Camden Drive-In

2901 Admiral Wilson Boulevard,
Pennsauken, NJ 08109

Unfavorite 5 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Architects: Howard E. Hall

Nearby Theaters

News About This Theater

CAMDEN (NJ) Drive-In Theatre advertisement.

The Camden Drive-In located in the Pennsauken Township district of Camden, NJ was the first drive-in theater in the U.S. In 1933 Richard Hollingshead received the first patent for the Drive-In Theater (United States Patent# 1,909,537). It was issued on May 16, 1933.

With an investment of $30,000, Richard opened the first drive-in on Tuesday June 6, 1933 in Pennsauken Township, Camden, New Jersey. The opening film was the 1932 British Fox comedy “Wives Beware” (aka in the UK “Two White Arms) starring Adolphe Menjou. The price of admission was 25 cents for the car and 25 cents per person.

The drive-in did not include the in-car speaker system we know today. The inventor contacted the RCA Victor company to provide the sound system, called ‘Directional Sound’. Three main speakers were mounted next to the screen that provided sound. The sound quality was not good for cars in the rear of the theater or for the surrounding neighbors.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

TheALAN on June 7, 2015 at 9:17 am

Now the site of Zinman Furs, the Camden Drive-In was located at 2901 Admiral Wilson Blvd. (U.S. Rt. 30) in Pennsauken Twp. New Jersey, between Rosemont Ave. and Lee Ave. Camden, NJ is incorrect!

DavidZornig on November 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Legible version added of the 1933 print ad in the website. Via the Quality Retro Oldies 1900s-1970s Facebook page.

Tine263 on March 29, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Here is all the information I could find, plus photos of the site as it is now. Sad to see it without some type of marker for historical purposes!

davidcoppock on April 17, 2016 at 1:53 am

There is information about the Camden Drive-in in the book “Drive-in theaters A History from their inception in 1933(Kerry Segrave).

davidcoppock on November 3, 2016 at 9:36 am

There is footage of Camden Drive-in on Youtube(drive-in blues, towards the end). I think a little of the footage was used on a episode of American Pickers, and a still picture/photo as well(i forget which episode?).

DavidZornig on June 6, 2017 at 10:45 am

1933 diagram added, via The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit Facebook page.

DavidZornig on June 5, 2018 at 4:52 pm

85th anniversary tomorrow, June 6th 1933.

moviebuff82 on June 6, 2018 at 4:58 pm

Happy 85th!!! When did it close and what became of it?

MichaelKilgore on May 17, 2019 at 6:41 am

Some interesting contemporary details from F. H. Richardson, writing in the Motion Picture Herald’s June 8, 1935 issue. He had been meeting with Larry Ruch, manager of the Liberty theater in Camden.

“Ruch then escorted me to the location, just outside the city, of the Drive-In theater, which accommodates 430 autos on seven ramps. R. H. Smythe is manager. The screen image is 50 feet wide. The projection distance is 178 feet. The projection room is partly sunken, lens and observation port bottoms about even with ground level. The projection angle is upward, of course. Projection room is equipped with Simplex projectors, Hall and Connolly H. I. lamps and RCA sound. This theatre was opening that night for its third season. It has made more than expenses, though financially I was advised it was no world-beater.”

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.