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Yes, years ago, none of us Philly natives what have believed it!
Yet, that’s reality, and why starting last weekend, and this past weekend, I added 13 multiplexes/megaplexes in Philadelphia & its burbs (on the PA side) to this site including this theater. All the others in the newspaper on the PA side had already been entered.
of course, this is also good reason to ensure the Boyd www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org is restored and reopened including for movie premieres, film classics & film festivals, and live shows the rest of the year. Many people experience movies in stadium seated auditoriums in plexes, but people should still be able to experience them some time during the year in Golden Age Hollywood style movie palaces!
I really enjoyed reading the name origins posted by Joe.
Eddie, in regard to these two theaters, you may be correct. This one continues to be very well patronized, much better per seat than the Orleans. I’ve not heard of any other in the Philly area with a 590 seat auditorium and 61 feet wide screen, and this one has two such auditoriums!
However, the magazine’s evaluation of many other theaters (and I posted most) seems to have been on point. Of course, it may be time for a new evaluation by the magazine especially since some theaters like the Bridge and UA King of Prussia weren’t then open, others have changed hands, etc.
Nah, there’s a photo of it being demolished and a Feb 24, 1984 letter to the editor of Philadelphia Inquirer by Irvin R. Glazer reprinted (and referring to the photo) on back cover of 3rd Q 2003 Marquee of the Theatre Historical Society of America. It would be improper if I scanned & posted it, but as a THS member, I can tell you that most of the back issues are avail for purchase. THS has its own website. That issue has an entire section on the Goldman including the Stairway image which I posted above. (independently of THS, I have an original print of the Stairway image). Gorgeous photos of some Philadelphia movie palaces, and write-ups, are also in the same issue.
There’s an Alex film society hosting a film series at the Alex.
The Rialto isn’t a moviehouse either anymore. It is a closed vacant building. And, unless it is chopped up into small auditoriums, it won’t likely reemerge as a daily moviehouse!! People dreaming that the Rialto will reemerge as a restored single screen daily moviehouse like the Castro can keep on dreaming, but it probably isn’t going to happen. If people don’t want to see the building demolished or used for non-entertainment purposes, then other solutions including mixed entertainment use (concerts, shows, etc) might be considered.
There are still movies at the Alex, and even more at the Warner Grand (foreign films, classics, etc) so people can still sometimes enjoy films in an authentic Golden Age Hollywood movie palace. Live shows help to pay the freight. Nonprofit status helps in those two theaters.
The June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated the UA Main Street 6 a “3” on a 1 to 5 scale with comment: “Manayunk deserves better” A high rating was awarded in the Seating category. Instead of the characterization “First-run mainstream” applied to other mainstream moviehouses, the term “Lame mainstream” was used.
From November 2006 Philadelphia Weekly:
Most Hit or Miss
If you catch a flick on one of the United Artists' Main Street 6’s two giant screens, you’re in for an enveloping treat. If you get stuck in one of its four smaller houses, well, you’re screwed.
Kram, I’ve read a bit about the Alex, but am not the best person to compare its interior to the Rialto. On vacation from Philadelphia, I have seen movies at the Rialto, and at the Warner Grand,(and visited dozens of historic LA area moviehouses) but the Alex I haven’t been to. The Alex was restored as a nonprofit, and was never a huge movie palace but was a nabe theater like the Rialto, so I made my suggestion.
Can somebody in LA answer Kram’s question?
June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated the UA Riverview 17 as a “3.5” on a 1 to 5 scale with comment “Best Center City mainstream choice – for now” Very high ratings were given in the categories of Seating and Cleanliness.
Philadelphia Weekly November 2006
“the poor old UA Riverview can’t seem to ditch its negative image despite two enormous screens that, along with the main theater at the Ritz Five, are the best venues to see a movie in town.”
Because the main floor auditoriums changed with the addition of the 2nd floor & stadium seating, I waited for the Comments to mention a Feb 2, 1997 Philadelphia article, page A 22. The then General Manager, Ron Angeli, described the largest auditorium as follows:
The screen is huge: 41 feet wide and 18.5 feet tall. The action blasts out of a 2400 watt Surround system that includes 3 stage speakers with horns, 8 on the sides, and 2 in the back. 457 seats.
(My own note to above would be that the main screen at the Sameric, aka Boyd, that United Artists was then operating in downtown Philadelphia, was larger, at more than 50 feet wide.)
