Boyd Update: Philly Mayor Nutter Supports Boyd

posted by Ross Melnick on May 31, 2008 at 5:13 am

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The following was sent in from Friends of the Boyd:

The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia nominated the Boyd Theatre on May 28, 2008 for designation by the Philadelphia Historical Commission. Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter announced on May 29, 2008, his support for the nomination and pledged to work to preserve the building. Click here to read the Mayor’s statement.

The Historical Commission notified Boyd Theatre owner Live Nation and scheduled a hearing before its Designation Committee for July 16, 2008. Friends of the Boyd president Howard Haas asserted the Boyd Theatre long ago should have been designated. “It has a beautiful art deco exterior with many original decorative elements intact. It’s about time it was recognized as a landmark.” Inga Saffron reported the story in the May 30, 2008 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer and it also aired that day on KYW Radio.

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Comments (13)

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on May 31, 2008 at 9:01 pm

Anyone who is even remotely familiar with Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter knows that his pledge of support for the Boyd is worthless. Nutter will support the effort to save the Boyd just so long as no nefarious interests express an interest in tearing it down. But the moment that changes, if it does, Mayor Nutter can expect to change loyalties likewise. We know this — or we should know it — based on his total mishandling of another major landmark in Philadelphia history, Burholme Park in Philadelphia’s Northeast section. Soon after his taking office, Mayor Nutter quickly signed away Burholme Park in the blink of an eye, even though Burholme Park had every historic designation protection imaginable, in addition to protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution on down to Philadelphia’s Home Rule Charter.

And don’t get me wrong. As one who has great memories of attending film exhibitions at the Boyd when it was at its height — the late 1950s — you can place me number one in line of those who want to see the Boyd saved and fully restored. But I refuse to let that passion I feel blind me to the truth of who Mayor Nutter really is and what his “support” of the Boyd actually amounts to. For Mayor Nutter has already demonstrated firsthand that he has absolutely no respect of facts, laws or Philadelphia history. That is, when push comes to shove. The only reason he’s pledging this support of his towards the Boyd now is because no adverse interest as of yet has pushed for its demolition to slam up a parking garage in its place or whatever. I don’t like to have to say this, I try to be as optimistic as everyone else, but come on, people, we have to be realistic about this. Mayor Nutter, when it comes down to it, is no friend of the Boyd. We have to look well beyond him if we really want to see it saved and restored to its previous glory.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on June 1, 2008 at 1:38 am

Thanks Ross for adding this news page story.

Friends of the Boyd are very appreciative of Mayor Nutter’s support.

We need the support of the City, the Commonwealth, and major donors, and the cooperation of Boyd owner Live Nation, to ensure the Boyd survives, is restored and reopened for entertainment.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on June 1, 2008 at 5:46 am

What the Boyd needs is the support of those who respect laws, facts and history. But if it disregards people such as that and accepts “help” from those who do not, that is going to be a major dark mark against it. Just ask I.B.M., who to this day is still criticized for having blindly done business with the Nazis when the Third Reich was at its height. In that case, I.B.M. claims it did not know the full facts of who it was dealing with. To which I say, okay, fair enough. But here’s a case where we DO know the truth of Michael Nutter. If Nutter reverses his position on Burholme Park, just as he is legally obligated to do, and by the way, there is still time for him to do that, it’s not too late. Then yes, in that instance accepting his help to save the Boyd will make sense and should be welcome. But short of that, forget it. Anything he touches becomes tainted, and no reputable organization or business would accept such support. What he did with Burholme Park was outrageous. And it’s not just a local issue either. The cancer official who spearheaded the expansion which Nutter fully consented to is a recent former president of the American Cancer Society and has strong links with the Nobel Foundation in Sweden. As such, he has the trust of many people and is in the process of playing it for all it’s worth, calling himself “chancellor” as he does. And Nutter, who didn’t have to, fully caved into him. And from what I can determine, totally willingly.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on June 1, 2008 at 5:52 am

Thanks Ross for adding this news page story.

