Film & TV

Nostalgic Drive-In Movies Return to Coopers Beach for Ninth Year

This retro viewing experience is a rarity on the East End.

The Southampton Chamber of Commerce is channeling the vintage sentiment of the drive-in by continuing their annual Nostalgic Drive-In Movies for the ninth year in a row. There are currently only about 321 active, drive-in movie theaters left in the country, so this is a rare opportunity to revisit old memories and to make new ones.

Movies will take place at Coopers Beach, located at 268 Meadow Lane, Southampton, and a beach parking sticker will not be required to attend. The gates open at 6:30 p.m. and films start at dark, though cars will be parked in size order in the beach parking lot. An FM car radio is required for “retro-in-you-car” movie viewing.

There are three films lined up for this season; Inside Out on Monday, July 30, Coco on Monday, August 6 and Jurassic Park on Monday, August 16. The price to attend is $40 dollars per car when you buy in advance or $50 dollars per car at the gate. To purchase tickets in advance, visit the Southampton Chamber of Commerce, located at 76 Main Street, Southampton, or southamptonchamber.com.

The first drive-in theater was patented in 1933 by Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. in Camden, New Jersey. By nailing a screen to trees in his backyard, setting up a 1928 Kodak projector and a radio on the hood of his car, and building ramps to determine spacing for guests’ vehicles, he laid the foundation for a movement that would later take off nationwide.

Drive-ins hit peak popularity in the ’50s and ’60s when there were about 4,000 theaters throughout the U.S. The privacy of in-car-viewing afforded people the opportunity to bring loud children or have an intimate movie date, more so than a traditional movie theater. Perhaps the Southampton Chamber is ahead of the curve, and East Enders will soon see a resurgence of drive-ins, as has been seen with vinyls. But if not, at least they can count on this fun, annual series.

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