Comments from HowardBHaas

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HowardBHaas commented about 70mm World Premieres now listed in introductions of New York City movie palaces on Oct 27, 2007 at 7:18 am

Let’s try that link again,

HowardBHaas commented about 70mm World Premieres now listed in introductions of New York City movie palaces on Oct 27, 2007 at 7:16 am

The Friends of the Boyd, Inc.,, the nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that the Boyd is restored and reopened as a theater (and which I am President of) in have one focus at this time: ensuring that the Boyd is saved, restored, and reopened. Our goals include a film series, exhibits of the Boyd’s history, and public tours. The Boyd will primarily be a live events theater. Any commercial movie or documentary about the role of projectionists sounds lovely, but isn’t within our mission and would need wait for the Boyd’s restoration so it would appear to be a working theater.

HowardBHaas commented about Non-profit group in San Francisco area in need of a president and board members on Oct 26, 2007 at 2:25 pm

Scott, do you mean the S.F. Coronet? that was demolished.

HowardBHaas commented about Ziegfeld Theatre on Oct 26, 2007 at 6:10 am

I found that online. If the mural finds a home, as it hopefully will, and there’s a news item about it that I see, I certainly will post it.

HowardBHaas commented about Ambler Theatre on Oct 25, 2007 at 3:29 pm
24 October 2007:
Cinema Paradiso
The Ambler gets a new look and becomes the best first-run theater in the region.

by Andrew Repasky McElhinney

While you wait for the long-promised replacement of the murderous seats at International House or for the reemergence of big-screen film at the Prince Music Theater, a trip just 16 miles outside the city to Ambler reveals the near impossible: a discerningly programmed triplex housed in a classic old movie theater.

The process took about as long as a Kubrick movie shoot, but after nearly five years the Ambler Theater finally opened the doors of its main 270-seat auditorium earlier this month.

It was worth the wait. A recent excursion to see Ang Lee’s lugubrious snoozefest Lust, Caution revealed posh stadium seating, glorious sound and sharp, efficient projection inside the main auditorium. Featuring a giant sloped screen that moves to accommodate live events and, in its flexibility, creates the best possible sightlines, the Ambler is now, along with the Colonial Theater of Phoenixville, the best first-run moviegoing experience around.

The Ambler is a not-for-profit, community-owned venture, a sister theater to the still emerging Bryn Mawr Film Institute and Doylestown mainstay the County Theater. A trip to the Ambler recalls the days when each neighborhood had a movie palace and the cinema was not only an escape but also the soul of the community.

Built in 1928, the theater has been updated with a restoration that’s sensitive to the decor of the original and also progressively modern in its gentrification of a house that’s been dark since the mid-’80s.


The Ambler hasn’t been slavishly restored to its original glory. Rather it’s enjoyed the type of chic utilitarian rehab dipped in classicism whose most prominent architectural models are those jewels of New York: Manhattan’s Landmark Sunshine Cinema and Brooklyn’s BAM Harvey Theater.

The architectural compromise of carving out two black box auditoriums from the original’s former rear, and modernizing the rear portion of the new main auditorium, won’t satisfy the most stalwart preservationists. But it does bring life to what was a dead theater.

The majestic return of the Ambler mirrors the evolution of the town itself. A down-and-out borough nearly crippled by an asbestos factory left abandoned in 1962, which had been polluting the region with vile toxins since the 1880s, Ambler has turned around in recent years. Once a blighted suburban skid row, it now boasts a refurbished R5 SEPTA train station, restaurants, cafes, one-of-a-kind stores and a young population seeking a return to small-town living.

The cozy small-town vibe is what’s most alluring about the theater. Cinephiles aren’t bombarded by advertising and endless infotainment prior to screenings. A repertory film series of classic pictures flourishes, but regrettably, its features play only in the smaller auditoriums.

The Ambler also offers movie history programs, creative booking, appearances by notable guest critics and filmmakers, and promises to become the mecca for movies northwest of the city.

According to Howard B. Haas, the leader of the tireless effort to save Philadelphia’s Boyd theater (also known as the Sameric), more than 95 percent of the nation’s historic movie houses have closed, and many of those remaining have been gutted.

“There are only a few movie houses in the entire Philadelphia region where you can walk in and enjoy an original ornate lobby and auditorium,” he says.

The restored Ambler Theater is the best of both worlds: old-school charm and state-of-the-art technical aptitude. It’s a new benchmark of quality that highlights the disappointing dearth of modern moviegoing options in Center City.

HowardBHaas commented about 70mm World Premieres now listed in introductions of New York City movie palaces on Oct 23, 2007 at 7:00 am

Vito, this is all very interesting. 56 years! Of course, I don’t mind, especially as you are writing, more or less, about the Road Show procedures.

