The drive-in theater
is a form of cinema
structure (or rather, lack thereof), the first of which opened in 1933
. It consists of, quite simply, a large field, a projection booth and a large, whitewashed wall. It allows the audience to "drive-into" the theater, and view the featuress
from the comfort and privacy of one's own car. Audio, originally, was provided by speakers on posts next to which a car would be parked. This system has been superceded by the more economical method of broadcasting the soundtrack at a low output wattage to be picked up by a car radio
. This method is also advantageous as it allows the soundtrack to be picked up in stereo
by the audience instead of monaural
. The drive-in reached peak popularity in the late 1950's and early 1960's, particularly in rural areas. Among its advantages was the fact that a family with a young baby can take care of baby while watching a movie. During the 1960's, the movies shown changed from family-oriented pieces to sexploitation movies. This change, and the advent of VCR, led to a sharp decline in popularity of drive-in theaters. It is now approaching a quasi-novelty status, with a handful remaining, catering to a generally nostalgic audience.
"Drive-in" (2001). The Film Encyclopedia, 4th ed., Ephraim Katz (ed). HarperCollins, New York.