Although there were drive-ins only in the 1910s, the first patented drive-in was opened in New Jersey on June 6, 1933, by Richard Hollingshead. It offered space for 400 vehicles. He built it as a solution for those unable to comfortably fit in small movie theater seats after building a mini drive-in for his mother. Appealing to families, Hollingshead advertises its drive-in as a place where "the whole family is welcome, no matter how noisy the kids are."
The success of Hollingshead's drive-ins led to more and more drive-ins appearing in every state of the country and spreading internationally. Drive-ins gained immense popularity with the Baby Boomer generation 20 years later during the 1950s and 60s.
There were over 4,000 drive-ins across the US and most were located in rural areas. They maintained popularity as both an affordable date night option for families to spend time with each other.
The drive-ins were not without challenges: the sound broadcast from the screen reached the audience with an annoying time delay, which was out of sync with what was happening in the film.