Michigan Drive-ins and the 75th anniversary of the drive-in

June 7, 2008

Wayne Drive-In Theatre Marquee - Wayne, Michigan

Wayne Drive-In Theatre Marquee – Wayne, Michigan, photo by michigandriveins.

In recognition of yesterday’s 75th anniversary of the drive-in, WIRED Magazine featured June 6, 1933: A Car, a Movie, Some Popcorn and Thou. You have to check it out, if only for the photo of the reverse side of the world’s first drive-in movie screen (Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr’s Camden NJ theater) advertising the opportunity to SIT IN YOUR CAR – SEE AND HEAR MOVIES for 25¢ per car, 25¢ per person and $1 for 3 or more people.

About the above photo of the marquee of the Wayne Drive-In Theatre, michigandriveins writes:

What an amazing display this must have been to pass through. This giant neon masterpiece was apparently built by the Long Sign Company. Detroit-based Long also constructed the still-standing Commerce Drive-In Marquee, and the long-gone Waterford Drive-In Marquee.

Amazingly, the top portion of this marquee was saved during demolition. A Ford plant now stands on the grave of the Wayne Drive-In. When the Wayne went down in 1990, speakers, projectors, and three of it’s four screens went to the Ford-Wyoming 6-9 Drive-In in Dearborn, they are still in use today.

I’d like to hear from anyone connected with the Long Sign Co.

Much (much) more about Michigan’s drive-ins and drive in history at michigandriveins.com (also see Drive-in theater on Wikipedia).

You can get even more cool old photos, posters and history about drive-ins in general and in Michigan from the Drive-in Theater History page at WaterWinterWonderland.com.

It was in the period of the late 1930’s that the state of Michigan was introduced to the drive-in, with the opening of the so-called “Drive-In”, later known as the Eastside, on May 26, 1938 with the film “The Big Broadcast of 1938.” A Mr. John H. Flancher filed a petition in court in July of that year on behalf of the residents of 3 Detroit suburbs. His contention was that the new Theater could be heard from two miles away and should be deemed a public nuisance. Although the petition contained over 500 signatures, the case was dropped when the Theater agreed to take steps to alleviate the problem which seemed to satisfy the petitioners and the court. This would not be the last time a drive-in Theater operator would run afoul of the local community however.

I’ll leave you with the Michigan Drive-in Theater slideshow on Flickr (just the photos) and say I hope you and yours get a chance to take in a film or three at a Michigan drive-in this summer! (There are 10 open in Michigan today!

2 Responses to “Michigan Drive-ins and the 75th anniversary of the drive-in”

  1. brandonjb Says:

    That looks really cool.


  2. […] More Michigan movie pics on Michigan in Pictures including a feature on another metro Detroit drive-in, the Wayne Drive-in. […]


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