AMC Orleans 8

2247 Bleigh Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19152

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Showing 51 - 75 of 145 comments

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on December 23, 2006 at 7:50 pm

What I’ve heard is the AMC Orleans 8 is not closing any time soon.

TheaterBuff1 on November 22, 2006 at 11:19 pm

Oops! Quick correction: I meant to say “caste system,” not “chaste system”! Chaste system was back in the late ‘60s when the Orleans showed “I Am Curious Yellow,” and a whole bunch of heavyset NE Philly housewives turned out to protest, one angry NE housewife’s sign reading: “I Am Furious Red”…

TheaterBuff1 on November 22, 2006 at 9:58 pm

My too fondly remembering the Orleans when it was all new and single-screen and part of the Roosevelt Mall complex when it, too, was all new, it would be too surreally disturbing an experience for me to set foot in that theater today, now a chopped up multiplex, as from my perspective — in part instilled by the Orleans in a different era — life is meant to go forward and up, not back. And boy, did the architectural design of the Orleans Theatre NOT stand the test of time with regards to that! Some things of old when you see them again they strike a note of nostalgia. But the Orleans is such that when you see it again it strikes a note of disappointment. When you see it again you think, man, why can’t it be anything like it was in memories? That is, for those remembering it as a “once great theater,” it is far better not seeing it at all as it really is — and was — if that’s the case. But rather, to use those memories to build an all new theater that matches what you think the Orleans had once been.

However, to say it “won’t be missed by many” is to say we’ve adopted a chaste system in this country, something we didn’t have before. It’s kind of analogous to Yogi Berra’s saying, “Nobody comes out to baseball games anymore because they’re too crowded.” For the fact is that the AMC Orleans 8 of today, and far moreso than ever, draws huge audiences. That’s precisely why these days it looks so constantly rundown. That rundown appearance you see is not the look of abandonment but over-love.

To be sure, if the Orleans ever goes the way of the wrecking ball it won’t be missed by those whose concept of life is to go forward and up. But to the raging masses whose outlook in life is “yeah, yeah, yeah, we don’t care about any of that,” it will be missed plenty, in “Sullivan’s Travels”-like fashion.

HowardBHaas on November 22, 2006 at 7:18 am

Theater That Won’t Be Missed by Many
Another example of a multiplex run into the ground but still grinding out flicks, AMC Orleans 8 rivals Movies at Cheltenham Square for grunge.

from Philadelphia Weekly today:
View link

ScottWeinberg on August 28, 2006 at 10:19 am

Used to see tons of movies here when I was a kid (my grandmother lived three blocks away), but I can’t remember the last time I set foot in the place. I think it was one of the Police Academy movies.

Sorry to hear it’s being shut down, though. For people in this immediate area, there aren’t many moviegoing options (especially considering that the UA Grant sucks eggs).

TheaterBuff1 on July 26, 2006 at 7:39 pm

Hughie, if you’re referring to a personal e-mail you sent me, I never received it. Meantime, I’ve been to your site and I think it’s very good. Only trouble was, I wanted to post a comment at your site telling you congratulations but couldn’t figure out any way to.

Meantime, just to say a few things about it here, most people who grew up with the Orleans Theatre the way you and I did, Hughie, are gone now, while those who love it today love it for what it is now, which is a whole lot different from the classic old Orleans you and I remember. But let’s just be grateful it’s still a theater at all. For as Northeast Philly theaters go it is a survivor, I will say that for it, and a person would have to be pretty hardened in the heart not to admire it for that. Or to even think of replacing it with a Wal*Mart or Target Store or whatever at this late stage.

Because we’re living in modern times and it is located at a major shopping mall where business and making money is the most important focus, the way it is now seems to be the only fitting way for it to be. For you must keep in mind that it was part of a gestalt before, that is, an alignment that included Gimbels and Lit Brothers, which back in their day were very very upscale. For those who don’t remember, think “Are You Being Served?” But Gimbels is now long gone, and Lits is long gone, and they ain’t ever coming back. (You’ll have to excuse my lingo, but I just got back home from a Springsteen tribute concert.) But with that part of the gestalt missing you simply can’t run the Orleans today the way it once was. And all I was saying many many posts back at this webpage was that if there are plans to tear it down, at least leave the main auditorium intact.

