Revisit abandoned drive-in theaters that haunt America's roadsides

They've got no cars and it's breaking my heart.

The first drive-in theater invited folks to pull on up to enjoy the film in 1933. What Park-In Theaters off Crescent Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey, started sparked a nationwide craze that saw drive-ins pop up all over America, particularly through the '50s and '60s.

Although kids these days seem to prefer to stream movies from a screen that fits in their palms, back then, it was a time when movie screens towered over couples and families cuddled in their cars, enjoying the night's feature crammed all together.

As drive-in theaters across the U.S. have slowly shut down over time, it's left behind empty fields and abandoned screens that litter roadsides in towns everywhere. Scenes like that are what enticed photographer Craig Deman to take a trip down memory lane to revisit these old sites and document what he found in place of all those old drive-ins.

Deman started off in his home state of California, he told CNN Travel, but soon his fascination with old drive-ins took him further and further, through Colorado, Nevada, Tennessee, and more. The result is part of a series Deman calls "Endangered Icons," and it's mesmerizing for anyone who ever pulled their car into an open field to take in the night's picture show.

See the full gallery of abandoned drive-in theaters here.

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JudithSweigartShaffer 46 months ago
Our church in FL was an old drive in movie in the 50s. It is now the Drive-In Christian Church.
skyvue 65 months ago
It would have been nice if the authors of this story had mentioned that there are still more than 300 operating drive-ins in the United States. Nostalgia for closed drive-ins is fine, but let's also celebrate the ones that are still thriving. Drive-ins are decidedly NOT dead.
ndebrabant 65 months ago
So sad. Loved going to drive-ins back in the day. Was a wonderful experience.
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