Blue Star Cinema

1701-65 US Highway 22,
Watchung, NJ 07060

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Showing 1 - 25 of 35 comments

markp
markp on October 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm

This week marks 16 years since this theatre closed. A question: If the original theatre was 1250 seats, shouldn’t the seat count be higher since they added an addition to the building in the early 70’s ? I think that was a 500 seat addition? Maybe rrettino would know.

rrettino
rrettino on June 12, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Adamsdad-Thanks for the info. I knew it opened sometime in late 63 or early 64 because I saw It’s A Mad, Mad….World there in the winter of 64. It’s ironic that I ending up working there part time as a projectionist from 1977 until the day it closed in 1998.

Adamsdad
Adamsdad on May 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Blue Star Shopping Center opened in 1959.

Groundbreaking for the 1,250-seat theater was August 22, 1963 (“Watchung”, by David B. Page)

unclejay73
unclejay73 on April 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Growing up in Newark, there were three or four theaters that were closer to me than the Blue Star Cinema. When I did travel far, I always went to the Menlo Park Cinema. The first time I went to the Blue Star was in January of ‘87…to see “Little Shop of Horrors”, I thought it was a cool theater so I started going there for a bit, saw “Lethal Weapon”, “Hunt for Red October”, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, “Strange Days”…few others. The last film I saw there, I went on a date to see “Great Expectations”…I think it closed shortly after that.

shany94
shany94 on May 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Saw many movies here over the years – Superman, Firebirds, Batman, The Crow, True Lies, Eraser, The Rocketeer – too many to name. It was one of the theaters of choice when I was a kid growing up in north Jersey. I do remember going to Blue Star in 1998 to see the new Godzilla film, but was told the projector wasn’t working – little did I know the place was about to close for good.

markp
markp on March 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I worked here as a projectionist from 1992 thru 94.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Another Great General Cinema.

joker
joker on June 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm

there is a facebook page Remember The Blue Star Cinema theres photos too here is the link View link

Jamestow
Jamestow on March 25, 2010 at 12:10 am

i saw many movies at Blue Star, the most memorable being Apocalypse Now. Spent a lot of my youth at E J Korvettes, and Blue Star Bowling Lanes. Also bought cards at the knitting store near Korvettes. I couldn’t go to the SC until I got my license in 1966.
Before then, when to the Plainfield theaters that TC refers to. Many childhood Saturday matinees at the Strand and buying candy at Sav-On Drugs next store because it was cheaper. It’s all gone now.
I grew up in North Plainfield and now live in Westfield.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on March 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Any photos anyone?

jbh1372
jbh1372 on June 7, 2009 at 10:03 am

I went there every weekend as a teen ager. You had to call for the movie times – the number was always busy so you had to dial it a thousand times to get thru. I can still remember it – 908-322-7007! Next door was a head shop called “forever changes” . Our parent forbid us to go in but we would get dropped off early for the movies so we could go and look at the “paraphanalia”.

verranth1
verranth1 on October 18, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Blue Star Cinema Tribute Group formed!

A tribute to Central New Jersey Movie Theaters that brought happiness to thousands of people but have sadly been demolished. The theaters may be gone but the memory lives on and here is a place were we can discuss, reminisce, and remember.

This group can also be open to other thetheaters the surrounding areas such as Somerville, Plainfield, Westfield and other areas of Somerset County. Please feel free to post your stories and in particular any ads, photos or memorabilia you may have. Many Thanks and…enjoy the show!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MenloBlueStarCinemas

verranth1
verranth1 on May 4, 2008 at 11:05 pm

The theatre is not demolished nor is it “Micheals Crafts” – it’s a store called TUESDAY MORNING – the area is gutted but I believe some of the outside design (white bricks) are the same….they even may use the old front exit doors – not sure…more to come..

swampy
swampy on January 8, 2008 at 12:41 am

Growing up in nearby New Providence meant quite a few trips to Blue Star with Korvettes and Two Guys nearby.I do remember taking a ½ day from work and going to see Aliens the day it opened.As a youngster my dad would take me to the Strand in Summit,Gone with the wind……
Iv always loved movie theaters!In fact i volunteer now at the beautiful Loews Jersey in Jersey city.
Good luck with the website! PS…I live In Green Brook now!

verranth1
verranth1 on January 3, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Website Dedicated to Menlo Park and Blue Star Cinemas.

