I grew up not too far from the Malta Drive-In and for as long as I can remember it was a quintessential part of my summer. You'd call up your friends and neighbors, windex the car windshield, get your lawn chairs and blankets, and head down route 9 for a summer night under the stars. Looking back, I probably thought everyone had a drive-in theater. It was such a normal thing. But was it?? You tell me! Did you have a drive in movie theater?
I found this Grand Opening announcement of the Malta Drive in from NewYorkdriveins.com - how cool! The Malta Auto Movie (aka Malta Drive In) opened July 1 1949. Children under 12 and cars were free. The first movies shown were "The Noose Hangs High" starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and "On The Old Spanish Trail" a technicolor cartoon with Roy Rodgers.I had no idea it was such an old theater. It has been in continuous operation ever since!
And good news, it's still going! I sent my local photographer, my dad :), on a mission to get a picture of what the entrance to the drive in looks like today.
We have Richard Hollingshead Jr. to thank for this delightful outdoor movie experience. With an initial investment of $30,000 he opened the first drive-in movie theater June 6, 1933 in Camden, NJ. The admission was 25 cents a person and 25 cents a car. According to history.com, Hollingshead was reportedly inspired by his mother's discomfort in traditional movie theater seats. Aw what a nice twist, he did it for his mamma!
If you have ever been to a drive-in, you might remember a classic cartoon they would play during intermission. This is a short video clip of the cartoon I remember seeing at the Malta Drive-In! Made in the 1957 and it was still being played into the 80's and 90's, crazy. (video from smithsonianmag.com)
Long live the Drive-In Movie Theaters!!