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I’ve seen new movies digitally projected in other cities. The quality seems no better and no worse than 35 mm projection. Digital projectors are very expensive. I’ve not kept track as to how many cities they are in and whether only certain exhibitors (movie theater chains) have used them, so I can’t answer for sure as to why not in Philadelphia yet. Eventually, digital projectors will replace 35 mm for all new movies.
If I read correctly a comment on the Pacific (Hollywood, Los Angeles) page, then the industry is testing digital projection for a classic film, South Pacific. There are often very few, sometimes just one, print available of a classic film, so this could have advantages IF the quality is up to par. There’s been no report that technology can yet compare to a 70 mm experience.
Digital projection, of course, shouldn’t be confused with videotapes or DVDs. The digital projectors a few movie auditoriums use have more resolution/pixels/etc. than a tape or DVD.
Tim, I’m not sure you are aware that you are writing on a very public website. It is NOT a private website that belongs to Friends of the Boyd. It is a very public website. We know the Boyd owner has changed recently from Clear Channel to Live Nation, but I seriously doubt you wish to place any discussion of the financing of this project in the public realm. Thanks again for the compliments to the Boyd!
To clarify, Mr. Luzak is referring in the above post regarding films to a project in Redding, Calif (which one?), not the Boyd. Friends of the Boyd DO plan for a film series at the Boyd.
Hi, Tim. The most recent repainting was of the Grand Lobby, the Foyer adjoining the auditorium (all that green & like) and a litte bit of the auditorium, especially lower part of Proscenium Arch, in 1993, for the world premiere of the movie Philadelphia. Tom Hanks arrived and remarked “Oh, wow, a real movie palace!”
We know Rambusch did some repainting 1945-46 because it is on their index card. We know there was a considerable remodel for 1953 when Cinerama was installed. There was some touch up in 1971 when the Boyd changed hands. The non-original “arch” murals in the auditorium appear to be mid-1930’s, and correspond with much else repainting in the Auditorium. That makes sense, becaue the original “air conditioning” was “ice chilling” and in early Depression summers, even that probably wasn’t used, since the Boyd was closed. And, heat was by coal, as original paint was peeling due to lack of A/C, it was probably also getting dirty.
Visit our website (www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org) and scroll all the way to the bottom for an email address for us, or find one at How to Help link at same. Would be glad to further discuss.
And, THANKS for the compliments to this wonderful Art Deco movie palace that the prior owner obtained a permit to demolish before our citizen activists said “NO.”
A Florida musuem, the Wolfsonian, shows off the wonderful Art Deco exterior window grille from the Norris!
search under Historic Buildings.
There was also an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer a few months ago about the Norris.
RG is right, that this was a terrible missed opportunity. The Inquirer reported that they sensed that at the time, but somehow the theater was lost anyway. There are other examples, too, of theaters helping towns, including the Media theater in Media, the seat of Delaware County. The Media Theater doesn’t host movies, but live theater, and has helped to bring restaurants and life to the main
street there. And, unfortunately, there are NO theaters left in Norristown.
Theaterbuff says NO! There are no more discount or 2nd run houses in the immediate Philadelphia area. Multiplexes now have exclusives on movie, keep film as long as they want it. By time multiplexes no longer want film, it is on videotape or DVD and not enough paying customers. Devon owners kept the theater open as long as they could.
Devon is not going to be restored! It is being gutted!
Devon won’t have film like a real moviehouse, in 35 mm! Theaterbuff saw many movies over many years at the Devon! That time is past.
Devon will open again, with live performances. That’s good.
Thanks, Warren. I was in this one, I keep records, so I know where I was, but my recollection as to the news article could be inaccurate. I didn’t save the article. The suggestion of a stage may have been enough to, ah, suggest a stage to me.
I was never in the Little Carnegie or in the screens in the basement of Carnegie Hall.
How do you know who built it, who the architect was, etc? If you have news articles, I see some people typed them on the site, or scanned them & linked them from another site. I recently copied the opening movie review for Lamb designed Hollywood Theatre onto this site after finding the same movie on a historic photo of the Boyd. Regardless, thanks for your research.
Ed, I read somewhere that they had 4 months to divest the theaters. And, probably on this site, I read that Boston’s Fenway might also go to Regal. I’m equally eager to hear where Washington D.C.’s Union Station and Wisconsin Avenue will go. National Amusements is an excellent company already in those markets (in the suburbs) and it would be nice if they bought all of those theaters. However, Regal for Boston and NYC was mentioned.
I meant in the Balcony, rows of 4 seats, then 12, then 4 again.
Davebozooka, this theater had a balcony. When I saw a movie in 1997, the management intended the balcony to be closed, but I asked if I could sit in it, and they quickly said ok.
When it closed later in 1997, I recall reading a news article saying it opened in the 1920’s.
