|The Rise and Fall of Drive-Ins
Drive-ins were slow to catch on. In 1940, only 18 were open nationally. As World War II drew to a close, they began to spring up across the country. In 1948, there were 820 theaters. By the end of the 1940s drive-ins were more popular than indoor theaters, partly due to the invention of an in-car speaker.
baby boom of the 1950s further increased the popularity of
drive-ins. Many owners built playgrounds to make their theaters
more attractive to families. From 1948 to 1958, about 3,200
new drive-ins were built.
the 1960s, the number of theaters stayed about the same. Their
numbers began to decline in the 1970s due to rising property
The land used for drive-ins could be used more profitably
for other things. Also, drive-ins often showed "B" movies, which were less popular.
the 1980s, families had cable television and videocassettes
to watch movies at home, further hurting the drive-ins. By
2003, the number of drive-ins had sunk to 432.
Next: New Jersey Drive-In Theaters