Plainfield Edison Drive-In

1659 Oak Tree Road,
Edison, NJ 08820

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Plainfield Edison Drive-In

Opened March 25, 1964 with Gregeory Peck & Tony Curtis in “Captain Newman”. It had parking for 1,400 cars and an indoor Edison Theatre which seated 1,000. The Edison Theatre was twinned December 3, 1976. This former UA drive-in closed on September 3, 1984 with Michael Caine in “Jigsaw Man” & Tom Selleck in “Lassiter”. It was afterward demolished and replaced by a strip mall.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

Roderick on February 21, 2015 at 6:45 pm

Jason and Mark – thanks for posting and sharing those memories!

Jason – this may seem an odd question but do you have any specific memories about that train ride under the screen? Such as what colors it may have been painted, whether it was lettered for the theater, and how it was used — ie, did it run before dark, or after dark during intermission between features?

You are the only person I have found who remembers it. I actually own a number of pieces of the identical train ride that was at the Turnpike Drive-In (East Brunswick), another UA Drive-In theatre, and would like to know what my train actually looked like.

If it was still running in 1967-68 that must have been near the very end. When I explored its weed-buried remains, under the screen in 1982, there were trees with a good three or four inch diameter trunk growing through the center of the tracks!

Also…on those Plainfield Edison concession bar memories…ah, yes…the pizza roll was my favorite! Must have been a really busy place at the height of the drive-in craze. I recall the snack bar had a double serve-yourself stainless steel tray shelf, on both sides of a center island where the hot food was waiting to be grabbed.

Hi Mark – you brought up the Menlo Park GCC. I had one of my very first jobs at that place, while still in school. I was an usher and would be scheduled for a seven or eight hour shift with no breaks. When I asked the manager about that, he said “I consider your job a break.” LOL!

I left because of a weird policy there at the time. One day a week, each usher took an 8 hour shift just popping popcorn in a small, hot, windowless room off to the side of the screen. No idea why they did not spread that job out a bit, so no one was stuck in that little room so long. You brought back a memory there!


markp on February 21, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Oh yes I remember that popcorn room very well. Thankfully when I worked there the manager put whoever he didnt like or who was under age to work long hours back there. I only did a few shifts back there in my years there.

jasonbourne on February 22, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Roderick, unfortunately i do not recall the colors of the trains. I also never got to ride it, but recall seeing it in operation. I remember the concession stand excatly as you described it. Yes, that drive-in had to be the place to go on weekends back at its peak. I remember being in an architect’s office and seeing the rendering for this very drive-in. I saw it in his office back in the late 80’s. It was a full sized framed painting and must have been the conceptual picture of what the theatre would look like when it wss built. Funny, I recall staring at that picture and all my memories of that place played out in my head. Those were certainly good times, when family values and togetherness meant something.

jasonbourne on February 22, 2015 at 12:23 pm

We all must have been travelling in the same circles, or at least very close. While you guys worked the vinema, i was next door working at Roy Rodgers,1976-1978. When your movie let out on a Friday or Saturday night it was like a flood at Roy’s. In fact, our store did the highest $ sales in NJ, no doubt thanks to your theatre. We would close Roys and go to Jack in the Box on Parsonage across from the mall. Life was so simple then.

NickyG on August 10, 2015 at 11:27 am

saw Mark of the Devil and another horror flick I can’t remember somtime in the 70s…also, I worked at the Turnpike Indoor/Outdoor in 79 and 1 nite had to drive bags of popocorn to this place (both UA owned) and it was a rainy nite and I almost got creamed at the notoriously dangerous Green Street circle

Paul on October 11, 2016 at 3:16 pm

I grew up in the area, but never went to this drive-in; I was too young when it closed, but I remember driving down Oak Tree Road with my parents from Edison into Iselin and checking out the movie that was visible on the big screen as you came down the hill. I thought that was so cool. Thanks for posting this and to all the other commenters; it brought back great memories.

rivest266 on October 22, 2016 at 1:20 pm

This opened on March 25th, 1964. I uploaded the grand opening ad and an aerial of the indoor theatre.

rivest266 on October 23, 2016 at 9:57 am

This drive-in complex had three screens. The December 3rd, 1976 grand opening ad for the indoor twin can be found in the photo section for this cinema.

DRIVEIN101 on September 26, 2018 at 8:59 am

Final night of operation for the drive-in was September 3, 1984 with “Jigsaw Man” and “Lassiter”. That was also the final night for another Middlesex County drive-in, the Turnpike.

davidcoppock on September 27, 2018 at 6:00 am

Why the Plainfield part of the name?

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