I am in the very early stages of starting a small website dedicated to the memories of the General Cinemas owned MENLO PARK CINEMA and BLUE STAR CINEMA, both formerly located in Central New Jersey.

Both movie theatres were a haven for me as a child and adolescent and judging from responses on this website, they meant a great deal to many others as well.

If anyone has photos, or ads or stories they would like to share â€" I would of course give full credit. I am especially looking for any exterior and interior photos.

You can reach me at:

Many Thanks.

Anthony (formerly of Green Brook, NJ)

SPOK
SPOK on September 21, 2007 at 11:38 pm

Up until the Berkeley Cinema was built, Blue Star Cinemas was the closest theater to home. As other people have noted in their postings the cinema started out with a large auditorium that was eventually carved into smaller theaters.

My experience with Blue Star Cinemas is broken into two distinct phases. The first consists of the 1960s and early 1970s when I traditionally found myself at the movies with my parents. Beginning with James Bond’s LIVE AND LET DIE in 1973 I started going to Blue Star on my own or with friends.

It is difficult to even remember all the movies I saw at Blue Star as a kid. THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN AND THEIR FLYING MACHINES, BEATLES YELLOW SUBMARINE, HIGH WINDS IN JAMAICA, KRAKATOA – EAST OF JAVA, THE CHRISTMAS THAT ALMOST WASN’T, 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, and many more. As noted earlier the big change for me came with LIVE AND LET DIE. At that time an old retired school bus, painted blue, ran an irregular service from downtown Berkeley Heights to Blue Star. The problem was that you were almost always guarantied that the bus would pick you up by the Berkeley Heights police station get you to the Blue Star Shopping Center, but the bus schedule was far less reliable when you needed a return trip. For the Bond movie my parents attended the same showing, but my brother, a couple friends and I insisted on walking down to the bus stop and making our own way to the theater.

I have a lot of memories from that second phase of movie going. THE EAGLE HAS LANDED, STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE, BLACK SUNDAY, THE ELECTRIC COWBOY, HEAVEN CAN WAIT, were just a few of the movies I had the pleasure of seeing at Blue Star. In fact, I saw APOCALYPSE NOW during the cinema’s New Year’s Eve late show. I also caught THE BIG RED ONE on the big screen.

At the time I worked at the Berkeley Cinema and we supposedly had an agreement with Blue Star that their employees could enter our theater free of charge and that we could do the same at Blue Star. The managers traded lists of their employee names. Unfortunately I found out, much to my chagrin, that when I showed up for a movie at Blue Star, announced my name at the ticket booth and explained I worked for the Berkeley Cinema I was met with, “So what do you want, a medal?”

For some reason that free trade agreement never worked for me.

Sadly one of the last movies I saw at Blue Star was PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES. By that time I was in the Army serving here, there and everywhere. I made it home less often. On one of my ever rarer leaves home I met with friends and went to see John Candy and Steve Martin. About the only regret I had was that PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES is a holiday movie and the film premiered during the summer. Whenever I see the movie on cable television I am very much reminded of my last visit to General Cinema’s Blue Star Cinema.

rrettino
rrettino on September 5, 2007 at 10:08 pm

Cinema 2 was actually split in September 1982 during the run of An Officer and a Gentleman. I was working there at the time.