But in all, if people love this theater now, 8 screens and all, you NEVER TEAR DOWN OR DISPLACE THAT WHICH PEOPLE LOVE, NEVER! For love is everything, even in business it is. It’s not my kind of theater the way it is now, and I’m pretty sure it’s not yours the way they have it chopped up into little theaters at this point.

But see for yourself. 2006. Other people like it, and they’re using it regularly. And that’s the whole bottom line really. And it’s the same with Burholme Park farther up Cottman Avenue from there. In that case, the Fox Chase Cancer Center, which around here everybody hates, wants to shove aside that which everybody loves, while some people every bit as shallow as the Fox Chase Cancer Center Nobel twits have thoughts of doing the same with the Orleans. And they’re assuming they can. But they’re assuming wrong.

Patrick H Friel
Patrick H Friel on July 26, 2006 at 3:05 pm

By the way, the link to The Orleans Theatre web site is:

Please, visit and tell your friends about us.


Patrick H Friel
Patrick H Friel on July 25, 2006 at 4:05 pm

Well, theaterbuff, I don’t know why your hunches are telling you what they’re telling you. Why don’t you come on over and join the club? I sent you a personal invitation to be the first member of the site but you seem to have rebuffed my offer.


TheaterBuff1 on July 24, 2006 at 10:12 pm

Great new website, Hughie! But why are my hunches telling me that it’s going to evolve into the “Save the Orleans” website if actual efforts are made by its current ownership to raze it to displace it with a Wal*Mart or whatever? For given its location, at a major shopping center with plenty of free parking, I’d say pressures are such that it couldn’t possibly be other than a multiplex. And going by some of the recent comments posted here, if there’s heavy residentialized areas near to this theater, this theater itself as it is right now is the major reason why. For people like to have nice things they enjoy in close walking distance to where they live, and it sounds to me that that’s how many people living near the AMC Orleans 8 feel about it. And one absolute rule of smart business is that you NEVER EVER shut down a business that is heavily trafficked and popular with everyone!

At the current time it’s not the type theater tailored to my own personal tastes, but then look at where it’s located — at a major shopping mall where people such as me would go to to shop only. But for others this is just the right setting for theaters they can identify with. And in the AMC Orleans 8’s case apparently many do. I would like to see Northeast Philadelphia have the other types of theaters, too — that is, single screen, very classy and palatial like. But palatial theaters require palatial settings, not hustle-bustle shopping mall type areas.

Not far from the Orleans you have two classic old theater buildings — the Tyson and Castor — and either one of them could be brought back as theaters thar are palatial like. But the Orleans' setting is such that strong demand is upon it that it always be very contemporary. I myself loved it back when it was single screen, but I can’t recall this love being any more intense than how I felt toward the Mayfair, Merben, Tyson and so on. I.e., if I went to the Orleans it’s because it just happened to be showing the movie I wanted to see at the moment. And since it was single screen it was as good as any, for originally it was very palatial like inside, plus Roosevelt Mall — which was part of the Lit Brothers and Gimbels line up alongside Cottman Avenue — was a lot classier back in those days.

And it’s important to have theaters that are like the AMC Orleans 8 around today to insure that palatial style theaters don’t get overpacked. For I mean, could you see trying to run a palatial style theater while getting bombarded with those who far prefer a much more generic multiplex style theater? For such puts everyone in a totally awkward position. On the other hand it’s unsmart business and worthless-style politics to write off the more discriminating theatergoers as “irrelevent” and “insignificant.” Which is precisely why Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel, who’s governing so much of Northeast Philadelphia, and has been the past 23 years or so, has got to go come this November. Either that, or have his gerrymandered district whittled down to the small one or two Northeast Philadelphia pockets that his style “leadership” is suitable for. For a new type of demand is striking Northeast Philadelphia now, and he just isn’t cut out for it, just as U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz, who currently represents here, clearly isn’t. What we’re getting from them now “leadership-wise” is kind of like that last snow fall that happens late in April after the trees have started to bloom, and the fallen snow only lasts an hour and a half or so.

