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Thanks for sharing the interesting article.
I hope you can post the videotape of the Mayfair online and Dan can find photos.
That show will be at the Merriam instead. No date yet for Boyd reopening.
I’ve said that I don’t believe it is feasible to return the Mayfair to daily single screen status. I never suggested anyone should damage original historic details, exterior or interior including the murals. I also haven’t read any definitive account as to whether the Mayfair murals are in fact gone, and when so.
Although I understood your reference, I don’t think we need to bring in politics & religion here to understand why Art Deco ornamentation shouldn’t be destroyed.
Also, I have long gone long out of my way to enjoy movies in historic theaters, but there aren’t enough people like me to keep enough of those historic theaters alive, much less return too many that failed three decades ago or even half a century ago (Holmes).
No offence is meant to a dream, but if economics could revive single screen theaters, they’d be popping all over the place.
Here’s a link to original exterior in 1934, Lamb design:
Here’s a photo from 2004:
And, a photo today:
4-24-06 photo here:
photo I took yesterday here:
Did it look the 1928 Art Deco marquee at Boyd, or the later 1953 version that’s still mostly there? www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org and visit photo gallery’s Exterior gallery?
I wish somebody would’ve photographed the original marqueee when briefly visible. Even before gutting, I knew that a movie theater closed in the 1950’s wasn’t going to reopen. Even if a wealthy person renovated the theater to being any kind of theater, Art Deco or not, it wouldn’t exist as a daily mainstream single screener.
Sometimes there’s an employee to ask, but chains are stupid, and there may not be someone to ask or they may not say yes. Bring in your camera in your pocket or bag. Snap a few photos without trying to attract attention. Eventually, an employee says “no photos” so you put away your camera. No real harm to anybody. (Don’t snap at the screen while a movie is ongoing, as they don’t want tapes of movies being made- that’s bad for all of us).
Can somebody please photograph the Art Deco touches, such as the railings? And, post the photos on a flickr or other website, linking that here so people can see?
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.
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.
In his books, the late Irvin Glazer characterizes this theater as “beautiful” and his description makes it clear it was an impressive Art Deco theater. He says it closed in 1951. Therefore, it didn’t survive TV? or was there also a migration of people from the area?
Its chances of again becoming a single screen theater are sllightly less good as TheaterBuff1’s chances of winning the multi-million dollar lottery. Slightly less good because the owner need not sell, or could be tied to lease obligations not to sell. And, he would need to get Hollywood studios to provide films, which they might not do.
When are they turning it into mini-mall?
Originally, “all of the ceilings and wall surfaces were painted in elaborate design…” I wander if any of that survived.
The “SaveTheSameric” domain name expired. I’ve asked the Webmaster to see if we can renew it, so old references can be viewed. For a long time, we’ve been at www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org
We are sending out free Weekly Update emails to anyone who enters their email address for such, at our homepage. The latest news, soon to be posted by volunteer Webmaster, is last week’s removal of the Water Tower framework from atop the Boyd’s stagehouse. That step was needed prior to demolition of stagehouse for replacement with larger stagehouse.
Dennis, I’m sure you are familiar with how long it takes everything to get done in Philadelphia. Closed historic buildings like Lit Bros, the Victory Building, the Naval Home, etc. took many years…new projects like the Kimmel Center, the Gallery, the Vine Street expressway, etc. took forever. The Boyd closed in 2002. Clear Channel bought it earlier last year, but they spun off their theaters to a new company Live Nation, and yes, there have been delays. However, the restoration plans are great, and there will be great shows at the Boyd.
There won’t be poles obstructing views, either! The Academy of Music is an opera house. Touring Broadway & concerts will be fun at the up to date Boyd Theatre. And, Friends of the Boyd are working to set up exhibits of the movie palace’s history, and towards our program of films (classics, festivals, etc), organ, and public tours.
This really belongs on the Pantages page, but I will note that theater was further restored a few years back. Merely because William says that in the early 1990’s it was re-equipped to run 70 mm doesn’t mean the projectors are still there.
I wander if they were thinking premieres or 1st run films? Even if only once a year for Last Remaining Seats, it would be wonderful to have the chance to see a film (35 or 70) in the Pantages. The Egyptian seems to have an excellent film program, but it isn’t the movie palace history tells us it was. The Pantages is still a movie palace with lots of glamour.
This isn’t perfect for this page, but I doubt the Philadelphia Fox was built by the Mastbaums for their competitors. They were builders, so I am open to hearing the proof, but it doesn’t sound right to me.
