Comments from HowardBHaas

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HowardBHaas commented about Visual Arts Theatre on Aug 18, 2006 at 5:49 pm

The above list of posters has no relevancy to the Chelsea West page.

What is relevant is that in about the same time period Cineplex Odeon was turning this 3 screener into a very nice 2 screener, they renovated the Beekman (since demolished) in New York, and in Washington D.C. the Cinema (since closed & gutted) and Uptown. They didn’t renovate the Avalon in D.C, which after Loews departed, was saved & renovated by neighbors. I miss Cineplex Odeon.

HowardBHaas commented about Mayfair Theatre on Aug 3, 2006 at 6:10 pm

I meant another famous “rent free” place now closed but still there. I have practiced many fields of law.

HowardBHaas commented about Mayfair Theatre on Aug 3, 2006 at 4:30 pm

I agree there are too many lawyers, though I don’t mind your being one. You at least care about something else, i.e. historic moviehouses. I usually encourage competition to move to Florida.

HowardBHaas commented about Mayfair Theatre on Aug 3, 2006 at 3:16 pm

I am a lawyer, so when I put an “s” on it, it’s because I am starting to spell Holmesburg due to a facility that used to provide “rent free housing” to clients in the past. That place is more locally famous than a theater that closed half a century ago.

HowardBHaas commented about Mayfair Theatre on Aug 2, 2006 at 6:16 pm

Presumably you are telling the public rather than me who William Penn was.

HowardBHaas commented about Mayfair Theatre on Aug 1, 2006 at 7:39 pm

If you were paid by the word, you’d have the funding….

You do go so off point with all the politics, taxes, etc…

Did the Mayfair reopen yet, as a bank? Is that going to use the former auditorium space?

HowardBHaas commented about Mayfair Theatre on Aug 1, 2006 at 4:38 pm

Thanks for sharing the interesting article.

I hope you can post the videotape of the Mayfair online and Dan can find photos.

HowardBHaas commented about Boyd Theatre on Aug 1, 2006 at 9:03 am

That show will be at the Merriam instead. No date yet for Boyd reopening.

HowardBHaas commented about Mayfair Theatre on Jul 31, 2006 at 5:01 pm

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.

HowardBHaas commented about Eric's Place Theatre on Jul 30, 2006 at 3:12 pm

Here’s a link to original exterior in 1934, Lamb design:
View link

HowardBHaas commented about Eric's Place Theatre on Jul 30, 2006 at 9:28 am

Here’s a photo from 2004:
View link

And, a photo today:
View link

HowardBHaas commented about Arcadia Theatre on Jul 30, 2006 at 3:51 am

4-24-06 photo here:
View link

HowardBHaas commented about Sam's Place One and Two on Jul 30, 2006 at 3:28 am

photo I took yesterday here:
View link

HowardBHaas commented about Penypak Theatre on Jul 19, 2006 at 2:43 pm

Did it look the 1928 Art Deco marquee at Boyd, or the later 1953 version that’s still mostly there? and visit photo gallery’s Exterior gallery?

HowardBHaas commented about Penypak Theatre on Jul 19, 2006 at 2:29 am

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.

HowardBHaas commented about Esquire Theatre on Jul 17, 2006 at 9:52 am

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).

HowardBHaas commented about Esquire Theatre on Jul 17, 2006 at 9:16 am

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?

HowardBHaas commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Jul 16, 2006 at 4:11 am

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.

HowardBHaas commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Jul 13, 2006 at 7:26 pm

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.

HowardBHaas commented about Penypak Theatre on Jul 10, 2006 at 6:28 pm

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.

HowardBHaas commented about Boyd Theatre on Jul 4, 2006 at 6:31 pm

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

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.

HowardBHaas commented about Egyptian Theatre on Jul 4, 2006 at 5:34 am

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.

HowardBHaas commented about Fox Theatre on Jun 20, 2006 at 6:33 pm

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.

HowardBHaas commented about Coronet 1 & 2 on Jun 20, 2006 at 9:54 am

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.

HowardBHaas commented about Cineplex fires a great salvo; finally some innovation on Jun 9, 2006 at 9:07 am

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!