Amboys Drive-In

Victory Plaza,
South Amboy, NJ 08879

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Showing 1 - 25 of 37 comments

DRIVEIN101 on August 27, 2018 at 9:29 am

Final night of operation, according to the last known newspaper listing, was February 13, 1979 with “Smokey and The Bandit” and “Almost Summer”.

markp on October 17, 2017 at 10:50 am

The Drive in closed the first week of January 1979. Construction started on the 6 screen Amboys Cinemas thereafter. The 6 plex opened Dec 7, 1979.

NickyG on October 17, 2017 at 9:41 am

grew up in nearby Madison Park and some many movies there…remember the original Straw Dogs, was about 10 and went with my sister and her boyfriend…lot of violence for a young lad.

NYozoner on December 26, 2016 at 1:19 am

NJ-35 at Victory Plaza
South Amboy, NJ 08879

rivest266 on October 16, 2016 at 5:20 pm

This opened on July 11th, 1957. Its grand opening ad can be found in the photo section for this theatre.

Mikeoaklandpark on April 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm

It was open in th elate 70’s. By the time I stated going back and forth between NYC and PHila in 82 and 83 it was closed.

boomerjohn on April 26, 2012 at 9:37 am

I worked at the Amboy’s Drive-In during the summer of 1969. There used to be a children’s playground, with rides, at the base of the screen to keep the kids amused before the feature started. By ‘69 the only ride that was still in operation was the merry-go-round. One of my jobs was to operate this amusement. We changed the marquee weekly and also repaired speakers and heaters. We also stood guard at the exit gate on RT 35 to discourage folks from sneaking in. We sat in a lawn chair sorrounded by PIC mosquito repelant smoke rings. At closing we directed traffic out and occasionally had to chase out couples who were otherwise occupied. Yes it did show porn in it’s declining year and it was not unusual to see cars pulled over on the shoulder to take a peak. The authorties got involved and the theater died.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 11, 2010 at 7:08 pm

So right Bruddy all they know is 20 screen monsters.

Bruddy on August 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm

As a child growing up in the 1970s I went with my family to watch movies at the Amboy Drive-In. I vaguely remember that for at least one summer they showed all Disney movies. I saw Fantasia, Bambi, Dumbo, Mary Poppins, The Shaggy DA, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Herbie the Lovebug and a few others. I also remember catching bits of movies whenever my parents drove across the bridge at night from South Amboy to Perth Amboy. It’s truly a shame kids no longer experience the magic of drive-ins.

moog on May 31, 2007 at 8:44 am

Hi Ed. I remember you and your dad. I worked at Amboy from 89 thru 92. Not to go into a long history about myself but I also did the Rialto in Westfield under George Karros, a short run with the Essex local, Movie City pre Mega Movies Days, a rundown twin in Ocean Twp to help out and even Five Points in Union. I’m out of the business now with a pension job, but once in a while the Toto of “Cinema Paradiso” comes out and I look up at the booth with wonder. Theaters that I grew up with are not the palaces that Mr Karros worked but still hold childhood memories for me. GCC’s Menlo Park, Brunswick, Woodbridge and Madison Cinema. Also Cinema 9, The Walker Theater in Brooklyn, Radio City when they played movies and even the Turnpike Indoor.


Thundarr on May 30, 2007 at 3:23 pm

I knew Evelyn since my dad was a projectionist at the drive-in. I was probably 14 or even younger when I first remembered her. She always took care of me when I came with my dad. So I guess I knew her for about 30 odd years or so. She would let me play in the maintenance area of the concession stand with Prince, the German Shepard they had there. She was really a great person, and I am truly glad to have know her. I am saddened by her passing, she was a very kind heartered person, she will be missed.

moviebuff82 on May 29, 2007 at 9:35 am

May she rest in peace; did she ever meet Sumner Redstone and his daughter, who both own the family-owned company?

Vito on May 29, 2007 at 8:20 am

Evelyn was a big help to me when I ran the Amboy Multipex, she was very well liked by the staff and other managers. Because of her vast experience, Evelyn was able to mentor many of the new managers coming in, something she enjoyed doing. She was sick for quite a while but continued working, after the Amboy Multiplex closd Evelyn helped out for a while at the Hazlet Mutilpex. She will be missed.

moog on May 29, 2007 at 6:51 am

I am glad I had the opportunity to work with Evelyn Stephens who worked at the Drive In and the Multiplex. I enjoyed the stories from the outdoor days. Sadly, Evelyn passed away this past winter.


