Keysville Drive-In
134 - 360 Highway
Keysville, VA. 23947

On May 16, 1933, Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. received  U. S. Patent number 1,909,537 for a drive-in theater, which he had experimented with in his driveway in Riverton, New Jersey.  Thhe first drive-in was opened in Pennsauken in June of 1933.  Drive-ins began to appear across the states and between 1938 and 1939 12 drive-ins were opened in nine states including Virginia.  Sound was the biggest problem with early drive-ins, but RCA introduced the in-car speakers in 1941, featuring individual volume control, thus solving the audio problems of previous operations.  Now the family could enjoy a movie in the complete privacy of the family automobile.

The peak of popularity of drive-ins was reached in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, with almost 4000 being opened in the U.S., particularly in rural areas.  As of 2013 that number had dwindled to less than 360, and it is now a rarity to find a working drive-in, of which Keysville still ranks as operational, having opened in 1952, closed for a time in the 1990’s and now back in business.

Many a Saturday night, we children waited impatiently for the dark of night to descend and the first flickers of light to illuminate the screen which would transport us to distant adventures, if only for a few hours.  A trip, during intermission, to the snack bar was unrivaled as the senses were bombarded with the smells of dogs and burgers, fresh popcorn and all manner of candies. Bright lights and neon flooded the vision and the imagination soared at the sight of posters of upcoming attractions.

Movie marquee

Projection room and snackbar

Owner and ticket-taker Mark Frank

Matt Austin, Laura King Austin, Nathan King, Kayle Austin, Brittany Austin
3 generations of movie goers

Employee April Napier steam table

Employee Alice Challender at counter

Decision time

Just a little bit longer and it's adventure time