I have a 556 seat count, but that could be inaccurate. My seat totals may not add up, but in the balcony, I counted 7 rows of 4 seats, then 12, then 7. There was a wood rail there. I record that the orchestra had 2 sections, one of 24 rows of 11, and one of 13 rows of 5, and that the seats were numbered and red. There was a stage. There was no use of a curtain. There were no slides. I estimated the screen at about 25 feet wide, and believed it to be very well placed in the auditorium so there was a great view from the balcony. There was an old chandelier in the lobby. There was a metal stairway with a pattern that I drew looking like a cross going into a circle.
The news article indicated it had ALWAYS been a cinema since the 1920’s.
The Ben Hur presentation sounds wonderful! Realize, though, it might be that these movies were too long to include the commercials.
Thanks for the Gladiator attendence, but I don’t expect much during M to Thursday, and have nothing to compare. How’s Ben Hur doing during those days?
I’ve learned a lot volunteering to get a film program at Philadelphia’s Boyd when it reopens, and one thing is that it doesn’t cost much to get a new lens cut for the projector, to show the film in the correct aspect ratio. Since they showed Metropolis correctly at the Ziegfeld in 2002, they SHOULD already have the lens sitting in a box. We found many lens at the Sameric (the Boyd’s name when it closed), whole boxes full, so they likely have this at the Ziegfeld. Lens are particular to each auditorium, as Vito indicates above. Of course, “should” doesn’t always happen, so we will see soon.
Let’s be constructive! Dear CLEARVIEW: Singin in the Rain has different dimensions than new films. New films are scope, so 2.35 wide as high, or flat which is 1.85 wide as high. Movies before 1953 are 1.33, like television sets before new wide screen ones. That means a different lens for the movie projectors.
One of my greatest pleasures of moviegoing was enjoying the restored 1927 Metropolis at the Ziegfeld in 2002, so I know it has been done before. If Clearview is presenting classics at the Chelsea, presumably they are projecting them in the right dimensions there.
A few years I enjoyed a double bill of Signin in the Rain and An American in Paris at the Paris theater.
ok, now what I’d like to know is whether there has been a big turnout for Braveheart and Gladiator.
Kudos again to Clearview for the classics! Do try to accomodate intermissions, and try to get 70 MM prints in the future, but know we love the Ziegfeld and thank you for keep presenting movies, new and vintage, there!
ok, red curtain is a cliche. yes, gold, yes, my mistake.
Adreco, there’s a red curtain, and a transparent white curtain. The prior operator, Cineplex Odeon, would open the red curtain first, and then would open the white curtain while the film title came on. I liked that practice. I suppose they probably had closed them both after the trailers, but I don’t recall exactly.
Clearview opens them at the same time, with the white one seen separately, but not really separately used.
If they have time for intermissions and still have the number of showings they wish to present for intermissions, then they should do the intermissions. These epic films had them originally. That’s the right presentation, would help with restroom breaks, and increase concession stands. \
Yes, the building survives. You can see the exterior of the auditorium from outside.
Of course, I meant to say “no blank screen ever."
Regardless, more classics!
Somebody will tell me if I am wrong, but my understanding is you should never have a screen to look at unless the movie or another image (previews, etc.) are on it. The curtain should remain closed during the overture. That’s more important to me than the amount of light. No blank curtain ever.
From the New York Times:
‘HOLD EVERYTHING’ OPENS NEW THEATRE; Walker and Mayor Mackey of
Philadelphia Speak at Ceremonies in the Hollywood. NEW FILM IS COLORFUL
Based on Musical Comedy of Same Name—Old and New Pictures Show
By MORDAUNT HALL.
Published: April 23, 1930
With brief addresses from Mayor Walker of this city and Mayor Mackey
of Philadelphia, the Warner Brothers' ornamental and wonderfully
comfortable new Hollywood Theatre, at Broadway and Fifty-first
Street, was opened last night.
There were a number of notables in the orchestra seats and they
received an opportunity to study the great strides made in the motion
picture business since the film “The Kiss” was produced some thirty
years ago and also flashes of other old-time films, such as “The
Great Train Robbery.” It was tremendously interesting to observe the
steady improvement in these shadow offerings, particularly when
Giovanni Martinelli appeared eventually on the screen with other
singers rendering in an inspiring fashion an aria from “Aida.”
The feature of the evening was the audible pictorial version of “Hold
Everything,” which aroused many a wave of laughter. The principals in
this ludicrous turns of events are the ever-amusing Joe E. Brown,
whose willingness to take punishment helped in affording no little
merriment; Winnie Lightner, who did so well in the picture “Gold
Diggers of Broadway”; Sally O'Neil; Bert Roach, who does not get
quite the opportunity he deserves; the fair Dorothy Revier, and
Georges Carpentier, who, after seeing Maurice Chevalier, appears to
have been fortunate in making the screen his second vocation, for as
a performer he is at his best when he is in the prize ring and not
when he is discussing sweet nothings with pretty girls.
It is a gusty affair, this “Hold Everything,” with a funny pugilistic
encounter in which Mr. Brown is one of the fighters. The Technicolor
effects in these scenes are especially good, most of them being in focus.
