Camden Drive-In

2901 Admiral Wilson Boulevard,
Pennsauken, NJ 08109

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CAMDEN (NJ) Drive-In Theatre advertisement.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 17 comments)

kencmcintyre on June 11, 2006 at 9:09 pm

Here is an interesting article about the Camden and drive-ins in general:

kencmcintyre on January 25, 2007 at 11:52 pm

This is an interesting lawsuit. It looks like Hollingshead shut down the drive-in in 1936 alleging that Paramount was trying to force him out of business. Perhaps the studios felt that outdoor theaters were a threat to their existing indoor business. Richardson Dilworth, plaintiff’s attorney, later became mayor of Philadelphia:

DRIVEIN101 on July 6, 2007 at 1:02 pm

Does anybody know if there is a marker or a sign on the site where Mr. Hollingstead’s creation once stood? If not, it would definitely make an excellent 75th anniversary gift next June 6.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 29, 2010 at 1:50 am

NOW PLAYING AT THE CAMDEN DRIVE-IN, Greta Nissen stars in “SPY 77” 25 cents per person and here is a new one,“No charge for car”.

Also this movie played here, “REFORM GIRL” and second feature, Betty Compson in “GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY”.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 6, 2011 at 3:48 am

The entry for Camden architect Howard E. Hall in the 1962 American Architects Directory of the AIA lists “1st Drive-in Theatre, original, Camden, N.J, 33” among his works.

TheALAN on January 2, 2014 at 7:30 am

No, there is no marker or sign on the site for the Camden Drive-In. Only PRIVATE PROPERTY and NO TRESSPASSING. Zinman Furs now occupies the site.

TheALAN on June 7, 2015 at 5:17 pm

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 24, 2015 at 3:30 am

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

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