The June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated the County a very high “4” on a 1 to 5 scale, with comment “Bucks County’s answer to the Ritz. Best Bucks art-house choice.” Highest possible ratings were achieved in the categories of Cleanliness and Service, and very high rating for Seating. For movie Selection, whereas Ritz and Roxy theaters in Philadelphia were specified as “Art-house and indie” the County was stated as “Highbrow fare”
I will add that the movie selection is always top of the line arthouse.
The June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated the AMC Woodhaven 10 a “3.8” on a 1 to 5 scale with comment “Across the road from GCC Franklin Mills and just as nice.” (that’s now AMC Franklin Mills). Highest possible rating was achieved in the Seating category, and very high ratings for Cleanliness and Screen & Sound.
The June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated the UA Oxford Valley a very high “4” on a 1 to 5 scale with comment “Best of Bucks mainstream theater choices” Highest rating was achieved in the Cleanliness category and very high ratings in the categories of Screen & Sound, and Seating.
Despite the comment, an even higher rating was awarded the Regal Barn Plaza 14.
The June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated the Regal Barn Plaza 14 a very high 4.5 on a 1 to 5 scale, with comment “Still has that new-car smell.” Highest possible rating was achieved in the categories of Seating and Cleanliness, and very high ratings in the other categories: Screen & Sound, and Service.
This was the highest rated theater in Bucks County, and higher than almost all theaters rated then in the Philadelphia area.
June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated the AMC Neshaminy 24 a “3” on a 1 to 5 scale with comment “One of county’s busiest, and the wear and tear shows.” Highest possible rating was achieved in the Seating category, and very high rating for Screen & Sound. The “Service” rating was lower than any other in the Philadelphia area.
The June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated the Ritz Five a “3.8” on a 1 to 5 scale, with comment “Screening rooms are small and tight, with thin walls, but this is still the best art-house choice downtown.” The highest possible rating was achieved in the Seating category, and a very high rating in the Cleanliness category.
The June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated the AMC Orleans 8 a “3” on a 1 to 5 scale, with comment “A former cutting-edge theater that has dulled considerably.”
The June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated this theater (then a GCC) a 3.8 on a 1 to 5 scale. The highest possible rating was achieved for Seating, and very high ratings for Screen & Sound and Cleanliness. Comment was “Big hair and big attitudes, but not the worst place to see a movie in the Northeast”
By Northeast, the magazine means in Northeast Philadelphia.
On a 1 to 5 scale, the June 1999 Philadelphia Magazine rated this movie theater a very high 4.3 with Comment that it has “All the lastest bells and whistles” It received the highest possible ratings in the categories of Screen & Sound, Seating, and Cleanliness.
On a 1 to 5 scale, June 1999 Philadelphia magazine rated this theater a “4” with comment “Brand-spanking new” It received the highest possible rating in the Screen & Sound category and very high for Seating and for Cleanliness.
Exterior photo here on this realtor’s site:
I think Terry’s recent comment refers to the El Capitan in its pre-restoration years, as the Paramount. A photo of its exterior is depicted here:
I’m not in Los Angeles, but there used to be a display of photos from when El Capitan was the Paramount (including the above photo) outside the theater. Those photos include the auditorium. Are those photos online anywhere?
One our Friends of the Boyd volunteers wrote to me after seeing the photos:
I remember going to all of these theatres…First “date” with my former husband was at the Cinema 19 (“I Am Curious Yellow”) !
Another supporter wrote the following:
Great memories, and thanks for making me feel old. I actually saw Finian’s Rainbow at the Stanley, as well as Ice Station Zebra in Cinerama at the Randolph.
Here’s the Riverview you mention:
makes me want to visit!
I seem to recall reading that the auditorium was in total ruins? It does seem likely this will complete that process. Fortunately, Kansas City has or is restoring at least one movie palace, regardless of whatever is being done to this one.
The Grand Lake added 3 screens in Oakland. London’s Odeon Leicester Square has tiny additional auditoriums which aren’t so relevant to this example. Movies really move over to the twin Odeon West End (until that falls). The last I read the Grand Rex in Paris was in danger because redo plans for the additional screens, etc weren’t being approved.
There’s pharmacy chains almost every block of downtown Philadelphia now. They will oversaturate the market, and every city one will close? NO.
Many sales activities, such as shoes, antique row, etc prosper with more rather than less.
Sound movies (and the growth of the neighborhood moviehouse), TELEVISION (killed Philadelphia’s Earle in 1953, the Mastbaum later in the decade, and resulted in the downsizing of seating at many including the Stanley), the move to the burbs, and multiplexes, killed the movie palaces. Same story played out everywhere in the world. Cities had many, then as of the 1950s…..