Boyd Theatre

1908-18 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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LuisV
LuisV on December 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm

atb….I don’t envy your position and I don’t doubt your love of movie palaces. I live in New York so I am not as well versed in the local entertainment venue options but I find it incredible to believe that Philadelphia (one of the largest cities in the country) and among its most historic cannot find a way to retain and restore ONE historic movie palace. I just returned from Cleveland where I attended a performance of Wicked at the stunning State Theatre in Playhouse Square which is made up of 6 (or more) historic theaters within a two block stretch of a rapidly gentrifying area of downtown. How can Cleveland support this and not Philadelphia? One these theaters are gone they are gone forever. They will never build theaters like this again. I hope you are not offended and I don’t doubt your sincerity, but a plan to destroy the interior and retain just the facade is a non starter. The argument could be made in a city like New York which has (arguably) the greatest number of remaining movie palaces in the world, but not in Philadelphia where The Boyd is the last one standing (If I am not mistaken). I’d rather the Boyd sit there until a better plan comes along. :–(

atb
atb on December 9, 2013 at 9:41 am

To all on this site: in the spirit of the request to keep things civil, let me just say this: There is no one on the planet that would like to see this site saved, renovated and revitalized. That said—and as I have said over and over again—IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Where is the money going to come from? Where are the people who will buy tickets? Philadelphia CANNOT support another performing arts venue and WILL NOT support another film venue (the PFS can’t even get the Roxy up and running!).

As I mentioned in my last post, the problem I have with the discussion on this site is that it is one-sided. Where is Sharon Pinkenson’s impassioned letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer supporting the new plan for the Boyd? As someone who has successfully run the Greater Philadelphia Film Commission (and unsuccessfully tried to get a rep cinema off the ground at the significantly smaller Prince), she is someone who understands the two key words Show + Business: there cannot be a show without business.

The irony here is that, if I met with Howard and the other friends of the boyd they would find that we have more in commmon than it may appear from my posts. I love old movie theaters and have traveled the country to see watch movies in the ones that remain open. That said, I am a business person and a realist and from my vantage point, the i-Pic plan offers the best possible solution to a sad situation: the ability to show my child the facade to what was once a palace where I saw many great movies.

kingstonregalarts
kingstonregalarts on December 9, 2013 at 8:58 am

atb, you will find few friends on this site. We are a community of cinema theatre enthusiasts around the world, principally North America and (as in my case) Britain. Your plans would, it seems, involve the complete demolition of the beautiful, well-preserved Art Deco auditorium, leaving only the facade. Let me make myself quite clear: this would be INTOLERABLE. I look forward to reading that your plans have been rejected. In the meantime, go and have a look at Macy’s in downtown Philadelphia and see how Macy’s sympathy for that beautiful old building and its magnificent organ have shaped their renovation of said premises. In restoring it as they have, they have reinvigorated a global icon. You have the opportunity to do something similar, if perhaps not quite so globally iconic (as beautiful as the Boyd is). I urge you to change your plans. The auditorium of the Boyd would make a wonderful multi-purpose performing arts venue with film showings filling the gaps between live events: a multiplex would lack any such flexibility (as well as destroying the heritage inherent in the building). I send my best wishes to my like-minded fellow campaigners across the Atlantic.

atb
atb on December 3, 2013 at 8:00 am

Howard: Will you create a link to Sharon Pinkenson impassioned plea for approval of the iPic transformation of the Boyd? Or will you—and this site—continue a single-minded, closed-minded path toward denying a future for the venue and for the economic vitality of Chestnut Street and Center City Philadelphia?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on November 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Friends of the Boyd hope people will visit & “like” our Facebook page as we continue to make our case that Philadelphia should join almost every US city (as LuisV knows) in restoring & reopening a historic downtown movie palace, not just keep its facade!

LuisV
LuisV on November 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm

This is terrible news. I find it amazing that a city the size of Philadelphia, which (I believe) has no remaining movie palaces downtown cannot manage to save the Boyd where so many other smaller (and far less historic) cities manage to have at least one and others, many more. It is not enough to just save the exterior (though worse comes to worse, it is something). Read on: http://planphilly.com/articles/2013/11/11/movie-chain-owner-says-only-hope-for-boyd-is-8-screen-complex

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on October 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I thought you meant a missing chandelier when you worked there. The original light fixtures including auditorium’s central chandelier are in off site storage. Prior owner allowed us (Friends of the Boyd) to remove what we wanted from projection booth. We have in storage those movie projectors (for future projection) but I don’t know how well they will have held up over the years. Film premieres & festivals now use digital projectors. Our mission is to save the theater, exterior & interior, including the grand auditorium.

70mm
70mm on October 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Hello Howard, the large chandelier that hung from the hole in the ceiling, maybe it is at the end of cable which I cannot see in pic at top of this page, it was large, cristal, at least 5 feet across. Is there any equipment in the projection booth, they had Century 35/70mm heads, we put Xenon lamps in… The lobby should be saved, it would make a nice museum of the showpalaces everywere and money that once was, not only in the Camen islands today…..

