Regency I & II

1625 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Showing 26 - 43 of 43 comments

veyoung52 on March 8, 2005 at 3:47 am

“I believe the Fox, etc, were demolished long before Liberty Place was being planned.” Very true. It was replaced by a tall dark-glass structure that some people began to call the “Darth Vader” building. Bill Milgram, owner of the Fox and the Fox Building, had plans to build a downtown multiplex, the Omni, nearby; but the plans never came to fruition. Milgram still operates in other parts of Pennsylvania. By the way, I just noticed the opening introductory comment to the Regency. The impression is given that the theatre was twinned by the Budco chain and then converted to 70mm. No way. The Budco chain NEVER did anything forward-thinking in its theatres. It was possibly the worst chain to ever operate in the State. (Don’t get me started on Budco!) I don’t have a complete, list but one of the pre-Budco 70mm attractions at the William Goldman-owned Regency was “Concert for Bangladesh”. It’s sound system was second to none…even the 4-track “Nashville” brought the house down.

dennisczimmerman on March 7, 2005 at 9:15 pm

The Fox, Milgram and Stage Door Cinema were demolished to make way for a totally different office building than Liberty Place. I believe the Fox, etc, were demolished long before Liberty Place was being planned.

timquan on March 6, 2005 at 8:43 am

The Fox, Milgram, and Stage Door Cinema were demolished first to make way for One Liberty Place. The Duke, Duchess, and Regency Twin were demolished in 1988 to make way for Two Liberty Place.

veyoung52 on November 25, 2004 at 8:52 am

Additional comments for downtown Philadelphia theatres:
In the above description for the Regency, it is written “under Budco, was twinned and converted for 70MM.” The Regency had 70mm capabilities long before Budco. “Under Budco,” a great many theatres were completely devastated. Someone wonders what the Midtown looked like twinned…beyond your wildest nightmare. And, to boot, the surround speakers on the side walls remained after the splitting. But each half-theatre did not install surrounds on the new center wall. This meant, that each theatre had surrounds on ONE wall only!
Pablo mentioned that “this was once a Todd-AO house.” This was, in fact, the 5th Todd-AO installation on the planet. A very costly conversion….some time later after Mr. Todd had been ousted from the Todd-AO corporation, he began to tout his 35mm anamorphic system called “Cinestage.” Shortly before his death, Todd held a demonstration of it at an Asbury Park NJ theatre for exhibitors including William Goldman, owner of the Midtown. Goldman and Todd got into a shouting match, the former being incensed that he had to shell out so much $ not only for the 70mm installation but also for the remodeling of the theatre, when he could have gotten much the same results from using 35mm Cinestage. The Goldman was worse, a sheer catastrophe under Budco. It also became something of a legal “celebrity” because in 1979 several Philadelphia film reviewers loudly and publicly and justifiably bemoaned the fact that UA had idiotically and without any regard for the audience had allowed its “Apocalypse Now” to premiere at the twinned Goldman. Budco claimed that these newspaper articles prejudiced the potential audience from coming to the Goldman. This was probably true as the boxoffice grosses reported by “Variety” were considerably lower than those in other metropolitan areas of similar size. In addition to all the faults of long, narrow hallway theatres, the theatre rows had been curved to match the curve of the humongous 70mm screen installed for “Sleeping Beauty” in 1959. So now you had two “theatres” in which the seats faced the tiny screens at a distinct angle. I don’t know in whose favor the lawsuit ended. But, through the help of every Angel in Heaven, Budco no longer operates theatres in the area. Amen.
BTW, anyone got any photos of the Stanley auditorium after its 1959 super-swank remodeling?
BTW again, is there anybody on earth who will say a kind word about the Samson Street “Roxy.”? Warners seems to delight in letting its films play there. If I had the money I would fly Robert Zemeckis there to see his “Polar Express” in that hell hole. I bet he wouldn’t make another film again as long as he lives if he saw it there.

Butch on September 5, 2004 at 7:32 am

Yes they were like that. The Midtown was the worst conversion I’ve ever seen. It was one whole block long, each side 16 seats across and 37 rows deep with screens way above the seats near the ceiling. You had to see it to believe it. And this was once a Todd-AO house.

timquan on September 4, 2004 at 7:04 pm

When I read Variety’s B.O. reports 20 years ago, in the Philadelphia reports, the Regency and Midtown listed 600 seats per theatre as well. But 600 seats in a narrow auditorium? Were the theatres like that after they were twinned?