I don’t own the thread, merely started it, but I will speculate that you probably could also write more specific recollections about 70mm films (regardless of world premieres) in the New York movie palaces. Regardless, thanks for all your contributions to this thread.

HowardBHaas commented about Vine Theatre on Oct 23, 2007 at 5:33 am

Is there additional confirmation that it closed and is no longer showing daily movies?

HowardBHaas commented about Egyptian Theatre on Oct 23, 2007 at 5:32 am

I haven’t seen 70mm there, but the comment was the screen isn’t huge enough and some people don’t like the decor of the place. Having enjoyed a 35mm classic at the Egyptian, I’d ignore the decor critics. If the film is a giant classic epic like Lawrence of Arabia, then perhaps the screen size might be disappointing if you’ve seen the film already on a huge screen. If you haven’t already seen the film, or it isn’t an “epic” then don’t miss it. There are 70mm prints shown that won’t be shown elsewhere in the area.

HowardBHaas commented about Ziegfeld Theatre on Oct 22, 2007 at 12:55 pm

Blade Runner deserves MORE than what a friend advises me are crappily designed plex auditoriums at Landmark, which don’t have huge screens. Since there are 35mm prints, they ought to present Blade Runner at the Village or one of the other huge LA screens!

HowardBHaas commented about Boyd Theatre on Oct 22, 2007 at 11:09 am

Today’s Weekly Update of Friends of the Boyd:


Built in 1928, the Boyd Theatre is the last surviving motion picture palace of downtown Philadelphia. Acclaimed as an Art Deco masterpiece, the Boyd was an early example in the US of a movie palace in the Art Deco style. The Boyd was designed by Hoffman-Henon, architects who designed many of the other movie palaces. The theater’s exterior included a towering vertical sign that advertised the theater a mile away, a public retail arcade and a huge etched glass window with Art Deco motifs. View link

The Boyd has one of Philadelphia’s grandest Art Deco lobbies View link

plus foyers and lounges with dazzling colorful mirrors, marble fountains, and elaborate plasterwork View link

and a 2450 seat auditorium with perfect sightlines View link

The theme of the Boyd is the triumph of the modern woman, seen in the Proscenium Mural by acclaimed artist Alfred Tulk and by artistic figures of women from around the world including the modern American.

Movie palaces including the Boyd were places where the ordinary man could enjoy entertainment in a regal environment. On opening in 1928, for a mere 35 cents, an ordinary Joe could enjoy Walt Disney’s debut of Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie and Interference, Paramount’s 1st talking picture.

Equipped for the change in movies from silents to talkies, the Boyd drew patrons from throughout the Philadelphia area for films such as “Gone with The Wind,”epic 70mm films such as “Ben Hur” and “Doctor Zhivago,”and blockbuster movies like “Star Wars.” Customers traveled from a hundred miles away as the Boyd was the only local theater equipped mid-century to show Cinerama films. Hollywood style premieres were public spectacles, including the 1993 World Premiere of “Philadelphia” with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington appearing.

Too many movie palaces nationwide have been demolished, but almost every US city has restored and reopened at least one movie palace to serve as a showplace of entertainment and so future generations will know how movies were experienced in the 20th Century.

Help us find more people who can join our cause at

Howard B. Haas

HowardBHaas commented about NuWilshire Theatre on Oct 21, 2007 at 6:58 am

If the Westwood Regent real estate value is higher than as a moviehouse, it is safe only as long as Landmark wishes to stay there (gets enough movie customers & doesn’t want to leave to focus on multiplex). If the landlord could get higher rent from another tenant or sell for great profit to a developer, and if Landmark is happy to leave, then they both agree to end the lease early.

If there the NuWilshire lease had another few years, then Landmark didn’t need to depart, right?

HowardBHaas commented about Egyptian Theatre on Oct 20, 2007 at 6:57 am

There’s another British fellow writing “projection suite” so maybe that is a proper British term for projection booth (as per your comment above)?

I admire your love for historic theaters. I also respect what the late Jim Rankin wrote above. It is worthwhile reading again.

HowardBHaas commented about Regal Potomac Yard 16 on Oct 19, 2007 at 8:23 pm

Opened by Hoyts! That’s why the two huge screens.

HowardBHaas commented about NuWilshire Theatre on Oct 19, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Does Landmark own this theater?

If owned by someone else, and IF the rent is right, and IF the theater is still profitable (lots of ticket buyers!), then maybe one of those other movie operators will be interested. If there are as few ticket buyers as the South Pasadena Rialto, or apparently the National had, then forget its reopening.

And, if Landmark owns it, they may not wish a competitor to reopen it. They could rent it out for non-entertainment or sell to a developer.

HowardBHaas commented about Carthay Circle to be rebuilt in Disney's California Adventure on Oct 19, 2007 at 6:39 pm

The press release that I linked above indicates that this is NO replica. “inspired by” doesn’t mean a Replica. The summaries provided by the news services just aren’t accurate.

