Camden Drive-In

2901 Admiral Wilson Boulevard,
Camden, NJ 08104

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CAMDEN (NJ) Drive-In Theatre advertisement.

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The Camden Drive-In located in 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 Camden, New Jersey. The opening film was a British comedy “Wives Beware”. 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 15 comments)

RobertR on July 28, 2005 at 2:53 pm

Here is a 1933 photo
View link

kencmcintyre on January 18, 2006 at 7:09 pm

When I was in college in the early 1980s, Admiral Wilson Boulevard was notable for the astounding number of adult businesses as well as ladies of the evening that would board the municipal buses trolling for customers. Ah, memories.

kencmcintyre on June 11, 2006 at 4:09 pm

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

kencmcintyre on January 25, 2007 at 6:52 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 8:02 am

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 28, 2010 at 8:50 pm

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 5, 2011 at 10:48 pm

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 2:30 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.

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