Mr. Brown figures as Gink Schiner, who does not object to being
mistaken for a champion pugilist. He is, however, wary enough to
avoid imbibing the drugged drink!
Mr. Brown as Gink Schiner has his periods of pain, which, of course,
afford pleasure to those in the plush seats. At one juncture he finds
himself in a reducing cabinet and apparently is in great distress
when the lever of the cabinet is jammed. Schiner seems at first to be
trying to expire cheerfully, but subsequently the heat of the cabinet
is too much for him and he becomes exhausted and is unable to keep
his head above the aperture.
Gink’s mouth is likened to a cavern and one is constrained to believe
that this is an apt description. This capacious mouth gives him an
opportunity to express his mirth, his fear and his confidence in the
ring. M. Carpentier may be the real fighter of this production, but
Mr. Brown keeps the fun going to such extent that one would perhaps
sooner see him trying to make the best of a bad bargain in a
pugilistic encounter than gaze upon M. Carpentier’s more serious
The Frenchman has to take on the champion, Bob Morgan, who is
credited with dismissing his opponents in one or two rounds,
according to his wont. Georges Carpentier, to afford suspense, has to
permit Morgan to have the best of the fight for a few minutes, but
finally Carpentier turns the tables on his adversary and rains blows
upon him until the erstwhile champion is groggy.
Dorothy Revier acts the placid and graceful Norine Lloyd, who is in
love with Georges La Verne (M. Carpentier). She wants to give Georges
a present, and as he happens to be the Beau Brummel of prizefighters,
she can’t think of anything more appropriate than a beautiful
bathrobe. Norine does not know that Georges is much interested in the
brunette, Sue Burke, whom he has known since he was a little boy.
Miss Burke is played by Sally O'Neill.
So long as Mr. Brown occupies the screen this picture is funny, but
when it delves into romance the interest wanes. There are some
pleasing songs and Miss Lightner does her share in her own way to
enliven the episodes in which she appears.
HOLD EVERYTHING, with Joe E. Brown, Winnie Lightner, Sally O'Neil,
Dorothy Revier, Georges Carpentier, Bert Roach, Edmund Breese, Jack
Curtis, Tony Stabenau, Lew Harvey and Jimmie Quinn, based on the
musical comedy of the same name, directed by Roy Del Ruth, with music
and lyrics by Ray Henderson and Lew Brown. At the Hollywood Theatre.
These are all true classics and excellent choices!
I see a comment above about Philadelphia’s Boyd, a former 3 strip Cinerama house, being restored. It won’t have the orchestra booths to project Cinerama, but the historic movie palace will survive! www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org
We found some Cinerama sound equipment tossed into old storage space. There was an old, not too exciting Windjammer poster, and I’m not sure if it was tossed. It was on the floor and not too clean. And, a ticket price sign for This is Cinerama, which we have for exhibit of the Boyd’s history.
I have an ad from New York Times for Columbia Pictures 75th Anniversary Film Fetival, with my own note that it played the Dome. This series was more recent than above. On other side, a revie of Message in a Bottle.
Lawrence of Arabia (70mm!)
Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider
It Happened One Night and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Bridge of the River Kwai
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Tootsie
Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind -DTS (Definitive Director’s Cut)
From Here to Eternity and On the Waterfront
To clarify, the true Cinerama screen is gone from the Uptown. However, as I said, the Uptown offers the best possibility for Cinerama in the east coast. LA & Seattle venues are in daily moviehouses, which I doubt the Mayfair-Demille-Embassy 2-3-4 will become again. Cinerama is only presented for a few weeks at most in those W. Coast cities. The Uptown could put the screen back, open up the A & C booths again, bring back projectors & sound. No other daily moviehouse has the infrastructure of 3 booths.
The KB Cinema’s 35-70 mm projectors are at the Loew’s Jersey.
I’ve spoken at length with the projectionist in the Uptown booth. Cinerama requires a special screen. of thin strips if I recall correctly. It has been replaced. The current screen may be Cinerama sized, but that’s different. Of course, putting up a Cinerama screen would be relatively easy in the space that had it before, as opposed to at the Ziegfeld.
Last I knew, Uptown’s best projection over the Friday to Sunday period, with professional projectionist. They were having a controversy over a platter that had arrived- and that’s long after
platters arrived in most other movie theaters.
The sound has some surround from the back, but overall is usually loud enough. I’ve never seen poor projection there or found the sound wasn’t loud enough. The Uptown is a magnificient movie going experience. Restored or new prints, I’ve seen there the 70 mm epics people want at the Ziegfeld: Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur, Dr. Zhivago, 2001, and more. Truly incredible on the huge screen!
The Ziegfeld’s screen probably isn’t small, but somehow it is the original design of the house that makes it look that way. It is almost certainly bigger than the old KB Cinema on Wisconsin Avenue in DC, but that one was set better and always seemed bigger. However, the Ziegfeld is a neat venue because of its decoration. It has excellent sound, but the Astor Plaza had even better.