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on October 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Which missing chandelier? one from the balcony? elsewhere? As to other comments, we must save the Boyd. Please “like” & follow us on Facebook & our email updates (enter contact info at www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org)

70mm
70mm on October 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm

As sound and projection tech, for Sameric Corp. recall meny things about the Boyd building, walked through the cat walks above the auditorium, the missing chandeler, so on. There are few buildings escaped the BIG BALL, the Erlanger, and even the grait FOX, building and all. Another fine Boyd theater was in Easton, Pa. still an empty parking lot…

70mm
70mm on October 10, 2013 at 5:07 pm

I am reply to Mikeoaklandpark from 08/31/13, question “did Gone With the Wind play at Sameric Sep. 1975” . Answere is YES, I was sound an projection tech. for Sameric ‘73 to 78 and had checked the booth to run the show in 70mm 6 track sound..

alps
alps on October 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Well see, the residents will never allow it. They kept the Ritz from opening on Walnut Street. Chestnut Street at night is full of drunken young people. The Boyd in it’s current state could never be a movie theater again, on the other hand, the building is standing in the way of progress and is becoming an eyesore. How much longer can they keep painting over the “tags”, or keep Homeless people from burning it down? I would hate to see the theater go, but Philadelphia is the most corrupt city outside of Gotham City, it’s politics that all Broadway roadshows are at the Academy of Music, the worse venue. My hope for the Boyd as a better Prince Music Theater, may not ever happen.

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on October 6, 2013 at 8:38 am

Okay, after all these years it’s time to think outside the box. How about something like TCL take over the Boyd and bring it up to the 21st century. From the comments made about the upgrade of the Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles,it must have worked and it is drawing moviegoers again. Only time will tell, but it is worth a shot for the Boyd. What was done at the Chinese is proof with the right amount of capital, anything is possible. Keeping the Boyd as “The Boyd” does not seem to be drawing any interest. Tearing it down to create 8 “living room” theatres is a travesty. However, with all the movies being released for Imax presentation that is a golden opportunity to make the Boyd into an Imax which center city does not have. After all it was converted to a Cinerama Theatre back in the 1950’s. You’ve got a movie palace that with an upgrade would become a draw again. It is strange how in NYC and Los Angeles even reserved seats is now “the new thing.” Living proof that what was will come around again!!!! Instead of the Boyd Cinerama how about the Boyd Imax??!!

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on October 3, 2013 at 7:27 am

This makes me very sad. It’s a shame the 3 smaller theaters were already turned into stores. I would be happy even if they Divided the balcony and orchestra to make two theaters. Howard, I thought the auditorium had landmark status. I remember talking to a rep at United Artists when they added the extra small theater because I thought they had divided it than and I was told it preserved by landmark status and that was what they wanted to do but couldn’t. Sigh

telliott
telliott on October 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm

A city like Philadelphia can’t restore the Boyd? Disgusting. Howard’s right, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on October 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Yes, according to a quote from Howard Haas on Philly.com

“Friends of the Boyd, a group of preservationists, opposes iPic’s plans, said its president, Howard Haas.

Haas met Tuesday with iPic representatives. He said he was told that the only aspect of the 1928 Art Deco building that would be preserved would be the Chestnut Street façade.

“They’d demolish the auditorium, and that is the theater,” Haas said. “Trendy multiplexes last 10 years [before they’re remodeled]; iPic should build elsewhere in the city.”

Eight-screen movie theater and restaurant planned for old Boyd

Nicholas Vargelis
Nicholas Vargelis on October 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm

It appears that the auditorium will be demolished ??? !!! Here is a copy of a post from Matt Lambros/ After the Final Curtain from Facebook: “The Boyd Theatre auditorium to be demolished and a multiplex and restaurant complex built in its place.”

iPic Entertainment® Announces Visionary Movie Theater ‘Escape’ to Debut in Philadelphia — BOCA…

atb
atb on October 2, 2013 at 10:59 am

Great news today from the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding the Boyd Theater. iPic operates great theaters—the Boca Raton location is a gem—and IF it happens this will go a long way to revitalizing the Chestnut Street corridor. That said, get ready for the inevitable whining and teeth nashing from “preservationists” (including one leading hypocrite with an oversize presence on this website) out of touch with both the future value of this venue and the exhibition business. Downtown Philadelphia is woefully underscreened and the existing screens (Riverview, Pearl and The Bridge) are nothing to get excited about and/or downright abominations.

John Fink
John Fink on October 1, 2013 at 11:40 pm

For better or worse its now slated to become a luxury facility run by iPic Entertainment – http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ipic-entertainment-announces-visionary-movie-theater-escape-to-debut-in-philadelphia-225958491.html

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on September 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm

The first attraction at the Sameric when that chain took over the boyd was “Fiddler On The Roof” playing on reserved seats. It was the first time that I went to this theatre and you could see the proscenium arch as the curved screen had been removed and a large flat screen was installed within the procenium. It had been a lot of years since my last visit at the Boyd until its rebirth as the Sameric. Considering the lasst few years of it’s operation as the Boyd, RKO Stanley Warner presented “adult films” at the Boyd!!!! The Boyd has been through a lot, but that heavens it is still standing ready to be reborn again. Come on Philadelphia, other cities have done it and it’s time to be done here with a restoration of a movie palace.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on August 31, 2013 at 5:24 am

Here is a question for anybody out there that went to the Boyd aka SamEric in the 70’s. I remember seeing Gone With The Wind there in Sept 1975 as a special one week 70mm re release. Can someone else confirm this. I am 200% it did play there. I also saw it in 1968 at The Randolph on the big Cinerama screen. Was Man of La Mancha the last film on the Boyd curved screen before it was removed?

alps
alps on May 20, 2013 at 7:50 pm

May 25th is the 30th anniversary of Return of the Jedi at the Sameric 3. People stood on line all night. Management almost caused a riot when they announced the first showing would be on one of the smaller screens.They wised up and showed it on the main screen. Nothing compared to this theater filled to the brim. Later that year Scarface open causing another near riot.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 8, 2012 at 10:29 am

Four pages of 1929 photos start here: archive

alps
alps on May 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Ten years, I miss this theatre.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on April 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Maintenance of the existing marquee, as I will mention soon in a Weekly Update email (freely available from Friends of the Boyd)