Did you know the first drive-in movie theater opened on June 6, 1933 in Camden, New Jersey. The patent held by Richard Hollingshead first began with one car, a screen stretched between two trees and a radio hidden behind it. After several beta tests to determine, among other things, the best position for multiple cars and the creation of a ramping system to allow each vehicle a full field of vision, the project was ready for movie goers. The price was a mere 25 cents for the car, and 25 cents for each person.

By the ’50s the Drive-In Theater was an event not just a destination. The double feature drew carloads of teenagers and families brought their kids for an evening out. At the peak of popularity there were over 4,000 drive-in theaters across the nation.

Today over 500 theaters continue to operate. Of the 123 theaters that once existed in Michigan, only 11 remain.


The Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theater in Honor, Michigan is celebrating 55 years and still going strong. In the years since their opening in 1953 they’ve made many additions and improvements. While they still have the original carbon arc antique projectors they now use modern projectors with Xenon gas bulbs. The sound system still consists of vaccum tube motiograph amplifiers which power the speakers at each parking space for a truly authentic experience. Or, you can tune in to their own FM station and hear every nostalgic note through your interior car speakers. Either way the experience is exceptional.

From the vintage introduction cartoons, to the homemade broasted chicken and caramel corn at the concession stand, the Cherry Bowl Drive-In is an event the whole family will enjoy. So celebrate this special moment in history with a trip down memory lane…which happens to be just 18 miles southwest of Traverse City in the village of Honor.


For more information on the Cherry Bowl Drive-In check out our Attractions page, or visit their website here. Resources on the history of the drive-in include driveintheater.com and inventors.about.com.