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Some historic photos here, don’t try to enlarge them without membership:
My September 2005 photo of the exterior is here:
The nonprofit organization is planning renovations. Behind the concessions counter, in the foyer adjoining the auditorium is a wonderful Paramount glass mural. Moorish style sconces are on the side walls of the auditorium. Slides rather than a curtain is currently used, but maybe like the Newtown renovations can include a curtain?
Here are 2 closeup photos of the 1953 Boyd letters on the Cinerama marquee. The Sam Eric letters were removed as part of exploratory work for replication of original 1928 French Art Deco marquee, which will replace the current one. The Boyd letters are corroded so the photos aren’t too impressive, and we didn’t post them on our official site (www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org) but somebody asked so I placed them on a site of mine.
This is wonderful news! Being in Philadelphia, I visited this moviehouse once, and found it to be beautifully furnished inside & with a stellar film presentation. When I read it closed, I feared demolition but instead it sounds like the film program will be even better than the fine movies they already had. Best of luck to the new operators, may they succeed so much they become interested in other theaters in the nation!
May 2005 photo at
current exterior photo at
Exterior photo at
Current exterior photo at
exterior photo at
Current exterior photo,
Although I haven’t been inside since it was a twin, I understand one auditorium is in former stagehouse. The auditoriums aren’t very big from what I hear. There are some interior architectural details one can see, which weren’t visible as a twin.
There are no plans to restore the Bryn Mawr as a single screen theater. There are a few interior architectural details one can see on the interior under current operation, which is better than the Ardmore as a health club for sure. The Ardmore was totally gutted inside.
Official website not working & can’t find a film listing on another website. Did it close?
The City of Chicago will be doubly lucky if the fabulous Uptown Theatre reopens for public enjoyment, and if the paint & plaster restoration is accomplished by an equal gem, Jeff Greene.
Howard B. Haas, of Friends of the Boyd, www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org
The Friends of the Boyd, Inc. (www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org) LOVE Cinema Treasures for all the support given our cause of saving & reopening Philadelphia’s last movie palace, and for all the fantastic features of this website. cinematreasures.org is a world class website appreciated & enjoyed everywhere. We will live while normal maintenance is done, and look forward to the future evolution of this wonderful site.
The main (orchestra) floor did not sit 1349 in recent years no matter what the fire sign or literature says. I have a count & a chart, but will tell you it sat more like 800. I know that from seeing movies there, and doing inventory of ALL features in the theater during the 3 years since it has been closed.
Seating was likely about 1500 in 1928, greatly reduced for Cinerama in 1953, and maybe added in 1971 when Cinerama screen removed. Now, I’m not saying you couldn’t have put in temp chairs to reach that total, though I don’t think that was ever done. All the chairs on main level are gone now. New chairs with same design as originals will return, and the seating capacity will greatly increase.
For those interested in Cinerama, “true” Cinerama, requiring 3 projectors, played at the Boyd from 1953 and into early 1960’s with breaks for other films including Ben Hur. The Randolph played “one strip” Cinerama, not with 3 projectors, really more like 70 MM as far as I understand. The Boyd was the only true Cinerama venue in our region. Because it would require a huge curved screen in front of the Proscenium Arch, and 3 separate projection booths on the orchestra floor, real Cinerama is unlikely to ever return to the Boyd. I’m not saying that’s good, merely reality.
Clear Channel is spinning off its entertainment theater business into a separate company which will continue to book Touring Broadway & concerts. The new company will restore & reopen the Boyd. Friends of the Boyd emails out a free Weekly Update email, enter your email at wwww.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org
People think the Boyd’s original vertical sign was removed in 1930 because Irv Glazer wrote so in a book. However, historic photos show the Boyd’s vertical sign still there in 1934, but gone in 1935. The Boyd’s vertical sign was removed in 1935 after litigation by the Chestnut Street Business Men’s Association. We’re going to further elaborate in a Weekly Update email, to receive them, enter yourself at www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org
Friends of the Boyd don’t think of the current “vertical” as a real vertical sign, but as an ugly huge, signboard incosistent with the gorgeous French Art Deco architecture of the Boyd.
The intent is to replace the modern Cinerama marquee with a recreation of the original Art Deco marquee from 1928, which it replaced in 1953. The original will be more in character with the movie palace’s exterior & interior French Art Deco design. Photos of both, and ways to help, at www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org
Since the article refers to the Boyd, you might like some history of the name:For the majority of the 20th Century, Alexander BOYD was one of the most respected movie theater operators in Pennsylvania. A glassblower by trade, Boyd began operating movie theaters at the turn of the century. In 1962, before he died later that year at the age of 86, the Motion Picture Exhibitor wrote that “If anyone were to take a poll of this territory in an attempt to determine its best-loved exhibitor, the vote would overwhelmingly single out the dean of them all, A.R.Boyd….” “Boyd goes back as far as the industry itself, having built or participated in the operation of most of the downtown Philadelphia first-run theatres. Such famous houses as the Boyd, Mastbaum, Stanley, Arcadia, and Palace, among others, bear his stamp….All his life, he has made deals involving hundreds of thousands of dollars on a handshake, and the men with whom he does business know that Al Boyd’s handshake binds him more firmly to his word than could any iron-clad document.”
Philadelphia’s Exhibitor in early 1928 said much the same “Mr. Boyd, one of the most popular officials in the Stanley organization, enjoys the confidence of the film men because of his knowledge of picture values and his fair dealings. He has frequently been known voluntarily to increase the price set on a picture after it has played and proved to be a better box office draw than originally estimated.”
To build Center City’s Art Deco movie palace, with considerable financial risk to himself, Boyd left the Stanley Company, of which was a leader. He departed from the neoclassical style of movie palaces which Stanley was building in Center City. About the time the Boyd Theatre was opening, the Stanley theaters merged into Warner to become Stanley Warner, and Boyd sold his theater to Warner, but his name remained on the movie palace. Thru the major remodel in 1953 for Cinerama including the current marquee, and corporate changes that included Warner Bros selling their theaters, the theater remained as the Boyd until new owners renamed it Sameric in late 1971.
In reaching out to movie palace fans & the general public, our ad hoc Committee to Save the Sameric found almost everybody referred to the theater as THE BOYD and disliked the Sameric name. We met many people who recall patronizing the Boyd at the height of its Jazz Age elegance in the decades before television. Even more people fondly recall traveling up to hundreds of miles to the Boyd in the 1950’s & 1960’s to experience Cinerama. So, two months after we organized our committee, we incorporated our nonprofit Friends of the Boyd and expressed that we’d like to see the Boyd name restored along with its Art Deco features.
For more information about the Boyd, visit www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org
At my June visit, I could tell that the National certainly needs refurbishment – at least the seats need to look better. I like the orange color of the auditorium. News indicates light fixtures to be replaced. Why replace very pretty light fixtures that work fine?
As Chairman of the Committee to Save the Sameric, I suggest you visit our website at www.SaveTheSameric.org and sign our petition, volunteer to help, donate to the Purchase, Restoration, and Reopening of Philadelphia’s LAST movie palace. We cannot afford to lose the landmark art deco treasure!