Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6 - Drive-In Movie Day

On this day in history in 1933, the first drive-in movie theatre opened in Camden, New Jersey.

Did you know "drive-in" wasn't a common term until much later - they were originally called "Park-In Theatres"? Richard Hollingshead was a movie fan and sales manager at his father's company, Whiz Auto Products, in Camden. The inspiration for his "Park-In Theatre" came from his mother's struggle to sit comfortably in traditional movie theatre seats. He came up with the idea of an open-air theatre, wherein patrons could watch movies from the comfort of their own automobiles.

He tested his theory in his own driveway, mounting a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car, pinning a screen to some trees, and placing a radio behind the screen for sound. He came up with different ways to guard against rain and other inclement weather, and even toyed with varying spacing arranges for multiple cars. (Son of the year award, right there!)

Hollingshead received a patent for his concept in May of 1933, finally opening Park-In Theatres, Inc. in under a month. He charged 25 cents per car or person, with no group paying more than one dollar. (When was the last time you went to a movie for a quarter?)

His idea spread, and once his patent was overturned in 1949, drive-in theatres spread across the country.

It was rare for a blockbuster to be shown at a drive-in movie, though sometimes a regular feature was shown, as opposed to a "B-movie". Technology brought the drive-in sound system from speakers mounted behind the screen, to patrons able to listen through their FM radio.

The number of drive-in movies have dwindled over the years, now considered classic and a fancy. You can still find them in some areas - including Sylvan Lake! The next drive-in movie will occur during 1913 Days, and we'll be watching "The Goonies"! (One of my personal favourites.)

Today is also the anniversary of the Normandy landings on D-Day.

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- 24 wagonloads of Talmudic books were burned in Paris in 1242.
- 5000 Jews were massacred by the inhabitants of Seville Spain in 1391.
- Haitian explorer Jean Baptiste-Pointe Dusable settled Chicago in 1772.
- Shawnadithit was captured by English furriers in 1823. Her drawings and descriptions of her people are valuable records of her people. Like so many Beothuk, she died of tuberculosis in 1829.

- Levi Strauss made his 1st pair of blue jeans in 1850.

- Riots occurred in Québec against a former Italian priest, Alessandro Gavazzi in 1853; another riot in Montréal on June 9th left 10 dead when troops fired on the crowd.
- A Reciprocity Treaty established the mutual abolition or reduction of customs duties between the US and Canada in 1854; it came into effect on October 18. The treaty helped produce a considerable increase in trade between the two countries.
- The electric iron was patented by Henry W Seely of New York City in 1882.
- The original Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, a fine example of mid-19th-century Gothic revival style, were opened in 1886. Most of the original buildings were destroyed by fire in 1916.

- Sir John A. Macdonald died in Ottawa in 1891.

- National Tuberculosis Association was organized in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1904.
- The eruption of Novarupta in Alaska began in 1912. It was the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.
- Canadian National Railways was incorporated in 1919. It became the longest railway system in North America, controlling more than 50 000 km of track in Canada and the US.

- Bass and director Jan Rubes, who was very influential in the development of opera in Canada, was born at Volyné, Czechoslovakia in 1920.
- The Southwark Bridge in London was opened for traffic by King George V and Queen Mary in 1921.
- Sigmund Freud arrived in London in 1938.
- The 3rd Canadian Division and 2nd and 3rd Armoured Brigades landed on the beaches at Courcelles, St Aubin and Bernières-sur-Mer on the Normandy Coast in 1944, as part of the invasions that led to the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation.

- Baseball cancelled all games in 1944, honoring the D-Day invasion. Also on this day in 1944, Nazi troops executed 96 prisoners by firing squad.
- Dancer and choreographer Judy Jarvis, who represented an approach to art that was unique in Canada, was born in Ottawa in 1946.
- CUSO (Canadian University Services Overseas) was founded in 1961 to place skilled Canadians in postings to provide technical assistance in the Third World.
- The Beatles met their producer George Martin for 1st time in 1962; they recorded "Besame Mucho" with Peter Best on drums.
- Stokely Carmichael launched the "Black Power" movement in 1966.

- The Doobie Brothers sponsored a Golf Classic & Concert for United Way in 1977.
- The body of Nazi criminal, Dr Josef Mengele, was located and exhumed in 1985.
- 3 giant turtles were found in a Bronx sewage plant in 1988 (don't flush your turtles down the toilet!).
- In 1991, NBC announced Jay Leno would replace Johnny Carson on May 25, 1992.
- Members of the Upper Nicola First Nations Band agreed to end a 2-week blockade of the Douglas Lake Ranch in exchange for talks with the BC government over fishing rights in 1995.
- Also in 1995, John Labatt Ltd, Canada's second-largest brewery, was sold to SA of Belgium for $2.7 billion.

- A Reform Party convention approved the policy of radical decentralization of government and a conservative approach to social issues in 1996. It also endorsed Preston Manning as leader.
- The Solar Impulse completed the world's first intercontinental flight powered by the sun in 2012.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

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