The 1965 Drive-Ins

BY: Mia Wiltshire


When you think about seeing a movie you're probably thinking about going to the nearest movie theater, or watching a 5 star movie on netflix. But your not thinking about seeing the movies in your outdoors, in your car.

"Ozoners" (clipping from pop culture encyclopedia)

Drive-In Theaters, a mid-20th century venue for viewing motion pictures, have influenced movie attendance and fast-food services. Movie attendance had dropped during the early 1930s, as people hired a baby sitter, dressed for their outing to the theater, and then encountered parking problems once they arrived. Richard Hollingshead devised a convenient solution: outdoor theaters that became known as "ozoners."


"The Snack Bar" (clipping from pop culture encyclopedia)

clipping from pop culture encyclopedia

food service was refined into a profitable venture for ozoners. for example, for every dollar of ticket sales, 45 cents was spent on concessions at drive-ins, compared to the 26 cents spent at indoor theaters. While typical foods sold were popcorn, soft drinks, hot dogs and candy, Jack Farr's Trail Drive-In, in Houston, Texas, served chicken, tamales, shrimp and chili. Some theaters provided a Snack-Kar to deliver refreshments to viewers. Viewers at one North Carolina theater ordered food during the movie by pressing a special button on the pole and speaking into a microphone—the food was delivered to their car. Prior to the construction of pizza parlors, the drive-in theater was the only place in many communities that served pizza. Restaurant equipment entrepreneur Al Gordon (Morris Gordon & Son) recommended that drive-ins provide a more cafeteria style snack bar, which proved successful. Theaters advertised their food services during film trailers, and at intermissions.


Many teenagers and high schoolers were able to benefit from not only going to the dirve-ins for fun, but also working at them. Some worked at concession stands/snack bars, and other were ticket holders, who sold tickets at a booth when people came in. Soon with new job opportunities, and higher popularity, drive ins had more success.

Drive In progression

Here's a clipping from pop culture encyclopedia again.

During the 1950s, drive-ins got bigger: Stanford Kohlberg's Starlite Drive-In, near Oak Lawn, Illinois, for instance, expanded to 1,875 outdoor spaces; interestingly, it also included an enclosed auditorium that seated 1,000 walk-in viewers. During its opening weekend, the theater featured live entertainment: the hillbilly group Sleepy Hollow Gang. Other acts booked included sway pole artist Penney Millette, human cannonball "The Great Wilno," and various circus acts. The movies shown in these drive-in venues had often been released several weeks earlier in conventional, walk-in theaters.

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Drive In movie favorites

One of my favorite drive-in movie experiences was "Night of the Grizzly"with Clint Walker. I also enjoyed "The Longest Day" and of course, all the Elvis movies we went to see. "Blue Hawaii" almost put me to sleep, whereas"Roustabout" had me humming for weeks after. Elvis convinced me that the best life had to offer was a motorcycle, leather jacket, and karate. My favorite drive-in memory is when My brother Kenny took me to see The Beatles' "Help!" The second feature was"Mister Moses"

**some of the movie posters are shown in this presetation, take a look**

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Why I chose this

The reason why I chose this topic for the 1960's project was because the Drive-Ins were very important entertainment during that time frame. Most people would go to one like you would go to your soccer game, or go to the grocery store, and that to me is a very important topic to discuss. The Drive-Ins impacted the kind of things people eat, did, and what type of movies people saw during the 1960's.

The End of the Drive-Ins

Just like all happy things, Drive ins have to come to an end too. Near the end of the 1960's, drive in popularity came to and end as indoor theaters became more convenient and efficient.