21 drive-in theaters in Old South Jersey and what’s there now
Back then you could choose to see a movie at 21 different drive-ins in South Jersey – and now there’s only one left.
But the legacy of these 20 cinemas hasn’t been forgotten, however, you’re probably passing places where hundreds of people have already gone to see movies in their cars without even knowing it.
The history of drive-in theaters in the Garden State – and the country – began in 1933 when America’s first drive-in opened on Admiral Wilson Blvd. in Pennsauken. While this cinema had a giant screen to see a movie, an effective way to hear these films had yet to be developed. To hear what you were seeing, you had to roll down your car windows and listen to giant speakers next to the screen. Not only could you hear the movie, but also everyone who lived there.
Drive-ins started opening rapidly in the late 1940s and 1950s. They were everywhere in virtually every county.
Over time, in the 70s, drive-in theaters began to suffer. Many have closed. Some struggled to make it through the 80s. At least one showed X-rated movies to try and make money (can you imagine seeing porn on a drive-in movie theater screen?!).
One of the features of a drive-in was the fact that hundreds of cars (in some cases well over a thousand) could park and see a movie. To do this, a lot of cleared and cleared land was needed. These large spaces made such large plots of land attractive to developers (especially in New Jersey), and in a financial crisis many theaters sold out. As you will see below, many spots that were drive-ins have been heavily expanded.
Before I begin, a disclaimer: I consider just about anything south of Interstate 195 “South Jersey” for the purposes of this walk through time to showcase the wide variety of theaters that once dotted the countryside.
And after looking at the photos below, you’ll want to pay a visit to cinematreasures.org, which is a great resource for exploring the history of drive-ins, complete with vintage photos and fan commentary.
Remembering 21 drive-in theaters in Old South Jersey and what’s there now
South Jersey once had nearly two dozen drive-in cinemas – now there is just one left. Let’s take a look at these old theaters and what replaced them.
26 Old Things In South Jersey You Don’t Consider Old
By the time (no pun intended) you get to the bottom of this list, you’ll be looking at things that are over 150 to nearly 200 years old right here in South Jersey.
31 Random Photos of Old South Jersey I Found on My Cell Phone
26 photos of the old and glorious neon motel signs in Wildwood Crest, NJ
Let’s take a tour of the old and glorious neon signs that still sit atop many 1950s and 1960s motels in Wildwood Crest.