Moviegoers are enjoying something their parents and grandparents loved: Drive-in theaters. First opened in the United States in the 1930s and enjoying popularity through the early 1960s — especially in the 1950s — drive-in theaters are experiencing sold-out crowds. The new experience does not include the iconic speakers on poles for the movie’s soundtrack. Instead, movie-goers either tune their car radio to a specific station (potentially draining batteries) or bring a portable radio and use that. The poles are still there as parking guides. Some advice: Crack all your windows so your car won’t steam up. And with open windows comes nightly chills. Bring blankets! With the drive-in resurgence comes nostalgia for the experience. You can find many vintage paper collectibles that were handed out at drive-ins. Or look for the modern-looking vintage speakers —both restored and unrestored.  New speakers are being made today from the original molds. 

drive-in movie theater speaker

Working Cascade projected sound drive-in movie speaker, $45.
Photo:, detroit_diecast_llc

Restored Silver Simplex drive-in movie speaker junction box with blue dome, 1950s, $98.

matchbook cover from drive-in movie theater

Vintage matchbook cover, StarLite Drive In Theatre, Rapid City, S.D., unused, $5.
Photo:, jwil72556

menu from drive-in movie theater

Menu, “131” Drive-In Theatre, U.S. 131 in Plainwell, Michigan, $19.99.
Photo:, austins-attic





4 responses to “Drive-In Theaters No Longer Just a Nostalgic Experience!   ”

  1. abrakadebra says:

    If you turn the key the right way, you won`t run the battery down.

  2. Alixzzz says:

    My parents took me to see A Hard Day’s Night with the Beatles at the Drive In. That would have been in 1964. My father didn’t want to hear all the other kids screaming and not be able to hear the film. He was probably right. I went to the Drive In a lot on dates back in the day. I scandalized my son by telling him I had gone to see a lot of movies but really didn’t remember most of them. Ah the good old days. Today there is so much said about “date night”. In my world Saturday night was Drive In movie date night. We went every week.

  3. joe0315 says:

    My first date was at a drive-in in NJ in 1958 in my 1953 Mercury. Great memories!

  4. pamfern says:

    I remember going to the drive-ins and during intermission would play on the swing sets and slides that were under the big screen. Does anyone else remember those days?

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