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Richard Hollingshead

Camden Drive-in Theater

Fly-in Theater

The Rise and Fall of Drive-Ins

New Jersey Drive-In Theaters

 

 


Camden Drive-in Theater
March 2004

On June 6, 1933, the Camden Drive-in Theater opened for its first show, Wife Beware, starring Adolphe Menjou. That night, 600 people came to the theater for one of three showings.

The Camden Drive-in Theater was located on 250,000 square-feet of land on the Camden-Pennsauken border. (The streets are now known as Admiral Wilson Boulevard and Lee Avenue.) The theater cost $60,000 to build and had spaces for 400 cars. Hollingshead charged 25 cents per car and an additional 25 cents per person, but no car paid more than a dollar.

To develop a sound system for his theater, Hollingshead hired RCA, which was then based in Camden. RCA Victor, as they were known back then, created a system called directional sound. Three 6-foot-by-6-foot speakers were mounted next to the 40-foot-by-50-foot screen to provide sound.

(Unfortunately, people in cars at the back of the drive-in could not hear the sound well. For people in the back to hear at all, the speakers had to be turned up very loud. Then, people living near the theater complained of the noise.)

After opening night, the theater offered two shows a night. Theater workers noticed license plates from 43 states during the summer of 1933.

Hollingshead kept the theater in Camden for only two years. In 1935, he sold the theater property and opened a drive-in in Union.

Next: Fly-in Theater


 
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