The Absecon Drive-In is one of the reasons I will drive the White Horse Pike all the way to Atlantic City instead of taking the AC Expressway. Driving by the partial screen makes me smile (and often slow down a bit) every time.
The Walter Reade Theater Company built the Absecon Drive-In. They were a big theater company in and around New Jersey, building both indoor cinemas and drive-ins. Originally based out of Asbury Park, NJ, Walter Reade, followed by his son Walter Reade, Jr., opened the Absecon Drive-In in 1955. The historic aerials offers a neat view from 1957. According to Billboard Magazine (April 1955), the Absecon Drive-In was set to open on Decoration Day (http://books.google.com/books?id=BhwEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA73&lpg=PA73&dq=absecon+drive-in+theater+1955&source=bl&ots=T31dXFofJR&sig=9NAR-gFmjD4oa37LwIjhGW7lASY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=OTY7VP7gCNeiyAT68oJA&ved=0CEAQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=absecon%20drive-in%20theater%201955&f=false)…although “Decoration Day” is not a holiday I’m familiar with, nor could I figure out what it celebrated!
In 1964 Frank Theaters purchased the Absecon Drive-In (Source: email with Bruce Frank, CEO of Frank Theaters). Mr. Frank said that the screen is made of masonry board and was painted white.
Several online sources state that Milgram Theaters owned the Absecon Drive-in in 1964. I will stick with my statement that Frank Theaters owned the drive-in: 1. Bruce Frank is my source. 2. Milgram theaters was locally based, but connected with Fox Theaters (not Walter Reade or the Franks).
The theater closed in 1983, according to public comments online.
My Experience (1/5/2013):
The Absecon Drive-In is directly off Route 30, aka the White Horse Pike. We parked at the gate that blocks the entrance road and snapped some photos from afar. I did not want to risk being questioned by authority, nor trek out through the weeds. Even though it is used as a storage site, numerous people have taken photos close, and it was once a drive-in, the area behind is a marsh (wetlands). I’d rather not sink!
Unfortunately my idea for the blog did not occur early enough for me to get photos pre- Hurricane Sandy. The screen suffered severe damage after the hurricane.
If you ever take the Atlantic City Line for NJ Transit you can also see the screen from the other side. That was neat to see a different view (and at a high speed).