National Drive-In Movie Day


Drive-in theaters nearly died out completely, but some, like the one pictured, survived. On June 6th, 1933 Richard Hollingspread opened the first drive-in theater. (Thomas Hawk/CC BY-NC 2.0)

Ella Yurick, Editor in Chief

On June 6th, grab your family and friends and head to a Drive-In movie theater to celebrate National Drive-In Movie Day


Although the idea of drive-in movies has been around since the 1910s, the activity was made official on June 6th, 1933, when Richard Hollingspread opened the first drive-in theater. Located in Camden, New Jersey, the theater played Wives Beware while charging 25 cents per car and person. 

According to Smithsonian, Hollingspread was inspired to create the drive-in theater after his mother was unable to sit comfortably in a regular theater. After much experimentation, Hollingspread devised and patented a ramp system for the vehicles. People would be able to sit comfortably in their own car while getting a clear view of the screen with the varying heights of the ramp’s incline.

The first drive-in’s success inspired many other drive-ins to open around the country; however, the business gained the most attraction during the 50s and 60s with over 4,000 theaters running in different states. Decades later, drive-in movie theaters have become less popular, but are still open around the globe. 

Pennsylvania Drive-In Theaters:

1. Shank Park

While Shank Park, located on Bullfrog Valley Road in Hummelstown, is not a year-round designated drive-in movie spot, USA Drive-In Theatre and the park host free drive-in movies a few times during the summer. For the 2023 season, they will be presenting movies on June 2nd, July 7th, and August 4th. The movies begin at dusk, and concessions open at 7 pm.

2. Haar’s Drive In Theater

In Dillsburg, Haar’s Drive In Theater runs movies on Fridays, Saturdays, and, after Memorial Day, Sundays. The cost for admission is $10 per person with the exception of children under five who are free of charge. Haar’s theater schedules movies on a week-to-week basis. To see what movies are being shown and to buy tickets, visit their website

3. Cumberland Drive-In Theatre

Since 1952, Cumberland Drive-In Theatre in Newville has been showcasing movies drive-in style. The theater has a playground as well as a Snack Bar that offers a wide range of food and beverages. Admission prices per person range from zero to ten dollars depending on age. To keep up with what movies are being shown each week, you can join their eClub or visit their website

For a full list of drive-in movie theaters in Pennsylvania and other states, see Parade’s article on their website.