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There are some fantastic memories for people that center around the classic venue of the drive-in theater. Whether it’s sitting with your sweetheart clinging to you as you watch the latest horror flick rolling on the giant silver screen, or laughing with your family in the back of your pickup truck at the most recent family comedy, there is something amazing about the Drive-In. National Drive-In Movie Day celebrates this age-old tradition and helps to bring awareness to the fact that there are still dozens of these facilities open and operating all over the U.S.

Learn about National Drive-In Movie Day

National Drive-In Movie Day is the perfect day to honor a tradition that was extremely popular during the 1950s and 1960s. Drive-in movie theaters were viewed as romantic for couples and convenient for families, so they became a big hit. However, they started to lose popularity when conventional movie theaters became popular throughout the 1970s.

In recent years, though, we have seen a bit of a resurgence in drive-in theaters, not only in the United States – where they are known to have been especially popular – but around the rest of the world too. The 2020 coronavirus pandemic can partly be attributed to this.

During this period, a lot of traditional movie theaters around the world were required to shut, and so drive-in theaters provided an acceptable way of getting entertainment while at a social distance. Drive-in theaters were not required to shut during this period, causing an increase in their popularity again. 

History of National Drive-In Movie Day

This history of National Drive-In Movie Day is literally the history of the Drive-In theater, and how it was born out of one son’s love for his mother. In 1933 Richard Hollingshead noticed a recurring problem with theaters, his mother simply was unable to find a comfortable way to sit in the seats provided by the theaters, but loved the cinema. He started trying to come up with a solution, but reinventing the theater seat just didn’t seem a viable solution.

They were already designed to provide the maximum amount of comfort possible while still packing in as many people as possible. With some time and a lot of experimentation, Richard slowly starting find the best combination of elements for an outdoor movie viewing experience.

This was more difficult than it sounded as he dealt with issues like protection from the rain, best placement of cars for maximum viewing ability, and how to get the sound to broadcast in a reliable and enjoyable way. Daunting though the task was, he wasn’t going to allow it to get in the way of his ambition, and in May of 1933 he received a patent and opened his first theater.

After the success of Park-In Theaters, Inc, the idea spread like wildfire, and drive-in theaters were soon appearing in cities all over the U.S. They reigned as king of the movie-going experience ever since, until things started to decline in recent years. Efforts are made to preserve them and keep them in operation, and there are 500 still running all over the US.

How to celebrate National Drive-In Movie Day

This is one of the best holidays ever, you just have to get out with your friends and family and take a trip down to your local Drive-In Movie Theater and take in your favorite film. Drive-In theaters are often cheaper than regular theaters, and on a nice night can be a much more pleasant experience as you lounge out on the grass or hang out in the back of your truck. Some people even barbeque at the ones that allow it. So go out and see this artifact of movie history and enjoy a drive-in movie before the last theater disappears!

If you don’t have a drive-in theater in your area, another option is to bring the drive-in theater to you. You could have a movie night in your backyard. Unless you’ve got the street space and the facilities to do it, you’re probably not going to be able to have everyone sitting in their vehicles while the movie is on.

However, you can get creative and host your own drive-in theater themed night. You can set up different stations in your garden for people to sit and watch the movie. Get the drinks flowing and put plenty of snacks out, and you will have a great time. 

If you run a business, you can use this day as the perfect opportunity to do a bit of team bonding and to show your employees how much you appreciate them. Allow them to have the day off or the afternoon off so that you can all spend it watching a movie together. You can easily project a movie on the screen and then you can put chairs out on the lawn if you have one or you can clear out a big office room and put down blankets.

Make sure there are lots of great snacks and treats for everyone too. This is a great way to let your employees unwind and to show them just how much they are appreciated. Little things like this can make all of the difference. Plus, your workers will come back to work the following day feeling happier and refreshed. 

You could also host a massive community drive-in movie theater night. Depending on where you live, you could speak to the powers that be and find out whether it would be possible to host a drive-in movie night at one of the big parking spaces in the area.

You could use it as an opportunity to raise awareness about this dying art, and you could even align it with some sort of fundraising for a community matter. 

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