Hidden in plain sight in the Pinelands, Wade’s Salvage in Atco is no ordinary junkyard. It’s where the grittiness of recycling converges with the glamour of filmmaking.  

A longstanding waste management facility, the yard is an essential South Jersey service. It’s the place not too far off major roads where you can get rid of trash unfit for the recycling bins, like old appliances, wrecked cars and bundles of tangled electronic wire. 

While much of the junk eventually gets recycled or scrapped, some of it may have an entirely different fate. It could turn up as the perfect scene-stealing prop in a movie or TV show.

“Anytime anyone wants to film a crash scene on the East Coast they contact us,” says Gregory Sharp, Wade’s facilities manager and nephew of owner Andy Wade. “We’re the only place you can get aircraft or pretty much any vehicles, probably east of Arizona.”

It’s much more than the hundred-plus decommissioned Air Force bombers, jets and helicopters that make Wade’s indispensable to New Jersey’s growing film industry. Since it first took a star turn in the 1983 movie “Eddie and the Cruisers,” Wade’s has supplied props used to make the most riveting and scary scenes of alien invasions, post-apocalyptic zombie encounters and car crashes, including  2007’s “The Invasion” and 2009’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” Recently, that list has grown to include airplane parts for NBC’s “Manifest” and “The Blacklist,” cars for “The Penguin,” an upcoming TV series based on the DC Universe villain, as well as a whole variety of metallic waste for the recently released spinoff “The Walking Dead: Dead City.”

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Credits: Jayne Jacova Feld, South Jersey Magazine, August 2023