Patrick H Friel
Patrick H Friel on July 24, 2006 at 7:56 am

Come visit the site I’m dedicating to the Orleans Theatre at:

Come, join, share and enjoy !


Patrick H Friel
Patrick H Friel on July 23, 2006 at 1:34 pm

TheaterBuff1, I sent you an invitation.


TheaterBuff1 on July 17, 2006 at 7:57 pm

Ah, Thalheimer and Weitz! But then again we do have to concede that the Devon Theatre’s best feature isn’t its architectural design. At least externally. Which is why for many years it was relegated as an adult movie house and nobody minded much. Not when the Mayfair Theatre not far from there was still in full swing, and the Orleans was still single screen. And of course the Merben was still open, and the Tyson and the Crest and so on. And I believe the Oxford, too, though I have no recollections of going to that theater. Or the Castor. By the way, does that book say who designed the GCC Northeast? For of all the Northeast Philly theaters that was designed so lack-of-talentedly that I’d really be surprised if anyone actually took credit for it. Yet, when it was up and running I do remember it being a pretty nice theater just to give full credit to whoever was managing it. But you’re fully right about the Holme, it hardly got to serve much as a theater at all. And most probably because of the fact that it was in a predominantly residential area and when it was a theater it had no parking at all. So I think in many ways the automobile killed it. For I can’t see how television could have, given how TV was back in the ‘50s. For we so forget now just how bad television was back then. Spoiled with the quality of how it is today, I don’t think most of us today could stomach for five seconds trying to get something from a 1950s TV set, with rabbit ears, blurry round screen about 10 inches in diameter, and everything in fuzzy low-resolution black and white. Yet the movies at the theaters were very good quality by then. Technicolor, stereo sound, sharp clear picture, and acting and scripts that far surpassed anything on TV, etc. We can actually still watch those movies today, and be every bit as enraptured by them as when they were fresh. But if you try watching old TV shows from the '50s you have to ask, how did people ever get anything out of it?

Anyway, getting back on topic with the Orleans Theatre, my view is that if people like that theater, and they attend it regularly — which sounds to be the case when you went there to see CARS, AWatson — then that’s the bottom line to me: what the people want. For if that isn’t given top priority, then what the hell kind of country are we? Or are we becoming? For that’s the whole thing with Burholme Park not that far from there. People love it, while Allyson Schwartz (whoever the hell she is) snootily says, “No, that doesn’t count for anything.” While my outlook is, well if that doesn’t, then nothing does. And as for the Orleans, now that we know — thanks to Howard’s research — that it WAS designed by a somewhat noteworthy architectural team, that brings it up several notches from the evaluations it was given before, that is, that combined with the fact that it’s very popular, going by what everyone is saying. As JonFox above put it so movingly, “If they tear the theater down and build a Wal*Mart, that would make bad happenings for everyone in the area.” And in the whole of things, what overrides that? What? For if many people love the Orleans Theatre, that’s the bottom line. There’s no other.

AWatson on July 17, 2006 at 7:42 am

When I said the Orleans was “packed” for CARS during an afternoon weekday showing, I meant it had lots of people…in other words, we weren’t the only ones in there!

HowardBHaas on July 16, 2006 at 5:11 am

The Orleans has been open as a movie theater for more years than the Holmes was.

In his hardback book on Philly theaters, Irv Glazer lists Thalheimer and Weitz as architects. Among other theaters, they earlier designed the Devon, and later, Center City Philadelphia’s Regency. Even earlier, they had designed Art Deco theaters. Architects, however, work within the budget specified by the client.

There were other theaters built by Goldman that were twinned shortly
after he sold the chain to Budco, including in Center City
Philadelphia the Goldman & Regency. He built large single screen movie houses, and didn’t do any twinning that I am aware of.

