Toronto. In the 1950s, I remember clambering in our car or a friend’s car and trundling off to the local drive-in to watch a movie outdoors and listen to a tiny tinny speaker hung on the widow. Sadly up here drive-ins were too cold and snowy in winter and started very late at night in the summer when it was finally dark out.
They proved to be a disappearing fad, but did you ever wonder about them, or their history? According to the August 1933 issue of Electronics, the drive-in first appeared in a seven acre farmer’s field outside Camden NJ. It was said to be invented by Dick Hollingworth Jr. who applied for patent rights. Electronics magazine was interested in the massive high fidelity sound system that provided every car with “80 watts of acoustical power” Impressive, since most so called high fidelity systems of two decades later used a fraction of that acoustical power for home filling stereo sound (there were systems far more powerful, of course).
The premise seemed to combine two favorite pastimes, cars and movies, for a low cost family outing. The closer to the equator you lived, the sooner darkness descended and the less likely you would have snow and freezing cold. For the photographer in us all, it was amazing to see a half frame 35mm shot blown up to around 60 feet across from about 3/4 inches. Remarkable!
This post was based n an idea suggested by my good friend George Dunbar who passed along the Electronics article.