Camden Drive-In

2901 Admiral Wilson Boulevard,
Pennsauken, NJ 08109

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MichaelKilgore on May 17, 2019 at 6:41 am

Some interesting contemporary details from F. H. Richardson, writing in the Motion Picture Herald’s June 8, 1935 issue. He had been meeting with Larry Ruch, manager of the Liberty theater in Camden.

“Ruch then escorted me to the location, just outside the city, of the Drive-In theater, which accommodates 430 autos on seven ramps. R. H. Smythe is manager. The screen image is 50 feet wide. The projection distance is 178 feet. The projection room is partly sunken, lens and observation port bottoms about even with ground level. The projection angle is upward, of course. Projection room is equipped with Simplex projectors, Hall and Connolly H. I. lamps and RCA sound. This theatre was opening that night for its third season. It has made more than expenses, though financially I was advised it was no world-beater.”

moviebuff82 on June 6, 2018 at 4:58 pm

Happy 85th!!! When did it close and what became of it?

DavidZornig on June 5, 2018 at 4:52 pm

85th anniversary tomorrow, June 6th 1933.

DavidZornig on June 6, 2017 at 10:45 am

1933 diagram added, via The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit Facebook page.

davidcoppock on November 3, 2016 at 9:36 am

There is footage of Camden Drive-in on Youtube(drive-in blues, towards the end). I think a little of the footage was used on a episode of American Pickers, and a still picture/photo as well(i forget which episode?).

davidcoppock on April 17, 2016 at 1:53 am

There is information about the Camden Drive-in in the book “Drive-in theaters A History from their inception in 1933(Kerry Segrave).

Tine263 on March 29, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Here is all the information I could find, plus photos of the site as it is now. Sad to see it without some type of marker for historical purposes!

DavidZornig on November 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Legible version added of the 1933 print ad in the website. Via the Quality Retro Oldies 1900s-1970s Facebook page.

TheALAN on June 7, 2015 at 9:17 am

Now the site of Zinman Furs, the Camden Drive-In was located at 2901 Admiral Wilson Blvd. (U.S. Rt. 30) in Pennsauken Twp. New Jersey, between Rosemont Ave. and Lee Ave. Camden, NJ is incorrect!

TheALAN on January 1, 2014 at 11:30 pm

No, there is no marker or sign on the site for the Camden Drive-In. Only PRIVATE PROPERTY and NO TRESSPASSING. Zinman Furs now occupies the site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 5, 2011 at 7:48 pm

The entry for Camden architect Howard E. Hall in the 1962 American Architects Directory of the AIA lists “1st Drive-in Theatre, original, Camden, N.J, 33” among his works.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm

NOW PLAYING AT THE CAMDEN DRIVE-IN, Greta Nissen stars in “SPY 77” 25 cents per person and here is a new one,“No charge for car”.

Also this movie played here, “REFORM GIRL” and second feature, Betty Compson in “GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY”.

Denny Pine
Denny Pine on July 6, 2007 at 5:02 am

Does anybody know if there is a marker or a sign on the site where Mr. Hollingstead’s creation once stood? If not, it would definitely make an excellent 75th anniversary gift next June 6.

kencmcintyre on January 25, 2007 at 3:52 pm

This is an interesting lawsuit. It looks like Hollingshead shut down the drive-in in 1936 alleging that Paramount was trying to force him out of business. Perhaps the studios felt that outdoor theaters were a threat to their existing indoor business. Richardson Dilworth, plaintiff’s attorney, later became mayor of Philadelphia:

kencmcintyre on June 11, 2006 at 1:09 pm

Here is an interesting article about the Camden and drive-ins in general:

kencmcintyre on January 18, 2006 at 4:09 pm

When I was in college in the early 1980s, Admiral Wilson Boulevard was notable for the astounding number of adult businesses as well as ladies of the evening that would board the municipal buses trolling for customers. Ah, memories.

RobertR on July 28, 2005 at 11:53 am

Here is a 1933 photo
View link

teecee on June 28, 2005 at 2:40 am

It is interesting to note is the 2nd item. It claims that this theater moved from Camden to Union 3 years after opening. While the Camden drive in didn’t last long, I wasn’t aware of the “move”.

teecee on June 9, 2005 at 7:11 am

Great history at these links:

View link
View link

teecee on April 1, 2005 at 1:04 pm

“Two White Arms” (1932)was the first film shown at a drive-in theater on 6 June 1933 in Camden, New Jersey. It was released in the US and shown at the drive-in under the name “Wife Beware.” The film was chosen because it had played for only one week in theaters a few weeks earlier and they wanted a film that would not conflict with major releases.

teecee on March 17, 2005 at 6:08 am

Here is the listing with some nice photos:

RickB on October 15, 2004 at 9:07 am

The theater site was on what is now Admiral Wilson Boulevard (US Route 30). It was right on the border between Camden and Pennsauken and it appears that at the time the theater was in operation the highway changed name from Admiral Wilson Boulevard to Crescent Boulevard at the city limits. After multiple renamings and realignments over the years, today’s US 30 continues east over the Pennsauken line as Admiral Wilson Boulevard for about a third of a mile to the Airport Circle; there, 30 combines with US 130, which is the highway currently known as Crescent Boulevard. On a map this may be slightly easier to figure out, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Anyway, the address for the theater site would roughly be in the 2800 or 2900 block of Admiral Wilson Boulevard, on the odd-numbered side. The Zinman Furs building at 2901 is usually cited as the current occupant of the site, but that may not be precisely correct.