TheaterBuff1 on July 15, 2006 at 8:23 pm

Well I hope you’re not the only one in the area who feels that way, JonFox, for at least it’s a theater that people around it can still go to. My second oldest brother worked there as an usher sometime back in the mid-60s when it was still a single screen theater. And when it was a single screen, and still fresh and new, it actually had some class to it. I remember seeing “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines” there sometime during the latter half of the 1960s. But apparently it just wasn’t designed well to stand the test of time. You can readily see how its design was influenced very heavily by cost-consciousness — meaning, “Why hire someone such as William Harold Lee to design it when for just a tiny fraction of that cost Joe Schmoe the gas station/port-a-john designer can design a theater ‘every bit as good’?” And though I don’t know for a fact, I assume the theater’s name, “Orleans,” was not after the city of New Orleans in this country or Orleans in France (of Joan of Ark fame), but rather, the Philadelphia area builder A.P. Orleans who recklessly ruined so much of Northeast Philadelphia’s onetime natural beauty with his really poorly planned out housing developments following the end of World War I onward. For prior to then all this up here had been the original Main Line, you know. And then came the idiots, thinking only of money, who simply didn’t get it. (And some who apparently still don’t.)

For Northeast Philadelphia is long overdue to come roaring back in a huge way, and to have some of the best cinemas around when all is said and done. But the advent of those best cinemas, of course, hinge on other changes in Northeast Philadelphia that must take place as well. Given your current location I’m sure you’re aware of the Fox Chase Cancer Center v. Burholme Park controversy not that far from there, and how much the Fox Chase Cancer Center’s insane proposal to try to expand at its current location will reeeeeeeally harm that area, and a thousand times worse than a Wal*Mart replacing the Orleans Theatre will! It has to do with the stretch of Cottman Avenue (which the Orleans is just a block back from) between Roosevelt Boulevard and Burholme Park. We’ve got to get that issue wrapped up the right way, which is why I’m telling everybody to vote for Raj Bhakta — who favors saving Burholme Park — this November (2006). For like you, he’s from this area, too. And we’ve got to get him in and U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz (who fully stands with the Cancer Center) out. For she’s not from here. She doesn’t know anything at all about here. She doesn’t care anything at all about here. She’s from New York, and she takes all her orders from Bryn Mawr.

JonFox19152 on July 15, 2006 at 3:50 pm

Hey, guys…I live two blocks away from the Orleans 8. I’m very friendly with the security guards there. Just last night I found out that at the end of this month, they are replacing the current security crew(all off-duty or retired Philadelphia Police Officers) with a single armed guard. POSSIBLY in September, date is subject to change, the Orleans 8 will be no more and they will be building a WalMart. Now, I’m not exactly sure about the rest of you, but I have lots of memories at that theater and can’t stand to lose it. Oh, and, when I say two blocks away, I’m right behind the PetSmart that’s right next to it. But anyhoo. I’ve been frequenting that theater every weekend since 1996. I refuse to go anywhere else. If they tear the theater down and build a WalMart, that would make bad happenings for everyone in the area.

JonFox19152 on July 15, 2006 at 3:49 pm

Hey, guys…I live two blocks away from the Orleans 8. I’m very friendly with the security guards there. Just last night I found out that at the end of this month, they are replacing the current security crew(all off-duty or retired Philadelphia Police Officers) with a single armed guard. POSSIBLY in September, date is subject to change, the Orleans 8 will be no more and they will be building a WalMart. Now, I’m not exactly sure about the rest of you, but I have lots of memories at that theater and can’t stand to lose it. Oh, and, when I say two blocks away, I’m right behind the PetSmart that’s right next to it. But anyhoo. I’ve been frequenting that theater every weekend since 1996. I refuse to go anywhere else. If they tear the theater down and build a WalMart, that would make bad happenings for everyone in the area.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on July 14, 2006 at 8:42 pm

TheatreBuff, I happen to know members of the AMC Orleans 8 management, and they came from AMC Neshaminy 24.

In fact, AMC Neshaminy 24 provided managers to; AMC Orleans 8, AMC Franklin Mills 14, AMC Hamilton 24, AMC Plymouth Cinema 12, AMC Loews Lincoln Square 12, AMC Santa Anita 14, AMC Bay Street 16, and AMC Deptford 8 Theatres.

