Here’s What Drive-In Theaters Looked Like In Their Glory Days

At their peak in the mid-20th century, drive-in theaters were the perfect place to catch a flick from the comfort and privacy of your car.

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The first drive-in theater in the US, located in Camden, New Jersey, 1933.

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Automobiles line up to enter a drive-in located in Los Angeles, 1934.

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An aerial view of the Olympic drive-in movie theater in Los Angeles, 1948.

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Actor Charlton Heston as Moses in the motion picture The Ten Commandments, shown at a drive-in movie theater in Utah, 1958.

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A drive-in theater in Queens, 1951.

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A couple in a convertible pull into a California drive-in, 1948.

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People make their way into the the Cinemotor Theater in Los Angeles, 1938.

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A bottle-warming table for mothers at a Chicago drive-in, 1951.

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A woman purchases concessions at a drive-in located in Valley Stream, New York, 1938.

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A boy adjusts the individual speaker in the family car, circa 1955.

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A couple watches a film from the comfort of their car in New York City, 1955.

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A family shares popcorn at a drive-in theater in California, 1960.

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A couple in the front seat of a convertible at a drive-in movie theater, circa 1945.

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A police officer in Amarillo, Texas, checks cars to make sure teenagers are behaving, 1961.

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The marquee for the Round-Up Drive-In Theater in Phoenix, circa 1964.

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Customers at the Westbury Drive-In Theatre in Westbury, New York, attend an “Ape-a-Thon,” which featured five of the Planet of the Apes movies, July 12, 1973.

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Teenagers meet at Goodie’s Drive-In in Manchester, Iowa, 1974.

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A sign on a closed drive-in theater in Paonia, Colorado, 1959.



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.