Vito on November 12, 2006 at 2:37 am

Good thing we got rid of that den-of-iniquity
As for “traffic flowing at a normal rate”, is that even possible?
more of an oxymoron. Thanks for that article : ))
We always had problems with folks making illegal exits from the theatre parking lot onto Route 35 heading north, somehing you were not permitted to do but folks did anyway. Then of course there is the bridge; which breaks down or gets stuck from time to time making a traffic mess. Getting to the theatre from the Garden State heading south was also an adventure if you did not know where you were going.

Vito on September 6, 2006 at 6:58 am

Barry, while I was not involved in the buiding of the Amboy Multiplex, I was very much involved in the buiding of several other National Amusement locations. Hazlet, for example, took about a year from the time the drive-in was closed in September 1991 to the opening of the Multiplex in August 1992. Much work and planning is needed beyond the actual construction of the theatre. National Amusements has a first rate construction department, one that I worked very closly with over the years, and I can assure you money problems, corruption, or ineptitude, did not play a part in the construction of Amboy. It simply just takes that long.

BarryMonush on September 6, 2006 at 6:26 am

The Amboys Drive-In closed in the fall of 1978 after a very long run of Cheech and Chong’s UP IN SMOKE. As I remember it, they torn down the screen and started building the new Amboys Multiplex by the end of that same year. I don’t know if there were problems, corruption, ineptitude, lack of money, or what-not but it took an entire year for them to complete the new building, which opened in time for the Christmas releases of 1979.

Vito on June 12, 2006 at 4:04 am

Ed, your dad was a total pro, he loved his work and made working with him an absolute pleasure. I very much enjoyed stopping by the booth and visiting with him with pad and pen in order to make sure Ted got what ever he needed to keep the booth running.
I don’t know if you and I worked together, there was a lot of employee turn around in the days I was at Amboy. I was Managing Director for a little under a year during 1991, before taking on the simultanous openings of Newark and Atco Multiples in December 1991.
Did you know your dad helped design one of the first interlocks?
Thanks to him, we were able to simultaniously run a single print on two screens, something that would become common in most theatres in years to come.

Thundarr on June 11, 2006 at 10:07 am

Well if you guys are still posting on this subject, then its confirmed that the projectionist was my dad, Theodore Hawley. My brother came across the site by accident and showed it to me what you guys were writing. Jerry , its been a very long time since I have seen you. Vito, I kinda think I remember you, but Amboy’s went through so many GM’s, I’m just not sure. You can send email to my junk email account, I check it on a regular basis, so feel free to write. And it was sad to see it all boarded up waiting for demolition. Wish I could go inside one last time to remember the place.

Vito on July 16, 2005 at 12:46 am

Thanks Jerry for getting his name right. Ted always had a smile and and a great disposition. You forgot to mention that great old automation board with the pins (diodes) which programmed the show,
the boys from National Cinema Service (the old RCA) were having trouble getting parts for that towards the end. You mentioned the two projectors in each theatre, the 70mm house, #7, still had the two 35/70 projectors right up to the theatre closing, for a while Ted would rotate using each of them with the platter. Did you work with Walter Titor on that installation? I was Managing Director in

JerryK on July 15, 2005 at 6:15 pm

Actually, his name was Ted Hawley. He was the business agent of Perth Amboy Local 379 during the time I worked at many of the local “houses”. I was involved in the installation of the film platters at the Amboy Mulitplexes when the theater was expanded from the original “6 plex” design in the mid 80’s. Up until that time, there were two projectors per theater utilizing 6000' reels instead of the normal 2000' reels. In this manner, only one change-over per showing was necessary, unless the movie ran over 2 hours. We removed one projector per theater and utilized these in the newly constructed “houses”. Then a film platter system was installed in each theater enabling a continuous run of the feature with no changeovers. Because of the platter system, an interlock system was made possible, allowing one print to be shown simultaneously in multiple auditoriums. Those always fun…..especially “threading up” the show! Fun days. :–)

Vito on July 12, 2005 at 12:38 am

That projectionist was Ted Healy,He was one of the best, very dedicated just an all around great guy. He created an interlock for four of the auditoriums at Amboy Cinemas and kept all of the projection equipment in top condition.

JerryK on July 11, 2005 at 4:09 pm

The Keyport Strand was a “neighborhood” theater located in the middle of Keyport. Believe it or not, I have nothing of the Amboy Drive-in! The projectionist who worked there was also the business agent for the local chapter of IATSE, the union which represented the local projectionists. After the drive-in closed and the multiplex was built, he worked there for many years, retiring in the early 90’s. He retired to Arizona and, sadly, passed away a few years later. He had some memorbilia from the old Amboys Drive-in, but I have no idea what became of his collection.