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Restoration of the original Art Deco glamour would sell more tickets, too!
12-11-1998 Philadelphia Inquirer article by Mary Blakinger, Inquirer Suburban Staff, entitled “A movie house in Wayne ready to come back to life"
Wayne- The curtain is poised to rise at the Anthony Wayne Theater, bringing life back to an art-deco landmark here that went dark when AMC left more than a year ago.
Clearview Cinemas Group, the new tenant, has renovated the interior, uncovering and restoring much of the plaster ornamentation adorning the entryway and lobby walls.
Outside, building owner Steve Bajus has given the twin-towered terra-cotta facade a face-lift.
"Hopefully, sometime next week we’ll be open and running,” said John Halecky, a vice president with Clearview, based in Chatham, N.J.
The renovations must still pass a final round of inspections for safety and handicapped access, Halecky said, preventing him from specifying an opening day.
But contractor Peter Cimino, a vice president of Largo Construction in Bensalem, said his crew was intent on having work in the lobby and at least three, if not four, of the five movie auditoriums finished today.
“It’s going to be a fantastic asset to the community as we thought all along,” said Harry Hurst. He served as president of the Friends of the Anthony Wayne Theater, a community group organized in 1995 to save the theater when residents learned the building was for sale.
Clearview, which also operates the Bala Theater in Lower Merion, has divided the Anthony Wayne into five auditoriums with a total of 750 seats. It formerly had two screens.
The theater, designed by architect William H. Lee, was built in 1928 by Harry Fried. People called it Fried’s Folly because it was such a grand movie palace in what then was the edge of the suburbs, said his son, Irving “Bud” Fried of Lower Merion.
Fried, 7 years old when the Anthony Wayne opened, fondly remembers the goldfish pond set in a lobby alcove, which was decorated by a ceramic-tile mosaic.
Since AMC tookover, I’ve been there for Flags of our Fathers, Bobby, Eragon, and Spiderman 3, and haven’t seen scratched prints or screen!
My point is the Uptown will close if you chase people away (and we don’t know if another operator will show films there or not). If customers experience problems, such as scratched anything, they should directly say something to the staff.
AMC doesn’t have union projectionists, classics or 70 mm presentations at the Uptown, but they are operating the Uptown and movies are fun experienced at the Uptown.
JodarMovieFan, did you say something to the staff? I’ve been there since, to Spiderman 3, and didn’t see any scratches.
I meant that in various theaters, sound sometimes is lowered. I didn’t mean at the Uptown.
Where do you work? New York? But, you are hearing Uptown customers complain? You are a projectionist, right? A union projectionist?
As an audience member, my perception is different. It seems that 99% of the audience doesn’t complain as long as the movie runs. If you are a projectionist, yes, I’m sure you get complaints. I often hear that the sound has been turned low because one person asked. (I’m not saying you would do that).
Yes, most single screeners are gone, but there are still some special ones that have survived. I don’t know if considering the Uptown’s huge screen, they could also host some live events (other than church).
Prior marquee seen lit up a little bit in my Oct 2005 photo:
It lit up much, in changing different colors.
Looking at the photos that Ian posted above (which indicate to me that new marquee is boring) it doesn’t appear new marquee lights up? Is that at least a balcony people can stand enter from inside the theater?
You’ve heard “many” complain? Really! Then pigs are flying. (Link a blog, cinematour, or other website to “many”!) I’ve been to countless theaters in numerous cities and know that no matter how lousy projection is, almost nobody actually commplains to the management. I’ve seen movies at the Uptown since 1985. Yes, I’d prefer 70 mm 6 track films with union projectionist, and 35 mm also with staff of Circle, Cineplex Odeon or Loews (which got rid of the union). However, with its enormous screen, the projection & sound at the Uptown make it a great experience!
I’m not doubting on occasion there have been problems, some mentoned above, just as there are at most movie theaters. But, most screenings at the Uptown have not been a problem.
I’d prefer union projectionists, but strongly disagree about “destroyed” presentation. The films I’ve seen have been projected fine. The Uptown is still a great movie going experience. Please don’t scare the audience away because you are upset about the union.
Properly run & programmed, the Uptown still has life left in it for movies!
Stand outside on Sunday mornings and protest the church if you like.
However, boycotting movies would be counterproductive! if people don’t attend movies at the Uptown, then it will for sure cease movies and become something else like a full time church, CVS, etc. For that matter, if movie attendence was higher, there would be no need to rent out the Uptown. The Georgetown megaplex has Sunday morning movies.
According to your earlier comment, Piddy, the lease is up in early 2008, so if that’s correct, and if you are correct that AMC is who has done the leasing (for which they might need permission from the owner, depending on the lease) then either it is a rather short term rental or AMC has renewed the lease?
Ah, I found this item on the Internet from this fellow who seems to be listed as the Captain of the Washington DC blogs:
posted by Tom Bridge at 11:12 PM on July 18, 2007
There was some hullaballoo this afternoon on DC Drinking Liberally, and the Cleveland Park Yahoo Group about the McLean Bible Church buying the Uptown Theatre. Not happening. The Uptown is merely being rented on Sunday mornings as an outreach service to the public.