TheaterBuff1 on July 14, 2006 at 8:12 pm

You’re right about the Hiway, Howard, and I stand corrected. At the same time it helps me appreciate the Holme Theatre all the more in that it’s a pureplay. And because the Holme Theatre was designed by one of the top movie theater architects of the 20th century — unlike the Orleans (which to the best of my knowledge no one wants to take credit for) — there’s solid grounds for the Holme Theatre’s holding status above and beyond being “just a business like any other.” Which, in turn, would allow it to have the leverage it needs not to have to debase the moviegoing experience by gouging on concesssion prices, running commercials in addition to film fare, being chopped up into a multiplex and so on. Of course, this would hinge on how it’s restored. Understandably, given how it has not been a movie theater since the late 1950s, much of what was in place originally is missing today, while there are scant few records of what’s been lost. But to be sure, anything that remains from when it was a theater last would be fully preserved and restored. The ONLY possible exception to this would be if there’s any trace of the original proscenium left that would conflict with its being made a widescreen theater. Alas, it would be great if only William Harold Lee himself were alive today and he could oversee the full restoration and updating. But, life goes on, and we who are living today can pretty accurately project — based on the role W.H. Lee played with the Hiway and other theaters — what he would do if given the task of restoring and updating the Holme Theatre today.

Now in terms of economics, there’s no one set type. There very much is a type of economics that forces a theater to cheapen itself, as we clearly see in the case of the AMC Orleans 8. But that’s only one variation. And such type economics really doesn’t work in the vicinity of the Holme Theatre’s location. And we can now pretty much conclude it never will, and thank God for it. For it was tried for there, it failed miserably, and now it’s in the process of dying out. The reason why is because Holmesburg, like a great deal of the rest of Northeast Philadelphia, is far more suitable as a residential area where money is not that relevant, than its being geared for commerce. In brief, it has never been a suitable place for anyone to come to to try to make a fortune. Rather, that’s the province of Center City Philadelphia and so on. And once upon a much better time in Philadelphia’s history, Kensington and North Philadelphia.

So the Holme Theatre has to be run in alignment with that reality. It has no other choice — not that I’m complaining, mind you! At the same time the restored Holme Theatre would not be an “arthouse theater” per se. It would indeed exhibit mainstream films, but at the same time would do it selectively on the basis of these films having high artistic merit. And most mainstream films I must point out DO have that merit. So the Holme Theatre would be specially geared to bring that artistic quality to the forefront. For instance, did you know that 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin',” which was released last November, was in many ways a brilliant African Americanized version of the “Ben Hur” story brought to modern times? For you certainly wouldn’t know this given how it was exhibited at the Orleans last fall. Shown there all wrongly the way it was, it came across as a movie that was pro-drug culture. And it likewise drew a very pro-drug oriented crowd. And Walt Disney’s “Chicken Little,” produced in 3-D, completely fell on its face when shown at the AMC Orleans 8 last year. Which is fine for moviegoers willing to settle for that sort of movie exhibiting. But the whole purpose of the restored Holme Theatre would be to show the mainstream films the way the producers, and directors, and actors and so forth want them to be exhibited, and where that, rather than making the buck, is the major objective.

HowardBHaas on July 13, 2006 at 8:26 pm

no, Lee only worked on a redesign of the Hiway, and was one of several architects over time on that theater. The Hiway is closing this month for yet another renovation.

Mainstream fare survived longer at the Orleans because it has 8 screens. Commercial exhibitors rely on concessions for profits, and can’t be inexpensive with such.

If there’s going to be another movie theater in NE Philly, it would more likely have as many screens or more as the Orleans. That’s just economics, at least for mainstream fare. I don’t know that arthouse films would have enough audience.

