Like soda fountains and mom and pop markets, drive-in theaters could be the next symbol of American culture to disappear.

The reason, the nearly 375 remaining drive-in theaters in the United States will be required to convert to digital projection by the end of 2013. The cost is $80,000 per theater and that expense would prevent many drive-ins from staying open.

But Honda isn’t too keen on letting another symbol of Americana disappear. And to hopefully prevent the loss of the theaters, the carmaker has undertaken The Save The Drive In campaign to preserve the concept that began 80 years ago.

Honda is driving the SaveTheDriveIn campaign. Pictured is the first drive in New Jersey.
Honda is driving the SaveTheDriveIn campaign. Pictured is the first drive-in in New Jersey.

Drive-ins date to June 6, 1933 when inventor Richard M Hollingshead, Jr. opened the first location in Pennauken, New Jersey. It offered 400 slots and a 40-by-50 screen.

Hollingshead advertised his drive-in theater with the slogan, “The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are.”

The facility operated only three years, but the concept caught on. By the early 1960s, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters across the United States.

Now less than 10 percent of those remain. So far, in the month since it began the Save The Drive In campaign has saved nine theaters. But that’s a small percentage, of course, there’s a long way to go.

To contribute, visit: SaveTheDriveIn

 

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