I know Glazer says the Philly Fox building was a duplicate of NYC’s Loews State, but I don’t know if the entire interior of the theater was a twin.
I’m also disliking the long ownership chain. If not earlier, at least when Warner disappears from the name, there’s no resemblence to any former company.
The book New York 1960 (Marcacelli Press 1995) reports the Baronet was a nickelodeon, which as the Arcadia was taken over in 1951 by Walter Reade & expanded to 432 seats. The upstairs Coronet was added in 1961, as the 1st of the modern Third Avenue theaters.
This duplex closed 9-13-2001. Posters on the theater announced the following, which I wrote down.
After Four Decades, the Loew’s Coronet is Closing. To Commerorate the Coronet’s Place in NYC History, Loews Presents Classic Films of the Coronet Era. Free Admission.
9/10, 1960’s, Dr. No, 4:30 PM, A Hard Day’s Night 7:30 PM, Breakfast at Tiffany’s 10 PM
9/11, 1970’s, Chinatown 4:15 PM, Taxi Driver 7:30 PM, A Clockwork Orange 10:15 PM
9/12, 1980’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, 4:15 PM, Terms of Endearment 7:15 PM, Raging Bull 10:15 PM (but Raging Bull was crossed off)
9/13, 1990’s, Forrest Gump, 4:15 PM, Get Shorty, 7:30 PM, Silence of the Lambs 10:15 PM
Note from me: Great intent, but an American tragedy on 9-11 may have interfered, at least with numbers attending.
Movies are supposed to be enjoyed LARGER THAN LIFE so no home entertainment system is adequate.
Unfortunately, the average movie screen is not 50 feet wide. If you go see the blockbuster on its 1st weekend of release at the local megaplex, then it probably is on a screen that is 50 feet wide, or even bigger. But, too many movie screens in the smaller auditoriums are 20 feet or 25 feet wide (and sometimes smaller). Those screens may be larger than life, but not large enough to get some of us to part with our money and our time.
When they were in the United States, Cineplex Odeon was a great chain for providing decent sized screens in even their small auditoriums, so I am not faulting them. The smaller auditoriums in the Chelsea & Worldwide in New York, in DC’s Wisconsin Avenue, and in Universal City’s theater weren’t bad. But, some of the other chains & local exhibitors built too small auditoriums. Megaplexes are better, try to provide bigger screens, but still leave too many smaller auditoriums with screens that are less than awe inspiring.
Regardless, in general, they are right: see movies in theaters, on larger than life screens, not in your homes!
Fully confident in my academic and preservation credentials, I will say the following:
(1) it is sad that the Mayfair’s landmark Streamlined Moderne architecture hasn’t been protected. That said, I don’t see the economics of “right now” restoring the Mayfair Theatre to a single screen, nor does anybody else that I know of.
(2) I don’t see what foreign nations or the Taliban have to do with this either. What private developers do in the name of making a buck, in Philadelphia to buildings that aren’t legally protected has nothing to do with the religious extremism that is afflicting another part of the world.
I meant to write that I photographed on Saturday.
I enjoyed seeing “Sleeper” with a crowd that often laughed, Friday evening. “On the Beach” looked great on the huge screen. I posted a few of my photos, taken Friday, here:
Back seat driver who won’t ever “invest” in the Boyd would indeed do us all a favor and stop misrepresenting facts.
The Boyd won’t find itself in 1928 but with a new stagehouse, and updated for ADA, modern comfort, etc. We certainly do aim to restore its original Art Deco features. As stated, prelimary work continues. Major renovation will include removal of the four movie signboard.
Friends of the Boyd mission doesn’t include a theater which has been closed half a century (the Holme) or the Mayfair. Without specifying either, it should also be obvious that every closed theater won’t reopen. And, despite pipe dreams, they certainly won’t all reopen as single screen movie houses. That would be living in the past.
I’m a big fan of using the curtain, so I agree.
There’s been much development at the 1900 block of Chestnut Street recently, and much of that makes it better. Friends of the Boyd volunteers have been very devoted to saving Center City’s last movie palace, and have spent many hours to make this happen. WE’ve not seen financial support or an hour of your time on this effort (and we don’t see your actiona making better the theaters you champion in the Northeast- the Holmes & Mayfair especially), so I don’t know why you choose to be so unpleasant again to a group that has sacrificied so much. The new owner of the theater has also worked very hard. This preservation is a great model of SUCCESS. We anticiate major renovation to start soon.