Route 3 Drive-In

Route 3 and Route 17,
Rutherford, NJ 07070

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Showing 1 - 25 of 41 comments

KelDommage on February 17, 2020 at 6:54 am

I used to work there while in university (FDU Rutherford) at for a few seasons, up until the fall of 1980. Some very cold nights in the ticket booth and getting those last few quietly-bouncing vans out of the back of the theatre was a challenge. Still – good times. Worked with some very nice people there, trying to keep it alive.

rivest266 on February 11, 2018 at 1:29 pm

This opened as the S-3 Drive-In on April 20th, 1951. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

NYozoner on December 26, 2016 at 11:22 pm

This drive-in was listed in the 1952 Film Daily Yearbook, so it likely opened that year. The 1953 aerial photo confirms it was open no later than 1953.

moviebuff82 on May 17, 2015 at 10:34 am

I miss drive-ins…even though i never been to one. My dad used to go to this place all the time…

rivest266 on August 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Uploaded 1953 aerial of the drive-in. It looks like it was under construction.

jwmovies on November 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Approx. address for this drive-in is now 750 Edwin L Ward Memorial Highway. Now CitiGroup & Extended Stay Motel.

vexoergosum on January 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm

later on (in the late 60’s) they used to show movies that were on the blue side – you could see them from the highway. oh my! they couldn’t get away with that now.

Oleksij on May 12, 2011 at 9:32 am

As a child I loved going to the Route 3 Drive-In, as it was then known. I known I saw several films there, but the one I remember best was “Planet of the Apes” in 1968. I still remember the shock when the Statue of Liberty appeared. I begged my mother to let us sit through another showing, but she had had enough. I remember staring at the screen, watching the film begin again, as we drove out.

In later years, like Belasarious above, I would bike over backroads to the drive-in.

Were drive-ins really that great? Or is it just the patina of nostalgia? still, I remember them with great fondness and miss them. Back in the day, they were the only theatres that served hot dogs and hamburgers and fries. And do you remember when you were buying snacks, there would be countdowns on the screen letting you know how much time you had before the film started?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 2, 2009 at 6:52 pm

I have this Drive-In in 1956 parking 350 cars and at that time was owned by Ligget-Florin.source 1956 Motion Picture Almanac,hope this helps in the History,Bill.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on October 13, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Al: It’s not exactly what you asked for, but I found two ads for “Boys' Night Out”. The first is at the Hyway Theatre in Fair Lawn NJ. The date is August 4, 1962:

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The next one is at the Loew’s Jersey in Jersey City, which is, incredibly, still open and showing classic films one weekend a month except in summer. Look in the top left corner. Date is around July 7, 1962:

View link

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on October 13, 2009 at 8:05 am

I goofed there: “Boys Night Out” was 1962. I’ll check my newspaper clippings tonight – maybe I have an ad for it.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on October 13, 2009 at 8:03 am

Denny: I was 8 when I saw “West Side Story” at the Route 3. When I got older I regretted not seeing it first in a big indoor theater with speakers all over the place, but you may be right. The movie was so good, its impact was the same no matter where you first saw it. It may have even been heightened by having that music blasting at you from a speaker positioned just inches away from your ears!

Al: I don’t remember “Boys Night Out” playing there, but here are ads featuring two other 1961 attractions: “The Parent Trap” and “Homicidal”. I saw “Homicidal” at the Route 3, when I was 6 (!)

View link

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Denny Pine
Denny Pine on October 13, 2009 at 5:47 am

Ah, yes! “West Side Story”! My favorite movie since I was 6. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing it at one of Pittsburgh’s clasic downtown moviehouses several years ago and I would love nothing more than to see this 10-Oscar-winning classic on a drive-in screen and listen to it from the classic drive-in speakers.

realbigal on October 13, 2009 at 5:14 am

Does anyone remember when the movie “ Boys night out” played in the rt.3 drive in.

Thank you Al

NannyDeb on September 7, 2009 at 11:36 am

I lived in North Arlington which was only 2 towns away from this drive in and I grew up going there, then I took my kids there before it was gone. I went as a kid in my p.j’s and went on the swings and would end up falling asleep after the first movie of the “double feature.” It ended up going from the 1 screen to 2 and of course using the radio rather than the speakers. I remember the green coiled mosiquito Pic thing they would give when you went in. I remember as a teenager some of hiding in the trunk since we did not have enough money to pay for everyone. For awhile this also was used for the Route 3 Flea Market. Unfortunately, in this area of NJ the land is prime and it just did not generate enough income to support the very high real estate taxes in this area. I still go once a year to the only drive that is close enough to go to which is the Warwick Drive-In which is in Warwick NY. It takes me about an hour to get there but well worth the trip.

bhagal on February 27, 2009 at 11:45 am

I grew up in Rutherford and remember it well. There was a NJ DMV Inspection Station located there ( open air). This section of Route 3 had so many MV Accidents that the Rutherford First Aid Squad stationed an Ambulance by the U-Turn there on major holidays. I know for sure as I was part of some of the crews.

MPol on December 4, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Oh, wow!! I don’t live anywhere in the NY/NJ area, but I, too remember briefly seeing scenes from a drive-in movie from the highway while driving on or home from a family trip somewhere. Sure wish I could someday see West Side Story at a drive-in theatre. It must’ve been fantastic.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 4, 2008 at 8:18 pm

“You’ll Gasp – You’ll Wince – You’ll Shudder” – what a great sleazy ad!

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Notice it’s playing only in drive-ins, where any kid in a passing car could see the gasp-inducing shock scenes if they pass at the right time :)

stuartkerestan on March 20, 2008 at 2:39 pm

The week revolved around getting a date for the Route 3 on Saturday night in my red ‘64 Chevy. When it was cold, we’d snuggle in the back seat. In the summer, we’d burn the spiral green “Pic” that repelled mosquitos and attracted them to us. The beacon from the Empire State, to the right of the screen but far across the Kearny meadows, would rotate and shine through the car every minute or so. Double dates were hilarious when the guys would go to the snack stand and forget where the car was. I wish it was about 45 years ago in my red chevy at the drive-in and I was not 61 in a wheelchair with neuropathy.

stuartkerestan on March 20, 2008 at 2:29 pm

the car once a minute. I must have “heard” – and not seen – “Dr. No” 15 times one summer, each time with a differ

kencmcintyre on February 27, 2008 at 8:31 pm

That’s a nice photo. You can almost see the office building rising behind it. Right now they’re bulldozing my childhood drive-in in Absecon, so I know the feeling.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 27, 2008 at 7:50 pm

My friend Jeff Sumberg took this sad picture in October 1985. The Route 3 Drive-In was officially dead – only the marquee was left and that would soon be gone too:

View link

balisarious on February 24, 2008 at 2:02 pm

I remember just a few short years before it closed, as kids we used to ride our bikes there, go over a fence in the back and sit on the grass getting high watching the movies there LOL :)

ykdiry on January 31, 2008 at 2:19 am

Though I was quite young, I do remember seeing several movies (with Mom & Dad) there before it closed. Some of the movies that I got to experience included ORCA, THE KILLER WHALE and GREASE. Yes, it was the groovy ‘70s, when the Cosmos used to play right across the way in Giants Stadium!

I’m sure that there were other movies we saw, but I cannot remember. However, I do recall the kaleidoscopic concession stand and the main road made of pea-gravel.

Good times indeed!

kencmcintyre on October 13, 2007 at 9:49 am

Listed as the S-3 in the 1963 IMPA with space for 850 cars. By 1970 it was the Route 3 and capacity had expanded to 1570 cars.