So it likely isn’t a moviehouse interior. I don’t know what they need for an “interactive tribute” but ornate lobbies and auditorium may not get rebuilt.

If an “interactive tribute” means a movie screen, then it could be large, but I’m not sure they even mean a movie screen.

HowardBHaas commented about 70mm World Premieres now listed in introductions of New York City movie palaces on Oct 19, 2007 at 5:21 pm

Al, you are correct in that multiplex exhibition did play a big part. However, 70mm 6 track prints were produced UNTIL DTS digital sound began. Then, studios & operators abandoned the format. As William said above, the sound was important, and once digital sound arrived….then combined with your multiplex rationale, both reasons together caused 70mm to go bye bye.

HowardBHaas commented about Bethesda returns with live theatre on Oct 19, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Good news. A compromise with tall building, but good news.

Look at the photo in the news article of the auditorium!

HowardBHaas commented about Wapa Theatre on Oct 19, 2007 at 2:27 pm

Before we get into trouble, I will add that I wouldn’t post a full article on the homepage where it is very visible and looks like news. There, a summary is better. And, if you have zillions of articles like you do with photos, perhaps better to summarize and/or link all but the most important ones. That’s my opinion. Of course, I don’t make decisions for the site.

HowardBHaas commented about Rialto Theatre on Oct 19, 2007 at 2:24 pm

And, if lacks a big enough stagehouse, maybe there’s room to expand it.

HowardBHaas commented about Rialto Theatre on Oct 19, 2007 at 2:22 pm

There’s little chance, given the existing arthouses, of the Rialto once again being a daily cinema- certainly not in its original beautiful SINGLE auditorium splendor.

Need mix live events in with a film series.

HowardBHaas commented about Wapa Theatre on Oct 19, 2007 at 2:19 pm

Lost Memory- no, but then many links break and the stuff is lost. I haven’t heard of a newspaper making a fuss….

I have also seen theater websites often scan articles & post them right on the site. For that matter, all the scanned newspaper stuff….

HowardBHaas commented about Wapa Theatre on Oct 19, 2007 at 6:19 am

Here’s the text of the article including when it opened:
Lights out at the Wapa Theatre
Bart Mills | – 10.16.2007

WAPAKONETA â€" The classic marquee above the Wapa Theatre is dark but for the lettering where the weekâ€\s showing once appeared. Instead of a movie title, the marquee reads simply: “Who needs the Wapa Theatre?”

To owner Robert Wiesenmayer the answer is obvious: nobody.

“Itâ€\s been closed about three weeks and nobody really knew it. I thought somebody would notice but not one person said a thing to me about it. That tells you about all you need to know,” Wiesenmayer said.

The century-old theater, which began life as a vaudeville house in 1904, housed its last film â€" Dragon Wars â€" about three weeks ago. The space has been a movie theater since the 1930s, but itâ€\s been a few years since itâ€\s made money.

“I always subsidized the thing because itâ€\s in my building,” said Wiesenmayer, a Wapakoneta attorney who houses his practice in the building. “I didnâ€\t mind that it didnâ€\t bring in enough to pay the lease. I didnâ€\t mind having to pay the utilities, but when it got to the point it didnâ€\t bring in enough to pay for the manager, something had to be done.”

Wiesenmayer has owned the Wapa for nearly two decades, but in recent years the business has declined. First he lost the older children and adults, customers who either drove to Limaâ€\s big, 12-screen multiplex or stayed home and watched movies on DVD. He shifted to children-friendly flicks and kept the prices low to draw the 10- to 16-year-old set. But pretty soon they stopped coming too. By the end, the theater was drawing 100 customers a week on a good week.

“On weekends youâ€\d be lucky to have 20 on a Friday. On Saturday night you might get 50 and another 20 on Sunday. When fall sports started it got worse. You have a home game on Friday night it was like youâ€\d quarantined it,” Wiesenmayer said.

Wiesenmayer said he has no plans for the building, but hopes somebody will think of a new use for it. Until then heâ€\ll keep the building up and consider any suggestions.

“Iâ€\ve got to find if thereâ€\s another adult use for the theater. Iâ€\m not ready to tear it up and Iâ€\m not going to put plywood up over the windows or anything, I just need an alternative use for a historical location, Wiesenmayer said.

“It was sad to see it closed, but I would have to start taking a collection up to keep it going.”

HowardBHaas commented about Egyptian Theatre on Oct 18, 2007 at 8:29 pm

Oh, it sounds like the sink at El Capitan has too many uses!

HowardBHaas commented about Kingstowne Cinemas 16 on Oct 18, 2007 at 8:22 pm

“Fully expanded” is indeed what Consolidated Theatres says, but what does it mean? does it mean the movie screens become smaller for scope films? or something else?