covered over 29 acres and could park 2,500 vehicles. The drive-in hosted a full service restaurant with roof top seating, a trolley system to take children and adults to the playground and a large indoor theater in case of bad weather.
Dallas has a true rarity in the Motor-Vu Drive-In, now in its 62nd season offering double-feature summer blockbusters on the biggest screen around. Jeff Mexico is the current owner of the Motor-Vu which was built in 1953 by Don and Jeri Wernli on Fir Villa Road.