With many nowadays solely relying on their laptops and Netflix to watch movies, drive-in movie theaters have become a relic of the past for the latest generation. But Wednesday, Google celebrated the drive-in with its Doodle in honor of the 79th anniversary when the first theater opened in Camden, New Jersey.
In an animated tribute video, the search engine giant paid homage to the opening of the first drive-in movie theater with a 31-second animated video depicting the typical drive-in scene: Cars containing families or young lovers rolling up to a multiplex screen rolling film of little dancing soda cups and popcorn with the Google logo.
According to Google, the first drive-in opened in New Jersey on June 6, 1933, during the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema. Created by Richard Milton Hollingshead Jr., the drive-in theater offered a unique experience where viewers could watch movies on a jumbo-tron from inside their cars, with sound synced to a radio station.
In the 1950's and 1960's, the drive-in theater became a staple for popular entertainment, ranging from teens to families to the elderly, frequently featured in pop culture in television shows like Happy Days and the Grease movies.
While there are only 336 drive-in movie theaters left in existence, according to data from Drive-Ins.com, at one point in 1958, there were 4,000 drive-ins across the U.S. The drive-in resource reported theaters began to shut down for a multitude of reasons, including the video rental market, urban sprawl and film availability.
Those days bygone, many do not even know what a drive-in is, like Google Doodle creator Mike Dutton, who did heavy research before his creation.
I did a lot of reading on blogs about what people missed most about drive-in theaters, Dutton wrote. Big cultural things set drive-ins apart. For example, no matter how long the movie was, there was always an intermission, time to stretch, get up, get a snack. Another aspect was that it was really popular for people to stow people in their trunk and sneak them into the theater. We didn't want to endorse it, but we had two kids on the back of their parents' truck. You see the heads pop out at the end.
View the slideshow to see photos and watch the video below of Wednesday's Google Doodle of the opening of the first drive-in theater.