TheaterBuff1 on July 13, 2006 at 8:03 pm

The Orleans Theatre is a survivor that’s for sure, and I give its current management full credit for that. And I’m much happier about new people to the area who want to see it kept going as a theater — despite its having been chopped up into a multiplex — than those anxious to see it razed and replaced by a Wal*Mart or Target Store. Meantime, you have me curious: When you say it was packed for CARS, do you mean packed as in “packed in like cattle with making the buck the main objective and the heck with how the experience is for the theatergoers themselves”? Or do you mean packed as in “a really healthy turn out”? For right now we’re looking to take Northeast Philadelphia in a direction where the former is seen as a huge turn off by those newly coming to here but the latter is seen as a very good sign. For see, I’ve been spreading the word about acquiring and making the Holme Theater — which isn’t all that far from the Orleans — a classy neighborhood theater once more, it’s not having been a theater since the late 1950s. But since the Orleans is the only theater around, and this has been the case for over several decades now, the Orleans is what a lot of people think of when you say “movie theater.” And so it’s no wonder, then, that they react like it’s the plague when I and others say, “Hey, let’s make the Holme Theatre a theater once more, too!” For in the Holme Theatre’s case it would have to be run in a way that’s totally classy. Meaning that, unlike the AMC Orleans 8, it would have to be single screen, could never run commercials in addition to film fare, and could never gouge on concession stand prices. Plus it would have to be much more selective in the quality of the films it exhibits. With the Orleans they just show whatever’s new and demand. And that’s fine, there’s a need for that. But at the same time it works in the Orleans' case because it’s situated at a major NE Philly shopping mall. The Holme Theatre’s location on the other hand is the exact opposite. The area right around it is heavily residential not to mention very historic, and to a high level, scenic, given its closeness to Pennypack Park which is not all that far from it. And, incidentally, it was designed by the same architect who designed the HIWAY you mention.

AWatson on July 13, 2006 at 3:47 am

We recently moved to the part of NE Philly right near the Orleans…in fact we can walk to the theater in about 5 mins from our new house!

I saw CARS at the Orleans a week ago with my 7 yr old, and the place was packed…and this was a Tuesday afternoon matinee! I like the place…it looks dated from the outside but its fine inside!

I really like the fact that we can walk to a neighborhood theater..this area really reminds me of my childhood in so many ways. There is also a really old theater called the HIWAY in nearby Jenkintown.

TheaterBuff1 on April 21, 2006 at 11:31 pm

With slots parlors soon to be introduced throughout the state of Pennsylvania in a big way, and with it being asked what impact this will have on the state’s cinemas — — I’m now wondering if there’s any possible correlation between the offtrack betting facility that’s near to the AMC Orleans Theatre and that theater’s demise. As the legalization of gambling in Atlantic City, NJ taught us (or at least I hope it did) it’s always bad news to build gambling facilities anywhere near residential areas or traditional consumer business districts. So given that, there probably is some correlation between that OTB facility and the AMC Orleans' decline.

TheaterBuff1 on March 27, 2006 at 8:02 pm

Reviewing the above posted comments all the way back to the beginning, we can see that the rumors of the AMC Orleans 8 closing have been going on since September 26, 2004, and with Eddie Jacobs being the originator — and perpetuator — of them. And now the AMC Orleans 8’s closing is starting to look like just another one of those urban legends. For I was just over at the Orleans last Thursday (March 23, 2006) and no one I spoke with had any knowledge that it was soon to be closing, if ever.

As for the Pep Boys that’s near to there, I did get it confirmed — by the Pep Boys people directly — that it’s going to be expanding soon. But out in the direction of its large parking lot in back, not in a direction that will overtake any businesses right near to it. No need to.

As for the Hollywood Bistro right next to the Orleans, at worst it simply looked like it was closed while I was there and could do well to replace some of the missing letters on its “HOLLYWOOD” sign on top.

And why the marquee over the Orleans' main theater entryway remains blank I have no idea, but it’s been that way for many months now, and ultimately probably means nothing at all. Or anything sinister at least.

So what I myself can only conclude is that the AMC Orleans is an is and likely will remain as such.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 26, 2006 at 8:22 pm

The AMC Orleans 8 Theatre is still open, as of 3/27/2006, but for how long, I don’t know.