Photo by Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger

Vineland [NJ] drive-in movie theater a ticket to the past

Photo by Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger

VINELAND, NJ— Three hours before showtime at the state’s only drive-in movie theater, Sam Boss is in charge.

“Yes, sir,” the lanky long-haired college student replies to every question as he collects trash left over from the previous night’s movies.

It’s the usual drive-in detritus: plastic cups, straws and fast food wrappers, maybe some CSI-worthy trace amounts of the stir-fry asparagus or edamame from the Delsea Drive-In’s not-so-ordinary snack bar.

Boss’ boss is a fast-talking, balding pediatrician — not exactly the most likely candidate to rescue the Vineland drive-in from weed-overgrown oblivion. 

A night at the drive-in John De Leonardis, owner of the Delsea Drive-In, Vineland, talks about the history and appeal of drive-in movies. 
“Call me Doc,” says John DeLeonardis, jumping out of his Ram 1500 pickup, loaded with a dozen Kaiser rolls, eight dozen steak rolls and four dozen sub rolls.

When the Route 35 Drive-In in Hazlet closed in 1991, New Jersey, the birthplace of the drive-in, was left without a drive-in theater. It stayed that way until 2004, when DeLeonardis purchased and re-opened the Delsea Drive-in, which had closed in 1987.

For the rest of the story, a slideshow of pictures, and video clip, go to:

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