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I drove by here about 2 weeks ago. It is far from ready to reopen. I have no idea what the delay is, but the windows were covered with brown paper and there was no sign of activity. Sad because this place holds a special place in my heart.
Yes you do remember that theatre. I was never a big fan of the additions they did that kept making that hallway from cinema 1 up to 9 and 10 so long. If you had to use the restroom it was like a half mile walk, LOL. The job in Pru center is ok. But its more for young guys, not someone like me whos gonna be 58 years old in 3 months.
Ccano, as I said way earlier, I believe, my father and uncle were both projectionists and member of the IATSE union for many years. When I was 16 I started to apprentice to join the union, and got in in Jan 1980. I then worked full time at the job of projectionist in numerous theaters (37 different locations at last count) until digital projection finally put me out of work I’m May 2013. I am now a part time stage hand at the Prudential Center in Newark. Unfortunately there are no more jobs in projection as everything is run by computer. Should I be lucky enough to get movies going at the Brook Theatre in Bound Brook then there will be a little something there, but its gonna be a while. As I have told others like you, and its not meant in a bad way, but you just came to the party too late. And yes, let me know if you ever find out how to gain access.
Ccano, no unfortunately nothing physical. When I was in there it was to remove 2 screens and a sound rack for the Ritz Theatre in Elizabeth, which unfortunately never allowed me to get either installed and I haven’t been back there since 2010. I would have loved to have one of those sound racks and projector lamphouses as I am trying to return movies to the Brook Theatre in Bound Brook. But I’m sure after 11 years of sitting in cold and dampness, the stuff probably only good for scrap now.
Not to doubt what anyone here is saying, but I thought when they put us old film projectionists out of work with digital that the reason was sharper images, and stable pictures. Now digitals not good enough?? Sort of makes me glad I’m out of the business and only do occasional projection work now.
I was a projectionist at a porn theatre in NJ thru most of the 1980’s. I use to get film prints from here. I knew the owner . He owned many of the porn theatres in the area. The Deluxe in Brooklyn. The Globe in the Bronx. The Polk in Queens. Cinema 9 in Sayreville NJ. The Sayrewoods in Old Bridge NJ where I worked. The Harem on 42nd St. The Montauk in Passaic NJ. The films would just move around each week from one theatre to the next.
Should have left this there instead of whats in its place.
I’m guessing they demolished the multiplex and this is all new build?
Ccano, at the time I got in, Dec 2008, the theatre was still under the ownership (and probably still is) of National Amusements. They also owned the Hazlet Multiplex. When the above mentioned stuff was removed, managers from Hazlet had keys and access to the building. When Hazlet was sold to Rave, then Cinemark, the NA managers were either let go or transferred or continued to work there but access to Amboys was gone. And as far as safety, I would bet that if water is pouring in thru the a/c units the ceiling must be collapsing. I watched the original 6 being built, and helped to install the seats and some projection equipment way back in 1979. I think as you mentioned before, either the city or the realtor listed on the marquee would know how to gain access. I myself am curious what it must look like.
SNdoniB_1999, all I can tell you about the inside from the last time I was in there, Dec 2008, was at that time, 3 years after closing, there was already a strong musty smell in the theatres. The screens in theatres 8 and 14 were removed and taken to another theater. The projection room had several projectors confiscated for parts for other theatres. The sinkhole in the lobby was still there. The screen in cinema 10 has a piece cut out of it. Since then, if you drive by you can see that the a/c units have been destroyed by vandels stealing the copper, as well as the projection exhaust fans. I’m sure the place must be full of water and mold. Also the tidal surge from Sandy reached all the way up to the exit doors for cinemas 1 & 2. I don’t know if this will help you at all, but that’s about it.
Ccano my father was a union projectionist for 55 years before retiring in Dec 1992. He passed in Oct 93. My uncle was a projectionist for 52 years passing in 1991. I knew all the projectionists in the union and visited almost all the theatres, some of which, including Amboys I ended up working in. I started to apprentice in summer 1976. The rest is history. I can remember almost all the theatres and dates I worked. Many are overlapped, meaning I may have worked more than one job a week. That was the case thru the 80’s when I worked days at the Sayrewoods adult theatre by day (which is on here and I posted a photo of that projection room) and nights at Amboys, Menlo Park or Woodbridge.
I myself wouldn’t mind seeing what it looks like. I helped install the seats in the original 6 cinemas way back in 1979. And as my wife says, you wouldn’t want to get me started on my stories, lol. You would need a change of clothes cause once I get going, I don’t know when to stop.
Ccano, one of my biggest regrets in my 40 years as a projectionist was not having the foresight to look ahead. I thought all the theatres I worked at would be around forever. Sadly I don’t have any photos of anything Amboys. I have a few of the old Menlo Park Twin Cinema, and the Sayrewoods theatre projection room and that’s it. And I worked in probably 35 or more different theatres over the years. All I have are the memories.
I keep telling people I would like to see it return to something of its former glory. A 4 screen drive in. People tell me I’m crazy, but hey, why not? 2 large screens towards the river, 2 smaller ones by the old circle. Open it from March till end of October, It would be a gold mine. But that’s just me.
I was in there way back in Dec 2006 to remove a screen and sound system for another theatre. The fill under the lobby eroded, possibly due to a leaking sewer line and the floor collapsed. Until the Hazlet Cinemas was taken over by Cinemark, the managers there had the keys and access to the theatre. But for many years now no one has access, and no one has a clue what it looks like. If you drive by you can see the a/c units have been stripped for the copper so I’m sure water is getting in. And the tidal surge from Sandy did reach the rear exit doors for Cinemas 1 & 2. The only thing good for this building is for it to be demolished. And it hurts me to say this as I worked there for over 20 years.
Looking at the films, I can tell you that 3 years ago I ran “Adventures of Robin Hood” on 35mm in New Jersey. I also ran “Wizard of Oz” as both film and DCP. When I ran “North By Northwest” it was a Blu-ray.
I am so happy that I got to see the last 70MM film projected there “Interstellar”. The picture and sound was amazing. It is a shame this place couldn’t hang on.
All the 70MM equipment put in the theatres after Hateful8 was removed and put back in storage. The quick disconnect wiring was left in place. I was smart enough while at the Regal E-Walk to make a notation of the package number I ran, so if I’m lucky enough to get called again next summer, I know what to ask for. Was problem free the entire 2 weeks.
digital3d, Thank You. I come from a family of union projectionists. My father was one for 55 years, my uncle for 54. I’m in my 40th this year. I only do the occasional movie now that everything is digital. It was a great run though.
I’m sure if you go to the wildwood town hall of records they should have info on who owns it. I would love to see this place back up and running.
xbs2034, perhaps you should have seen Hateful 8 at the Regal E-Walk where I ran it. Properly framed every time, no sound issues, and I was the only theatre out of the 4 in NYC that ran it that NEVER once used the digital back up. That’s what 40 years as a projectionist gets you. Just sayin.
Tonight on cable channel Viceland, they were inside the abandoned mall, and showed pictures of the inside of the theatre. It showed the old GCC white backed Griggs chairs, the old white formica vending machine wall and candy stand.
Too bad they don’t do this more often.
rcdt55b, that was a complaint of mine when the movie started. The image wasn’t touching the bottom masking and from my seat on the stage left side there was a motor chain bag hanging in the image upper right. The movie looked fantastic. I was under the balcony. I was gonna ask if they shot it to the screen from the booth or in the seating area. You answered my question. Also I was curious, and you certainly do not have to answer, but was it a digital ingest, or……
I thought his funniest story was the one about him and the late Bill Cullen.