Friends of the Boyd are very appreciative of Mayor Nutter’s support.

We need the support of the City, the Commonwealth, and major donors, and the cooperation of Boyd owner Live Nation, to ensure the Boyd survives, is restored and reopened for entertainment.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on June 1, 2008 at 5:57 am

Just to repeat:

What the Boyd needs is the support of those who respect laws, facts and history. But if it disregards people such as that and accepts “help” from those who do not, that is going to be a major dark mark against it. Just ask I.B.M., who to this day is still criticized for having blindly done business with the Nazis when the Third Reich was at its height. In that case, I.B.M. claims it did not know the full facts of who it was dealing with. To which I say, okay, fair enough. But here’s a case where we DO know the truth of Michael Nutter. If Nutter reverses his position on Burholme Park, just as he is legally obligated to do, and by the way, there is still time for him to do that, it’s not too late. Then yes, in that instance accepting his help to save the Boyd will make sense and should be welcome. But short of that, forget it. Anything he touches becomes tainted, and no reputable organization or business would accept such support. What he did with Burholme Park was outrageous. And it’s not just a local issue either. The cancer official who spearheaded the expansion which Nutter fully consented to is a recent former president of the American Cancer Society and has strong links with the Nobel Foundation in Sweden. As such, he has the trust of many people and is in the process of playing it for all it’s worth, calling himself “chancellor” as he does. And Nutter, who didn’t have to, fully caved into him. And from what I can determine, totally willingly.

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on June 2, 2008 at 4:25 am

Mayor Nutter’s support is extremely valuable and appreciated. Saving a theater as large and important as the Boyd requires a mix of private and public capital, a devoted group of volunteers, and political will. Let’s hope Mayor Nutter’s support makes a crucial difference in saving this theater.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on June 2, 2008 at 7:48 am

I think that Mayor Nutter’s support is extremly important. I can’t see that between now and July 16 he would pull the plug. The Boyd/SamEric was an important part of my life in Phila. The first time I went to this great theatre was in 1972 during the roadshow engagement of Man Of La Mancha and didn’t return until 1975 when I saw GWTW, but after that I was a regualr customer until I moved to Fla in 1983. On a retrun visit in 1991 at Christmas, I sawe Hook there.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on June 2, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Ross Melnick, while I’m very appreciative of your helping to bring the Boyd to the world’s attention, and I thank you deeply for that, Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter so far has shown himself to be not good for helping historic causes when push comes to shove, which has not come up yet in the Boyd’s case. What I’m saying is that no one should take comfort in the support coming from him, but should make a special point to look well beyond him. Hollywood director James Cameron stated several months back that he does not create movies to be watched on cellphones, and certainly I feel he would be an excellent person to look to in terms of those who can greatly help ensuring the Boyd’s future. Hollywood director Martin Scorcese is another, his having a special fondness for Cinerama, which the Boyd, in all its history, is best known for. When the save the Boyd rally was held back on May 22, 2008, the most prominant catchphrase and on all the signs was, “Philadelphia’s Last Movie Palace.” And I do take that literally. While it would be great if it could also be adapted for live performances, that, to me, is its main calling. Right now Philadelphia has countless live entertainment and performance venues. But no movie palace. As for Nutter, given the way he horrendously mishandled Burholme Park, I feel it’s very shaky ground to have him as part of the save the Boyd effort, as when it comes to historic matters the man obviously does not know what he’s doing. The Boyd’s future is just too important to squander away with bringing him on board with the cause. The Boyd, as was the case with Burholme Park, greatly outranks him.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on June 3, 2008 at 3:56 am

The above poster (Theaterbuff1) did not join our May 22 Rally at the Boyd, has never attended our events, has not donated to our cause, and in no way is part of the Friends of the Boyd organization of hundreds of volunteers who have dedicated their efforts to ensuring that the Boyd Theatre survive, be restored to its 1928 Art Deco grandeur, and reopen as a public venue for entertainment. Americans have a First Amendment right of free speech, and he has chosen to excercise it on this website, but he does not speak for Friends of the Boyd, Inc.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on June 3, 2008 at 9:01 pm

