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The Bridge is the best designed movie theater that was built in Philadelphia in the last quarter century. No other modern cinema for mainstream movies in the Philadelphia region better provides the moviegoer with a sense of elegant design. The Bridge was built in the site of a 3 screen Eric theater on the University of Pennsylvania campus, and is a few blocks away from another 3 screener which has since been demolished. Both the 3 screeners were built in the 1970s.
The exterior resembles an Art Moderne design, that of a ship. Nighttime photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/iirraa/121887409/
Close up during daytime: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cholden/423701567/
The lobbies, foyers, and Men’s Restroom are elegantly wood paneled. Attendants in the Men’s Restrooms hand out towels. The foyer has Jananese style lantern ceiling lights. The foyer’s seating section with its comfortable seats is depicted here:
There is a lounge with high resolution screens. There is also a restaurant inside the moviehouse, in addition to the Marathan Grill being adjacent in another part of the theater building.
The two largest auditoriums are # 3 with 300 seats, and # 6 with 235 seats. # 6 looks like a slightly curved screen. As could be expected from their seating capacity, both of those auditoriums have large screens of maybe about 35 or so feet wide, but not huge screens, which I define as 50 feet wide. Auditorium # 5 has 196 seats. All the seat counts are from 2003. Photos of an auditorium, the foyer, and the lounge appear in the wonderful “Cinema Treasures” book by Ross Melnick and Andreas Fuchs.
Rather than a preshow with commercials, the Bridge has long shown a slide of a piece of popcorn. Auditorium seats are luxurious, all stadium seated, with excellent sight lines, clean screens, meticulous film projection, and digital surround sound. The Bridge shows mainstream movies. Weekend evenings are reserved seating. Babies are allowed. Ushers suggest informing them if the babies make too much noise (which unfortunately does happen).
Ticket prices are a little bit higher than other movie theaters, but the experience is better.
Thanks, I emailed them from the contact information on their site.
Auditorium from 1937 The Exhibitor trade magazine:
Photos from 2004 premiere:
Auditorium 2004 premiere:
Facing the movie screen, 2004, a wonderful photo:
2007 Photo of sign:
marquee photo here:
Rendering from 9-15-1937 The Exhibitor here:
Recent beautiful auditorium photos:
No, there are no open movie theaters in Camden.
from 9-15-1937 The Exhibitor, photo of Dante Theatre’s ticket booth:
and photo of glass brick standee wall at auditorium rear with text below:
The standing rail of the new Dante Theatre, Philadelphia, PA Armand Carroll, Architect. Glass brick inlaid in wood panelling and topped with upholstering to match the chairs, is an unusual modern touch. Subdued reflected illumination from within serves only to guide incoming patrons.
This photo is from 9-15-1937 The Exhibitor article on Glass Brick
Text: Aisleheads of the new Belgrade Theatre, Philadelphia, PA David Supowitz, Architect, uses glass brick corners inlaid in wood and lighted from within to direct patrons and promote (Howard Haas note: rest of text missing from my photocopy)
Another photo from same page of the drinking fountain:
I attempted to telephone Landis Theatre Redevelopment Association to inform them of posting of above opening year photos, but all tel. numbers were disconnected. Perhaps somebody can inform me as to how to reach the people working to rehab the Landis Theatre?
9-15-1937 The Exhibitor features the NEW Landis Theatre, Vineland, N.J. Architect W. H. Lee, Philadelphia, PA. Owner Cumberland Holding Co.
published in The Exhibitor:
Blueprint which underneath says Lot 80 ft x 200 ft. Seating Capacity 1200. Cost, without ground: $95,000
Below the blueprint is a photo (from Howard Haas: LOOK AT THE PORTHOLE WINDOWS VERY ART DECO- LIKE A SHIP) with text as follows.
An outstanding new feature in design is the Zeppelin streamlining of the standing rail and windbreak between lobby and auditorium. The glass sheets anchored in bronze framework are tilted at such an angle as to eradicate the necessary echo which forced most theatres to remove such glass with the coming of sound. When sound strikes the deflected surface, it is batted down and the possibility of echo is removed.
Bottom photo on The Exhibitor page with text as follows
An exterior showing the modern treatment obtained by the use of light brick, stainless steel, terra cotta base and glass brick
Later in the same The Exhibitor issue is a feature on Glass Brick with more Landis Theatre photos-
Photo of the Cosmetic Room (from Howard Haas: LOOK AT THE GLASS BLOCK COSMETIC ROOM!) with text as follows
The Cosmetics Room at the new Landis Theatre, Vineland, NJ. W. H. Lee, Architect. The glass treatment contributes privacy while permitting cheerful sunlight at matinee time. The room lighting passing through the transparent substance contributes to the exterior building line at night.
Finally, there’s another exterior photo with text as follows:
A corner of the exterior of the new Landis Theatre, Vineland, N.J. W. H. Lee, Architect. Inlaid in light brick and terra cotta and outlined with stainless steel, glass brick carries out the modern curve, and lighted from the room within accentuates the night time lighting.
Here’s a rendering from 9-15-1937 The Exhibitor of “Basil Bros, new 1000 seat LaSalle Theatre, Niagara Falls, N.Y. Simon & Russell Larke, Architects"
Here’s a rendering found in 9-15-1937 The Exhibitor of “Kridell Brothers newly remodelled 1500 seat Palace Theatre, in Orange, New Jersey. Sidney B. Moss, Architect”
here’s the rendering:
Rendering from 9-15-1937 The Exhibitor of what was desribed as the new 750 seat Rio Theatre
Glazer’s hardback book says Crest opened 11-23-1937. This rendered was in 9-15-1937 The Exhibitor:
Marquee 1st line: Clark Gable, Myna Loy
2nd line: Parnell
3rd line: March of Time (space) Mickey Mouse
My notes from old newspaper accounts are that at opening, there were more than 1200 seats plus 200 seats in the loge.
Later, in Feb. 1972, Budco bought the Goldman moviehouses.
As a twin, it reopened October 2, 1974 with each auditorium being 500 or 600 seats.
That’s a January 2006 photo
Perhaps Uptown could hire a union projectionist for the 70 mm screenings?
And, comments on that page indicate AMC may not renew lease so next year, if someone else operates it…
I’m not sure if Avalon has 70mm. I don’t think they’ve shown anything in 70 mm since reopening. I also wish they’d return to using curtain for each movie.
One of the best film experiences of my life was seeing the restored, El Cid, shown in 70mm in 1993 at the Avalon.
Bring back the cool Deco vertical blade sign seen in 1955 photo!
Wow, brucec, I hope the huge screens, beautiful decor, and USE OF A CURTAIN BEFORE THE MOVIE SCREEN, can become an industry standard! I didn’t think anybody was building them anymore with curtains in front of the screen.
Let’s hope they keep intact whatever interior Art Deco features exist in this gem.