Boyd Theatre

1908-18 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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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 –

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 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 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.

alps on May 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Ten years, I miss this theatre.

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)

alps on April 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Saw workmen today working on the Boyd marquee. Are they just making the exterior presentable or has work begun or restoration?

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on November 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

I recently photographed the interior of the Boyd. Check out my post on it at After the Final Curtain

HowardBHaas on September 16, 2011 at 7:03 am

Howard Haas shares yesterday’s Hidden City Philadelphia update about the Boyd Theatre

The article is also linked to the new Facebook page of Friends of the Boyd. Please click “share” at the link to spread the word about Philadelphia’s last premiere movie palace!!/pages/Friends-of-the-Boyd/167965703267987

HowardBHaas on August 23, 2011 at 6:03 am

Visit our new Facebook page & click “like” to show your support to ensure the Boyd is restored & reopened! We’ve added many wonderful photos in the photo galleries & at comments.

LuisV on February 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

I continue to have hope for our abandoned palaces:

Brooklyn’s incredible Loew’s Kings has finally commenced its $70MM restoration with a projected completion date of 2014. This will add yet another theater to New York’s collection of, arguably, the largest and best collection of restored palaces in the world. Among them, Radio City, The Hollywood, The New Amsterdam, The Beacon, The St. George, Loew’s Paradise, Loew’s Valencia, The Elmwood, Loews 175th Street, The Apollo, among others. I woud also include the two palaces in Jersey City (Loews Jersey and The RKO Stanley to the list) Still to come? The Staten Island Paramount, Loew’s Canal, The Brooklyn Paramount, RKO Keiths Richmond Hill, Loew’s Shore, The Jackson and others.

New York has criminally also lost some of the most beautiful theaters ever built. Among them the Roxy, The original Ziegfeld, The Center, The Capitol, The Rivoli, Proctors East 59th Street, Loew’s 72nd Street, The Triboro, and on and on. However, due to the sheer volume of palaces built, New York has been able to retain an embarassment of riches.

Philadelphia cannot let the opportunity to retain at least ONE restored palace slip through its fingers. Philadelphia is a City of History, a City of Culture, a City of Architecture. It should (and I believe it is) a City of PRIDE. Save the Boyd! Restore the Boyd!

Below is the story from the NY Post:


Plans to turn Brooklyn’s biggest movie theater — the once-majestic Loews Kings in Flatbush — into “the next Apollo” should become reality by 2014, officials say. Borough President Marty Markowitz is expected to announce during his State of the Borough address tonight that architects and contractors have finally begun site-preparation work on the city’s $70 million plan to restore the 82-year-old historic jewel to its former glory. The theater, which seats 3,195, closed its doors in 1978.
Construction is set to begin next year.

Markowitz â€" who has led a community effort to restore the theater â€" says in prepared remarks that when complete, the site will be “a state-of-the-art, 21st century performance venue” and “the pride of Flatbush and all of Brooklyn.”

Part of the Loews Kings' legacy is its A-list of former employees — among them Barbra Streisand and Sylvester Stallone, who worked as ushers. It’s also where Markowitz attended high-school graduation and took his first date. After decades of failed attempts to rejuvenate the site, the city last year tapped Houston-based ACE Theatrical Group to restore the historic theater to its original French-Renaissance-style, so that ACE could present up to 250 concerts, theatrical performances and community events annually.

RedJacket on January 2, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I used to love this dumpy old theater. I last went there in 2002, around the time it closed. I saw “Hannibal” there. My girlfriend at the time wouldn’t go with me again because something ran over her foot. It was in a sad way — the carpets and walls looked like they were originals. The moulding and decorative architecture on the walls was badly aged and water damaged. I kept hoping someone would swoop in to preserve this gem, and I foolishly thought that if I continued to patronize the place I might be pumping some money into that end. I would have thought it would have survived, like some of the older theaters in the suburbs or the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C.

alps on December 19, 2010 at 7:47 pm

The Boyd Theatre’s 82nd birthday is Saturday. Another year being unused. Shame. This could the city’s Tower Theater, if it wasn’t for the taxes, thank you Ed Rendell.

Ross Care
Ross Care on November 23, 2010 at 1:06 am

I add to this album of vintage Pa. and Ca.(LA) theaters and memorabilia from time to time:
View link

HowardBHaas on October 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm

The owner Live Nation has recently repainted the plywood so it looks better. Friends of the Boyd continue to work so that the Boyd will have a great future! We hope you all of your fans of historic cinemas will also be supportive of our efforts.

TLSLOEWS on October 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm

It was a good story till the end.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 7, 2010 at 7:54 pm

2010 photo was a sad ending compared to the 1968 photo.Lots of interesting stories.

alps on May 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm

May 21, 1980. I was standing in line at the Sam Eric, waiting to see “THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK”. Ths would be the last time I would get to sit in the balcony. In February 1997, I stood on line to see “THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK the special edition”. It’s third and final release at the Sam Eric, 1982 reissue the second. At the Loews Cherry Hill, always go on a weekday (!), is passing off a movie screen to me the size on the Sam Eric, as IMAX. I wonder how the theater would fare today with all this digital tech, picture and sound. It may sound terrible, but I am so spoiled by my Blu ray, I love digital. I went to the Film Forum in New York to see, BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, a newly stuck 35mm print. In the back of my mind I was thinking how good the blu ray will look.

kencmcintyre on April 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm

“Revitalizing Chestnut Street” – where have I heard that before?

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 21, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Penway14, The Boyd Theatre is still standing, with the Boyd Cinerama marquee and the vertical “Sam Eric 4” marquee. The Aldine/Viking/Cinema 19/Sam’s Place Twin Theatre is also still standing, with a CVS/pharmacy inside the building.

That theatre that was a block over was probally the World Theatre

Ross Care
Ross Care on February 6, 2010 at 12:39 am

I really got to know the Boyd when I was college at West Chester, but when I was younger my parents had taken me into Philly to see “Seven Wonders of the World” in Cinerama. I remember looking over the edge of the balcony because the sound was so realistic I thought there was an orchestra down there. I also remember seeing MGM’s “Ben-Hur” and “Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” (in 3-panel Cinerama).
When I was in college I saw Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” there. It was in some odd European wide-screen process but still very impressive on the Boyd’s still wide screen.
veyoung mentions a planned reopening. Is the Boyd building still even there?
I also remember the Viking, a little ways down Chestnet St. from the Boyd. I remember sneaking in from West Chester one evening to see a re-issue of “Raintree County” there.
There was also a small theater about a block over from Chestnut (as I recall). It used to show double features of second-run foreign (and probably other) films, sort of like some of the theaters on old 42nd St. in NYC. I don’t remember the name of it it but I went there a lot after college.

kencmcintyre on February 2, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Here is a November 1968 photo from Temple U:

veyoung52 on January 29, 2010 at 1:56 am

Hal Wheeler, who planned to acquire and reopen the Boyd, passed away this past Monday (25).
View link

CSWalczak on January 21, 2010 at 12:40 am

Picture of the original Cinerama screen at the Boyd from the Temple University’s Urban Archive: (ridiculously described as a “white backdrop”: View link