The first drive-in theatre opened in Camden, New Jersey, in 1933. For less than a dollar, the whole family could enjoy a B Hollywood movie from the comfort of their own car.
At the height of their popularity in the 1950s, there were almost 5,000 drive-ins across the US. Today there are just over 300 of them, which has left a lot of drive-in graveyards around the country.
For photographer Lindsey Rickert, drive-in theatres were a staple of childhood.
“There was something so special about the experience [of the drive-in],” she recently told Business Insider. In 2014, she ventured across the country for 65 days to document as many drive-in theatres — either in working order or abandoned — that she could find.
Ahead, see 10 of the most haunting images she took of those that have been left behind.
'Drive-in theatres were a staple in my childhood,' Rickert said. 'Playing tag under the big screen, eating way too much popcorn, and falling asleep midway through the double feature in a pile of blankets.'
Rickert noted the entertainment that drive-ins could provide for families with younger children. 'At a traditional theatre, taking the kids could be a difficult task ... But the drive-in catered to bringing the whole family,' she said. 'Kids could play on playgrounds often found under the screen while parents enjoyed a date night without having to pay a sitter.'
The death of the drive-in came as real estate prices rose in the suburbs, walk-in theatres were built, and video rentals rose in popularity. Rickert noticed the change back then too. 'As I got older, the surrounding drive-in theatres started to go dark and this American icon slipped my mind,' she said.
She got the idea for creating this series while assisting on another photography shoot at a drive-in in Newberg, Oregon.
Through a Kickstarter campaign,she successfully raised over $5,000 for a road trip across the US to document these theatres.
Her travels -- and work -- were greatly affected by the weather. 'My time spent at each theatre became strongly dictated by weather. I found myself chasing storms all over the country. If the weather permitted, I would stay and shoot for an hour or two, but there were times when I only got 10 minutes before rain started pouring down,' she said. 'Luckily, it made for some really eerie skies.'
By the end, Rickert had photographed 28 different theatres, only nine of which were still in operation.
One of her favourite shots was from her first stop, in Yerington, Nevada. 'It was raining and the wind was blowing tents away (at our campsite). It was looking a bit grim for shooting conditions, but my assistant and I decided not to let it stop us,' she said. 'The moment we pulled up to the theatre the rain stopped and gave way to a gorgeous pink sky and a rainbow ... At that moment, I pushed aside all of my fears about this massive undertaking of a project I had gotten myself into and knew I was on the right track.'
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