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WoW! A new low for Philadelphia. A city that prides itself on history architecture and art has let its last remaining movie palace slip away. For shame! Most major cities have at least two palaces remaining while others, like New York and Los Angeles have scores of them which are used in many different capacities, but they are still around. Now, Philadelphia will take its shameful place as the only? major city without a historic movie palace.
Going to see the Follies Show tonight! The show is closing in May. I will try to find out what is in store for this landmark theatre and report back.
Hmmm, unable to make the link work but here it is to cut and paste. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/realestate/the-hamilton-theaters-changing-act.html?_r=0
Trying again: [http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/realestate/the-hamilton-theaters-changing-act.html?_r=0] (RKO Hamilton)
The New York Times showcases this beautiful theater, slated to be developed but large parts of the theater may be preserved.
Thanks Lost Memory! Can you please tell me how to create that link myself? Many thanks! Luis
Have you tried to just copy and paste the link rather than click on it. That should work. The photos are beautiful.
To all the naysayers, this $94MM restoration and expansion is happening and may actually be ahead of schedule. :–) According to this article in The Brooklyn Paper, the rejuvenated theater may open as early as this November! A tidbit I didn’t know was happening is that the theater will have “stadium” seating to provide better viewing for all. http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/37/10/all-kings-theater-update-2014-03-07-bk_37_10.html
New York, arguably, has the world’s greatest remaining collection of Movie Palaces though few still show films. Most of the current Broadway/Times Square theaters at one time showed films and they are still there and thriving including the incredible New Amsterdam. Radio City, The Beacon and the St. George are still going strong as concert venues. The Hollywood, The Valencia, The Paradise, The Loews Gates, the Elmwood, and many others are churches. The Paramount in Brooklyn is a Gym, but still virtually intact. The Loews 175th Street has now returned to service as a classic film showcase. The Loews Kings is undergoing a $90MM restoration and expansion into a performing arts center. The Apollo in Harlem is entering its 80th year and still has their amateur talent show every Wednesday. The Ziegfeld and the Paris still show first run films. Other theaters waiting in the wings for restoration including the Loews Canal, the RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill, the Paramount in Staten Island, the Jackson Heights, the RKO Colosseum. I’m sure I’ve missed many others. There is great value in saving these structures and Philadelphia has no excuse in not being able to save this one; especially when it is located downtown.
Just passed by the theater while stopping in Stroudsburg this morning for Starbucks on my way back to NYC! This theater has a very handsome new, but traditional, Marquee and is very much still open. Nice surprise!
The saga continues. The site has been sold yet again to a developer who plans to build the approved plan which requires the preservation and restoration of the lobby but nothing else. http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/12/19/flushing_theater_has_new_owner_may_finally_be_developed.php
Thanks for your comments Nobodym….The Chinese Theatre in Hollywood is exactly what you said. The main theater has been preserved while a multiplex has been built behind it or on its side. Is it true that there are NO movie theaters in Center City? Downtown multiplexes exist in many downtowns even in places like Cleveland! Why the heck not in Philadelphia? The answer is NOT to destroy this last palace in Philadelphia. This is THE LAST ONE LEFT!
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. :–(
They can sell out (or close to it) with special events. I was there during the special two week engagement of Dreamgirls before wide release. All seats were $25 and there was not an empty seat in the house. It remains the most exhilarating movie watching event of my lit with three standing ovations during the film for the songs “And I’m telling you I’m not going, Dreamgirls and One night only!” The theater was filled with enthusiastic gay fans which included myself and 15 of my friends. :–) Alas few big films films open in limited release.
This link has a photo of the facade: http://news.buzzbuzzhome.com/2013/11/1515-bedford-crown-heights.html
I am sorry to announce that the theater is indeed slated to be demolished and replaced by a religious structure (a Synagogue and a 114 unit apartment tower). Very sad. Usually, a church saves these obsolete beauties but here it is destroying it. The facade looked worthy of landmarking but alas it never was. Farewell! http://news.buzzbuzzhome.com/2013/11/1515-bedford-crown-heights.html
I went to the showing of Casablanca last night and it was a roaring success. Announced attendance was over 1,100 people! They had to open the balcony to handle the crowd. A large number of people came in Black Tie and Gowns in the spirit of Rick’s Cafe (and the free admission to those who did). The theater is spectacular! They announced that regularly scheduled classics would begin in 2014 with curating help from Lin Manuel Miranda, the genius behind the amazing “In The Heights!” The fist series will be films which highlight New York and the first one to be shown will be “The Muppets Take Manhattan!”
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
Bway, will you be attending? I plan on being there. I’ve posted it on facebook and have told many of my friends and neighbors. My teenage nephews want to go as they have NEVER seen a movie in a theater that wasn’t muti-plexed. I can’t wait to see thier faces when they see this theater! It’s so exciting!
Booo indeed. My friend’s church didn’t get it.
It worked! YAY!
Film returns to the 175th Street Theatre! Sunday, November 17th at 6:00 PM with Casablanca on the bill! I will be there!
I’m trying to get confirmation from my contact. Will report back as soon as I hear.
I have a good source that the space has been taken for a church. If so, it is likely that the walls are being removed to function as such. This may not be bad news after all. I will check my source again.