Plainfield Edison Drive-In

1659 Oak Tree Road,
Edison, NJ 08820

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This former UA drive-in closed in September 1984 and was afterward demolished and replaced by a strip mall.

Contributed by RobertR

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

markp on October 23, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Just curious, it was an old UA indoor/outdoor. If the indoor was 2, which it was after twinningt, and the drive in was a single screen, shouldnt it be listed as 3 screens? And then there would still be the seat count for the indoor.

jasonbourne on February 19, 2015 at 5:20 pm

What a great theatre. My memories are only good and very,very vivid. First movie i recall seeing was “THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE Ugly”, to this day when i watch that movie i see Tucco’s face on that big outdoor screen running through the cemetary. Other movies i saw there; The Sound Of Music, indoor thetare. “PATTON”, outdoors, “Live and Let Die”, indoors. My first drive in car date was there in my 1971 Olds Cutlass, funny thing though i cant recall what movie we saw, but i dont think thats why we went to the movies. God i miss those vinyl bench front seats, they were so comfortable and roomy. Back to the movies; the very lastmovie they showed was “The Last Starfighter” which was indoors, and i think i saw it close to the last day they operated, by myself just because. I do remember the train under the screen, it was very cool and in operation in 1967-1968. I will always cherish my mrmories of this place and often frequent this location, and even though it has changed drastically, i can still see that train under the movie screen. And before i go, i must mention that indoor concession stand with their foil wrapped hamburgers and hot dogs, and most importantly my steel canned 10 oz Yoo hoo drink. No Yoo hoo drink since has ever tasted as good. Sorry for rambling, but i guess i’m showing my age.

markp on February 20, 2015 at 5:39 am

By all means, keep rambling. I do it all the time, having been a projectionist for over 39 years. I had a good friend who worked here in the late 70’s, at the same time I worked at the Menlo Park and Woodbridge Twins. We would always let their staff in for free and they would let ours in for free. Those old theatres and drive ins beat any multiplex of today.

jasonbourne on February 20, 2015 at 7:36 am

Menlo Park Cinema was another of the best! Saw Star Wars (4) times there. Having Roy Rodgers next door only made it one of the best movie date destinations. Keep your 3D and Surround Sound, I’ll take a drive-in with a metal speaker hanging on my car window anytime.

markp on February 20, 2015 at 2:18 pm

I cant stand 3D. I was the last projectionist to work at Menlo Park. I started there during Star Wars.

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

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