Fear not, you can still get your Godless Heathen on while watching Transformers.
This says it is Sunday mornings. Will the Uptown still be a moviehouse?
MBC Uptown is a Community Campus of McLean Bible Church. MBC will rent the historic Uptown Theater in Cleveland Park on Sunday mornings. The campus will impact the District of Columbia and nearby communities in both Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Ministries at MBC Uptown will include:
Videocast messages by Lon Solomon and the MBC Teaching Team
Worship led by the MBC Worship Leaders and Bands
Localized ministry teams and outreach events
Opportunities to connect in biblical community with others who live in the DC metro area
Weekly services will start in January 2008.
in today’s Inquirer Food Section:
Posted on Thu, Jul. 19, 2007 email thisprint thisreprint or license thisOn the Side | Viva ratatouille – the movie and the idealBy Rick Nichols
It is the time, almost, of ratatouille, the local, field-grown tomatoes finally blushing up, and skinny eggplants and new zucchini, sweet peppers and cool, porcelain onions, all ripening for the picking – although the peppers are not quite what you’d call abundant, yet.
It is a French peasant dish, as the movie tie-in charmingly informs, a homey, kitchen-sink stew, basically, of all the stuff in the ProvenÃ§al (or Philadelphia) summer garden – plus garlic, olive oil, and, in some versions, basil, which is nothing if not gone totally berserk next to my pokey tomato crop.
It is the flavor of seriously deep July and August, of sunshine and juicy squash, meaty eggplant, sweet onion and tangy tomato, uncomplicated and mightily soulful. Bake it with fresh eggs cracked into wells on top; it can be a full Sunday supper.
Ratatouille, the movie, of course, is about a lot of things – about the triumph of the little guy, about grace under pressure, about keeping hope alive, about listening to your heart, going the distance, etc.
But it is also about rescuing a culinary reputation (of the late chef Auguste Gusteau) from an impostor who would cheapen it; turn it into a brand to peddle a line of frozen burritos and Chinese dishes – “make it CHINE-easy.”
So it came to pass that on the eve of my second trip to the Narberth Theater to see the film, I found myself contemplating a sample packet of the summer’s new seasoning shaker, something called “Great'a Tomat'a, with Lycopene!”
The Great'a Tomat'a Web site has a succinct critique of what’s wrong with your supermarket tomato: It’s not fully ripened on the vine, the better to enhance shelf-life. So its aroma, color, juiciness, chemistry and flavor are underdeveloped, leaving you with a pale imitation that tastes like, well, you know… .
Even New Jersey’s storied tomato fits that profile, its once-vast acreage vastly shrunken, its genetics – favoring thicker skin and longer shelf-life – now little different from any other commercial tomato. Talk about a reputation squandered!
This is not news. Tomato-modifying began falling on hard times years ago. A bad turn? In 1994, the genetically modified Flavr Savr tomato slowed down ripening, so the fruit could stay on the vine longer, but not spoil on the way to market.
But it didn’t taste very good. And one Cornell horticulture professor was moved to observe, it was bred from a bland variety to begin with: “There was very little flavor to save.”
For $3.49 the shaker-full, Great'a Tomat'a (Flavr Savr? Great'a Tomat'a? Who names these things? Rappers?) promises to restore the tomato’s glory; the missing ingredients of flavor, aroma, the tart, the tang.
So what technology has so carelessly expunged, technology will now artfully restore, cutting nature out of the equation entirely: Lab creates lousy tomato. Lab creates way to mask lousy tomato’s taste.
Except that the seasoning does nothing of the sort. I tried it on a hard, red, so-labeled “Jersey tomato,” and a slice tasted flavorless without it – and flavorless with it. “What is it, baby powder?” to quote my 11-year-old granddaughter.
And so we went on our way, ambling over the bridge humped across the SEPTA tracks, to see Ratatouille.
The movie reminds you, among other things, that anyone can add flavor to food, but with mixed result. (The model for the stunningly swirled ratatouille in the movie, by the way, was created by California’s celebrated master chef Thomas Keller.)
But the very best flavor must already be in the eggplant, squash and tomato to truly get in the dish, the result of good seed and good earth, good sun and good rain.
And there is only one way for a restaurant to get that, the sous chef Colette confides: Grow it yourself, or bribe the best farmer to get the first pick.
Photo of current exterior, original ticket boothgone in the twinning renovation:
I saw in 1985: When Father was Away on Business, 1986: Brighton Beach Memoirs, 1987: The Whistle Blower, 1988: (1) The Dead, (2) The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne. 1995: (1) The Usual Suspects, (2) Persuasion. By 1995, curtains no longer used before the movies. Arthouse crowds often filled these theaters.
Also, I see my notes indicate the decoration on the theater walls was painted. Yep, that’s what I recall. 1970’s visual. That bigger auditorium on the left had a decent enough screen. The smaller one on the right wasn’t big enough.
This is my late 2004 photo showing the then closed Entry building of the Outer Circle:
This photo seems to show demolition onsite:
The large auditorium is the building to the left of the entry-lobby building that has the Outer Circle lettering. The smaller auditorium isn’t seen in this photo, but is to the right of the entry lobby building.
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:
Recent beautiful auditorium photos: