Who could have predicted that movie theaters around the country would be sitting empty while drive-in movies are enjoying a Renaissance? 

I'm guessing that pretty much no one saw this coming, but that could be said for just about everything related to 2020.

And, not only are established drive-ins making a comeback, many places across the country are finding unused spaces to create new ones, if only for the time being.

Like right here in Rockford.

My Stateline reports the parking lot for the former Magna grocery store on East State Street is about to be transformed into a drive-in movie theater, thanks to an okay from the Rockford City Council.

It seems that a similar event in Belvidere was such a success that Rockford folks got the idea that we should replicate it here.

So, put Saturday, August 15th on your calendar to catch "A League of Their Own," the Penny Marshall film that introduced new generations to the Rockford Peaches. A perfect choice to debut Rockford's newest drive-in theater experience.

I did a little bit of historical digging on the topic of drive-in movie theaters, so here are a few nuggets you can share with your carload in case your speaker isn't working:

  • The first drive-in movie theater opened on June 6th, 1933 in Camden, New Jersey
  • The guy who came up with the concept of the drive-in movie theater was a New Jersey man named Richard Hollingshead. His mother had complained that movie theater seats were too uncomfortable.
  • Tickets for the first drive-in theater in New Jersey were 25 cents per car, 25 cents per passenger.
  • Drive-in theaters weren't called that at first. They were known as "park-in theaters."
  • The "golden age" of drive-ins happened in the 50s and 60s, with around 4,000 of them across the US.
  • There are roughly 300 drive-in theaters still in operation here in the US, but there are plans for several more to open within the next couple of years.


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