Courier-Post from Camden, New Jersey on June 9, 1985 · Page 6
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Courier-Post from Camden, New Jersey · Page 6

Camden, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 9, 1985
Page 6
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6A COURIER-POST, Sunday, June 9, 1985 New attention focused on inventor of drive-in theater Continued from Page 1A However, it started a trend that helped the movie industry weather the Depression and blossomed into a vital part" of America's mid-1950s love affair with the automobile. Hollingshead was 75 when he died on May 13, 1975. Ottinger remains determined to see he gets the recognition that never came to him in life. She wrote regularly to the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, urging it to award Hollingshead a posthumous Oscar for his contributions to the movie industry. "He never even got an acknowledge-ment, and I think it's unfair and unjust." Ottinger said. "The movie industry would have gone down the dram during the Depression were it not for the drive-in theater." A degree of belated recognition may be coming to Hollingshead at last. Jan Krawitz, a filmmaker and assistant professor of communications at theUni versity of Texas at Austin, was in the South JerseyPhiladelphia area this week researching a film on Hollingshead and the development of drive-in theaters. Sheexpects to return to the area and begin filming in mid-July. ,. Richard M. Hollingshead Jr. was vs: 7 ' ?s -i I I Li L : LAURA OTTINGER . . .wants ex-employer recognized born, if not into great wealth, then at least into comfortable circumstances. His father launched his business career before the turn of the century by making harness dressing compound for cleaning and shining the harnesses and other leather gear essential to the nation's horse-drawn transportation network. From mixing harness dressing on his mother's kitchen table, Hollingshead Sr. made the transition to the automo- RICHARD M. HOLLINGSHEAD JR. . . .opened first drive-in theater bile age. Soon the R.M. Holligshead Corp. was manufacturing car polishes and other car care products under the brand name "Whiz" from its plant at 9th and Cooper streets in Camden. The company was doing business in 139 countries when Laura Ottinger joined the firm as Hollingshead Jr.'s secretary in 1953. The Hollingshead Corp. subsequently was absorbed by the Litton Industries conglomerate. As the son of a successful man, Richard M. Hollingshead Jr. grew up with what Ottinger says was an undeserved reputation as a playboy. Playboy or not, the junior Holllng-shead's entrepreneurial spirit did not flag when the stock market crashed in October 1929, plunging the world into the Great Depression. The financially battered R.M. Hollingshead Corp. was taken over by a bank in 1932, and both father and son found themselves out of work. Richard M. Hollingshead III, now a Sacramento, Calif., business executive, recalled that his 33-year-old father realized there were two things people would fight to keep despite the Depression. "He figured that even during the Depression, the last two things people were willing to give up were their cars and going to the movies. He decided he was going to come up with an idea to put these two things together," he said. The idea was the drive-in theater, and Hollingshead Jr. tried out his idea by setting a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of the family car and projecting pictures onto a screen nailed to a tree in the yard of his home at 212 Thomas Ave. in Riverton. He tested his idea, even to the extent of evaluatingits foul weather potential by showing a film in the "rain" created by a lawn sprinkler. The concept seemed sound enough to justify a major Investment, even in the teeth of the Depression. With the financial backing of his cousin, Willis W. Smith, Hollingshead Jr. formed Park-In Theaters Inc. and opened the Automobile Movie Theater, the nation's first drive-in theater, on a 10-acre site near Airport Circle and the old Central Airport. The Automobile Movie Theater had spaces for 400 cars when it opened on Junes, 1933. Patrons paldfl per caror 2 5 cents per person to see what the Courier-Post then described as "abridged features, with all the dull or uninteresting parts omitted." Speakers were mounted atop the 60-foot high screen, which did not provide very good sound for the patrons and annoyed