On June 30, 1956, the Loew’s Route 35 Drive-In theater first opened in Hazlet. New Jersey has a long history with drive-ins, with the very first true drive-in theater having opened in 1933 in Camden. During the “Golden Age” of drive-ins (1950’s – 60’s), there were over 4,000 theaters across the U.S. There are still approximately 325 drive-in theaters operating in the United States.
The Route 35 drive-in was the first Loews Theatres open-air theater in the state, built to be the ultimate family-safe destination, with free admission for kids, boardwalk food like hot dogs in addition to popcorn and candies, and even restrooms. Rising real-estate prices, the advent of multiplex indoor theaters, and the video casette recorder, all led to the demise of drive-ins, and the Loew’s theater in Hazlet closed on September 4, 1991, and was demolished. It was the last of the Golden Age drive-ins in New Jersey.
Sullivan, Joseph F. (1991) The Last Drive-In in New Jersey Is Fading to Black. The New York Times, New York, N.Y., Aug. 31, 1991, Section 1, P. 23. Available: https://www.nytimes.com/1991/08/31/nyregion/the-last-drive-in-in-new-jersey-is-fading-to-black.html
History of Drive-in Theaters. Available: https://www.driveinmovie.com/history-of-drive-ins