Actually, that’s not fully accurate. The above poster (HowardBHaas) does not know if I attended the May 22 rally at the Boyd or not, for I never said either way. In terms of donating to the cause, I have informed this gentlemen that I am not in a position where I can just freely donate money with no assurances of any good results, but I AM in a position where I can invest if a good business plan is presented to me. Yet as much as I have urged him to come forth with such a plan, he has stubbornly refused. Regarding volunteering, for nearly the past four years I have steadfastly volunteered all my free time and then some to the Save Burholme Park cause, as to be sure, it’s a much much bigger issue, in addition to the fact that I live in Northeast Philadelphia where this controversy has been ongoing, not Center City Philadelphia, where the Boyd is located. And in my case I’m a tad bit fairer, as I don’t jump all over the above poster for not volunteering to that cause, even though the implications of it are much farther reaching. Not to mention the fact that in the case of Burholme Park there’s an adversity factor that one has to bravely stand up against, and sadly, bravery is not a very common thing in America right now. The above poster, for example, totally lacks that. But that’s okay, for either you have it or you don’t. And some people simply don’t have it for whatever reasons, and right now he’s certainly not alone. And with the Boyd there’s no adverse forces pushing to demolish it right now, so in that sense it’s a very easy thing to take a stance on.

Now to get on with the free speech thing, he’s absolutely right about that. I do not speak for the Friends of the Boyd, Inc. Rather, I speak for the Boyd itself, while let it just be said that the Friends of the Boyd, Inc. speaks for the Friends of the Boyd, Inc., which in my views is a totally separate thing.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on June 4, 2008 at 1:14 am

He earlier wrote online he didn’t attend the rally. As to my “refusal” my lack of “bravery”, his ability to invest, etc etc. other cinema bloggers can evaluate all that for what it is worth. Aint it great that he functions as a back seat driver on this theater & so many others?

RonFranks
RonFranks on June 4, 2008 at 11:38 am

I am going to keep this short.

I was the GM at the Boyd/Sam Eric theatre until 1995. It was the best theatre in the state of PA. It had a screen that was 55ft wide and no other theatre in PA had that. We had the premier of “Philadelphia” there along with “Tom Hanks & Denzel Washington”
It is a beautiful structure and every attempt to save it should be taken.

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on June 4, 2008 at 11:25 pm

I would like to remind everyone of our user policy which you can read in our Terms of Use: “You are prohibited from posting or transmitting to or from this Site any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, or other materials that would violate any civil or criminal law or the rights of others, including without limitation, laws against copyright infringement. Violation of these restrictions may result in limitations on your access to this Site.”

You are welcome to comment that one group is not preserving a theater properly or mishandling their responsibility, but when you cross over the line into insinuations of fraud, you are putting yourself at risk. Comments asserting such a charge were deleted because they violated our Terms of Use as they were made without proving any merit of the claim. We are saddened that we had to delete the comment, close this thread, and issue this statement. While political and philosophical disagreements are healthy and completely supported by Cinema Treasures, we will not let personal attacks on Mr. Haas and some of our other users continue. We tried our best to leave this page unaltered and let the conversation go on, but our users do not deserve this treatment and neither should this site become a place for personal attacks.

It is worth noting that the attacks on the Friends of the Boyd seem wholly out of balance with that group’s recent success in raising awareness about the theater’s plight and are part of the organization’s tireless effort to save the theater. In recent weeks, Friends of the Boyd has helped the theater receive important recognition from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the support of many public officials.

Running Cinema Treasures is a pleasure and an honor for all of us and we support everyone’s right to free speech. But we have a user policy in place to protect our users and your ability to enjoy this site without specific pages being hijacked by arguments and personal attacks. Please, for the love of these venues, please try and keep the level of discussion civil, courteous, factual, and productive.

Thank you for your understanding.

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