nearby residents. Hollingshead Jr. later tried installing the speakers in the ground beneath the cars but that didn't work either, and the drive-in theater industry had to wait many more years until the development of in-car speakers and heaters which kept them going during the winter. The essential design feature of drive-in theaters parking the cars in concentric, curved rows tilted at about a five-degree angle to insure clear vision even from the back seat was patented by Hollingshead Jr. ' ; The drive-in theater industry grew; slowly. The effects of the Depression and later World War II with its driving restrictions undoubtedly contributed ; to the concept's relatively slow( growth. Other analysts, however, blame part of the reason for the slow growth on Park-In Theatres Inc's enforcement of its patent rights and its insistence on ' charging other theater builders i , licensing fee for using the design. In 1949, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Hollingshead Jr.'s idea was unpatentable. The ruling came practi- t cally on the eve of the great post-war automobile boom, and those two devel-, opments fueled the explosive growth ; of the drive-in movie Industry and made the theaters a part of the Amerl-' can highwayscape. Richard M. Hollingshead Jr. retired from business Feb. 25, 1964. He died of. cancer at his home in Villanova on May ! 13, 1975, without the recognition that; seems to be coming his way at last. Since then, 103 U.N. troopers have"1 been killed or died in accidents and nearly 150 wounded. Shore taxpayers making waves over jetty Continued from Page 1A approximate half million tons of rock through the tiny island and the local share of the lunding. To date,. he has garnered support froni Mayor Henry J. Ghigliotty, Jr. and the DEP and has been successful on two of the three counts. Funding -still remains unresolved and is the major obstacle to setting a firm construction date. Originally, the federal government planned to foot the entire bill. But in January, the secretary of the Army altered the picture dramatically by proposing that 75 percent of the funding come from some mix of state, county and local sources, said Bernard Moore, chief of the DEP's Bureau of Coastal Engineering. Although the state is continuing to lobby for the federal government to pay 100 percent, Moore said it is pre pared to come up with $9 million or 25 percent from the 1983 Shore Protection Bond Act toensure its completion. In addition, he said state officials hope to sweeten the pot by getting another $3 million from Ocean County, boosting the non-federal share to one-third. ; , Contrary to the fears of the taxpayers' association. Moore said the local share would not be borne by Barncgat Light residents alone. Rather, it would be divided equally among 34 municipalities in the county. "The project is in limbo right now because of funding. But I feel it must be done no matter what. The park is a considerable moneymaker and the state will lose out financially, but we're prepared to make that sacrifice to get it done," said Moore. The fact that the federal government has appropriated $5 million in start-up funds is a clear sign that work will begin in the near future, said Moore, speculating that it could start as early as next spring. Moore said the state feels .strongly that the federal government should pay the tab because the inlet was improperly designed and constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in first place. "Some mistakes take longer than others to find out, but I think this was known to be a design deficiency as soon as it was built in the '30s. At that time, Ihp PhiLiifelnhia district of thp Armv Corps proposed the same design that is being considered now. But the powers that be overruled them," said Moore. Consequently, two jetties of varying sizes were built in a V-shape, creating an irregular flow of water. As a result, dangerous shoals develop and must be dredged regularly to maintain adequate depths in the channel. "The funnel-shaped design does not move the water quickly enough to move the sand. Sand bars create depth problems and waves thatcrashallover the place. Even with the dredging, it's difficult to maintain a channel depth of 8 feet,." said Moore. To compensate for the shoaling, the Army Corps of Engineers spends between $200,000 and $500,000 a year in dredging, said John Tunncll, chief of coastal and special