The problem of poor audibility at drive-ins was solved when an in-car speaker system was created. By the 1950s, in-car speakers were the norm.
In a Parking Lot Near You
America’s first drive-in movie theater opens
When Richard Hollingshead got the notion to create an outdoor theater showing films you could watch from your car, he experimented with cars and equipment in his New Jersey driveway.
First, he mounted a projector on the hood of a car and hung up a screen. Then, Hollingshead rearranged cars until he figured out a way everybody could see from their front or back seats. On this night, cars streamed into the world’s first drive-in to see a movie called Wife Beware. Each car was charged 25 cents for admission. In addition, each rider paid a quarter. Even though Hollingshead placed large speakers near the screen, movie goers parked in the back rows couldn’t hear well.
Still, the idea caught on and drive-ins began popping up everywhere, with 5,000 or so operating at the peak of the craze.