dennisczimmerman on August 19, 2004 at 9:41 pm

According to my records of newspaper articles when both theatres were twinned that I added to my theatre information file, The Midtown, twinned in 1980 had 600 seats in each theatre. The Regency, twinned in 1976, ironically also is listed as having 600 seats in each theatre.

timquan on August 19, 2004 at 9:22 pm

When the Midtown and Regency were twinned into two narrow auditoriums, what were the seating capacities?

dennisczimmerman on August 19, 2004 at 5:59 pm

You really missed the movie going experiences of the Stanley and Fox Theatres. As much as I have my fingers crossed that the Boyd gets refurbished and back on “active duty” again, the Stanley Theatre was superior to the Boyd in plush and richness. I still remember the first time I saw a movie at the Stanley – “Cleopatra” with Liz and Dick. I was awed at the size of the theatre. It was a palace in every sense of the word. The Fox was another gorgeous theatre, but I only went there towards the end of its existence when they did manage to present a few films in 70mm! I am trying to get a hold of some pictures of the inside of the Stanley. I have snaphots that I took from the street of the marquee back in the days of the roadshow attractions.

SethLewis on August 12, 2004 at 12:46 pm

Remember the Regency from my UPenn days…pretty anonymous feeling twin…best memory was going to an advance preview of Marathon Man the Saturday before opening back when movies used to open on Wednesdays…again the odd Philly habit of doubling up the old feature and the new feature on Wednesdays was the rule here making for some strange double features

muviebuf on August 12, 2004 at 10:51 am

The Regency was twinned badly into two long bowling alleys. The last picture that I saw at the Regency (and the only one after it was twineed) was a 70MM version of Altered States which was billed as being in Megasound (bass boom version of 70MM. I remember that the screen wasn’t any bigger than a standard screen in similar badly done twins and the sound wasn’t anything that special.

I have to wonder if they had to turn down the subwoofers because of bleed through. There are still several older multiplexs today where I know the subs are turned down because of this problem.

Mikeoaklandpark on August 12, 2004 at 10:46 am

I never had the pleasure of going to the Stanley before it closed or the Fox. The only center city theaters I went to were the Randolph(closed in 1970) the Goldman when it was a single screen theater to see Funny Girl and after as a twin, the Regency once Sam’s Place, The Boyd/Sameric and Eric’s Place. I also hit Theater 1812 in 1975 when it was a porno theater.

dennisczimmerman on August 12, 2004 at 10:33 am

Was in the Midtown a few times to see “Sound of Music”, “Far From The Madding Crowd,” “NIcholas an Alexandra,” and “Young Winston”. Never went back after it was twinned. It would have been interesting to see how it was done, but more disappointing than interesting. It was a long theatre with the exit doors underneath the screen in the front of the theatre if I remember correctly. Never was in the Regency Theatre. We traveled to Philadelphia to see the “roadshow/reserved seat” films almost exclusively. Especially after Lancaster, PA tore down their four movie palaces downtown in the name of urban renewal!

Mikeoaklandpark on August 12, 2004 at 10:25 am

The Regency opened in 1967 with a movie called Divorce American Style with Dick Van Dyke. I think it was twined in the late 70’s. I was in there once to see The Godfather 2 and it was still a single screen theater. I still can’t belevie they twined the Midtown. That was a small theater with no balcony. I can imagine how small the theaters were when it got twined.

dennisczimmerman on August 12, 2004 at 9:33 am

The Regency Theatre was opened by William Goldman Theatres in the mid to late 1960’s. I remember reading that he was so upset because the Midtown Theatre lost the engagement of “Doctor Zhivago” to the Boyd Theatre because of the popularity of “The Sound of Music” that he built the Regency Theatre. It opened as a single screen and was twinned some years later. The Regency, Duke and Duchess theatres was demolished to make way for the Liberty Place buildings. The Fox,Milgram, Stage Door theatres were demolished to make way for another completely different office building. These last three theatres were on Market St. While the Regency, Duke, Duchess were on Chestnut St. in another block.

jaybee10108081 on December 5, 2003 at 11:13 am

Other Sameric center city Philadelphia theatres were,
Eric’s Mark One
Eric’s Place
Eric Rittenhouse Twin
Sameric (Boyd)

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on October 7, 2003 at 10:18 pm

The Regency Theatre was opened in the late 1960’s by The William Goldman theatre Co. (Budco Theatres original name), and was demolished, along with The Fox, The Stanton/Milgram, The duke & Duchess, and The Stage Door, and replaced by The Liberty Plaza complex.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on August 12, 2002 at 7:38 pm

The Budco Regency Twin, as far as i remembered was opened in 1967 or 1968 by The William Goldman Theatre chain, the predecessor of Budco Theatres