studies with the Philadelphia district of the Army Corps of Engineers. Although the plan has been under "active consideration" since the mid-Itfifta Tiinnplt rlsrrihvt the ttm lo as typical of Corps projects from "con cept ion to inception." Upon completion, he estimated an annual cost benefit of $3 million from increased marine traffic, cheaper operating costs and reduced dam ages. The new design calls for the creation of two parallel jettiesof equal size. The existing north jetty will be elevated to 10 feet above the mean water line, but its position will remain the same. The south jetty, which currently is under water during most high tides, will be re-positioned and erected to the same height. The width of the channel will be doubled to 150 feet and dredged to a controlling depth of 10 to 12 feet deep. At the request of the Barnegat Light i Taxpayers' Association, the new Jetty will not ha ve a fenced-in fishing pier or a concrete slab surface to invite tourists. Another concession is that Jetty stones will be barged to he construction site rather than trucked through town. "Frankly, residents see this as a nuisance. Parking near thepark already is horrendous and they fear that improvements or added facilities will only aggravate the situation further. But even without the fishing pier, we expect commercial and pleasure boating traffic to increase significantly once the inlet is made safer," said Moore. The Barnegat Light State Park, situated on 31 acres of beach front, is the smallest of the state's 30 parks. However, it ranks sixth in the number of visitors and 15th in revenue generated. Each year the tiny park, which was built in 1954 when the lighthouse was converted into a museum, attracts more than 300,000 visitors and generates average revenues of $60,000, said James Leon, a consultant with the Division of Parks and Forestry. The cornerstone of the park is a 1 65-foot, red and white lighthouse that has been a beacon for boaters since 1858. For years, the state has expressed interest in expanding the park, but the taxpayers' association has remained staunchly opposed. "We want to keep this a small, historical site which is the reason it was built in the first place," Sleeper said. "We don't need another major recreational area because Island Beach Park is located just across the inlet. There's limited fishing at the lighthouse park already. We . feel another huge fishing pier is just a gradual step toward expansion and increasing tourism. For all I know, this new jetty design could be another white elephant. But that's not our major concern." DALE CARNEGIE COURSE OVERCOME STRESS A TENSION Eftocltv Spefcrf9-Human Rjtattonft-St1 Conft-dnc-Mmory TratmnQ-SaUmg Your Meat BE OUR GUEST AT A FREE PREVIEW MEETING 6 30 PM Wed . June 1?lti or Wed . June 19th SHERATON POSTE INN RT. 70 A 295, CHERRY HILL FcmMroftmATKMSMinvATicmt CALL 428-3067 Presented by Wynn Erier t Attoc. Inc. 1500 Kings Highway, Cherry Hill. NJ INCREASE YOUR SALES! DALE CARNEGIE SALES COURSE RomsMM burnt ligrlala Um trial elewnea Men eemtminf MM Mka And Mora f OOW OUftT AT AT rul MEVIf W MEITIM 6 30 PM Mi. Jmm II. Tlwt apt 1) Or Mm Am if Shoralon Poala Inn Routa 70 A 2i. Cherry Mi. NJ For Reservations Call 428-3567 Prtttnted by Wynne Etter I Amoc, Inc. 1500 Kings Highway, Cherry Hill, NJ l 1 Nt. A II I I III -rsn V''T' I 1 1- T-TVooubie ooo7 r 1 h ( ("( l1) jit 15131 sifR fmm W iftiv-sassE sale I ?wMr li'SEriH ,' .( studio kitchen yiVI I J '1 .fl' .i ,i- PRICELESS - World's biggest kitchen retailer comes to Camden County. Thousands of cabinets from stock to take away -superb displays. mm mm This quality single bowltingle drainer polished stainless steel Inset slnktop is yours absolutely C O P C? lAfhaUl uu hiiu miM aautl base unit. Current in-store I J jfAfa? price $47.95 M.L $85.95 But I Jja only until 6.7.85 SIN 3801 1 PER STORE HURRY IN! FIRST COME, nRStSERVED.yjplyJ TfySi seeourfulT I nOilWs -1 ?WSREDU,:TI0NS l- MJ ! ' i European ;H;f v. j r-1 hMfifc bhrtT8 T-'-nml' rr r- IN TOWN I kmp.for rv &rf -5rl M&jMmMLRFIZ fe-z.j "BmTZjT'i iwa' t i u marlborough ErSK Xtti- r l"or' sale I Ep ; umfEt ti'tr rWTHPL 9''pws rt sitiK. a 111" - ; vjy "ptry stains ani m I nt..w r- y ' j .j- T- -rr. ,.,.1 n -rtnirmiumriiL I l ' ' - .1-n,,,,l''',i f7-A " Ml V MEJL MON-SAT Route 30- Cuthbcrt Boulevard 'JSL ,609,tt!i!So caisi World LCITCHENs f tr U V- it w : 1

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