dcl
dcl on July 26, 2006 at 6:00 pm

I first went to the Blue Star Cinema in 1965 when I was 9 years old. I remember seeing Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. The cinema was very close to where I lived so my family went to the movies quite often. Some of the other films I remember seeing were The Dirty Dozen, You Only Live Twice, 2001 A Space Odyssey and Dr. Zhivago. Back then, it was a single theater with a balcony that seated about 1000. For an additional charge, you could sit in the balcony and smoke. In 1973, I went to work at the theater as an usher and I also worked as an early morning cleaner for a while. About a year later, Cinema 2 was built next door. It had about 750 seats with no balcony; however, the left side of the theater was for smokers. (Times have changed, huh?) The big films for the Christmas season of 1974 were The Towering Inferno and in Cinema 2, the Man With The Golden Gun. In about 1975-76, they put a wall down the center of both theaters, splitting them in two. Now there were 4 cinemas. The theaters were not designed to be multi-plexes and as a result, there was no real crowd control. It was relatively easy for people to walk from one theater to the other. It wasn’t the same after the split.

The cinemas are no longer there. They were gutted in the late 1990’s and ‘blended in’ to the rest of the strip mall where they were located. A Michaels Craft store is now on the spot of the old Cinema 1. Also, contrary to the notation in the Star Ledger article of August 18, 1998, Jaws didn’t play at the Cinema, at least not in 1975. I worked there at the time.

verranth1
verranth1 on May 31, 2006 at 7:56 pm

My God – this was my main movie theatre that I went to as a child and a teenager. So many films and I remember a bunch.

LifeGuard
Hearts of the West
Bad News Bears
New York, New York
That’s Entertainment
The Way We Were
Funny Lady
Animal House
HAIR!
The Main Event
Flashdance
Kramer vs. Kramer
The world according to Garp
Little Darlings
The Muppet movie
Friday the 13th
Mommie Dearest
Pennies from Heaven

What a great house – I’m sure I’m leaving out some films. I learned a great deal about movies there!

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 11:58 am

Also listed in the 1970 FDY as a GCC theater (under a Plainfield location).
Just goes to show that even the FDY’s aren’t 100% accurate.

rrettino
rrettino on March 2, 2006 at 6:31 am

This was never a Walter Reade Theatre. It was always GCC.
Walter Reade however did own the Strand in nearby Plainfield.
One look at Blue Star and that shadowbox screen and you would know for sure it was a General Cinema Theatre.

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 6:25 am

Listed as a Walter Reade Theater in the 1970 Film Daily Yearbook.

rrettino
rrettino on February 23, 2006 at 7:23 pm

I worked as a projectionist on and off from 1977 till it’s closing in 1998. It was open as early as 1963 because I remember seeing It’s a Mad,Mad,Mad,Mad World there. Bonnie and Clyde, Easy Rider,The Godfather, Blazing Saddles and The Towering Inferno and many others graced it’s large GCC “shadowbox” screen.Ironically, given it’s prestige at the time, it was a straight 35mm house, no 70mm. In 1973 they added a 500 seat auditorium to complement the main auditoriums 1100 seat capacity. In 1977 they did the 70’s split thing and put a wall directly down the middle of the main auditorium resulting in two bowling alleys. In September of 1982 the 500 seater was also split.By 1998 competition and changing demographics finally took it’s toll and in August of that year closed permanently.

asadsack
asadsack on January 19, 2006 at 8:46 pm

Although I lived in Hillside, I remember going to this theater in the mid to late 60s and early 70s but the only film I can remember seeing was “The Getaway”. This shopping center
was anchored by EJ Korvette’s and I also remember a little restaraunt called Howie’s opposite
from the theater. An interesting thing about the name “Blue Star”. I believe the Somerset Bus
Company, which had it’s depot on Rt 22 in Mountainside also used “Blue Star” as it’s logo.
Their buses ran primarily along Rt 22 to and from the Port Authority terminal in NYC.
When I was I kid, I found an empty Somerset Bus Company money bag as I was walking along Rt
22 over to the Two Guys store (anyone remember that?)in Union. Can’t remember where I put it, but the logo on the bag looked like the logo on the theater.
Sorry to ramble.

teecee
teecee on July 28, 2005 at 4:37 am

1969 ad for 2001 courtesy of Bill Huelbig:
View link

Was a GC theater back then as well.