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Jim Rankin is right, THS is a fantastic resource!
Are you really named Tom Lamb?
Please write a wonderful book about your grandfather and the theaters he designed!
In Philadelphia, there are a variety of places to go for information. One website and library is http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/index.cfm
The late Irvin R. Glazer lists in his hardback Philadelphia Theatres A-Z that your great grandfather designed or co-designed the now demolished Fox in downtown Philadelphia and the Trans-Lux newsreel (later altered as Eric’s Place) and a few theaters in the neighborhood. One was the State, a fabulous but gone Art Deco movie palace. The Fox was a very successful and important movie palace, and any book about Lamb’s theaters should mention it.
Downtown Philadelphia’s surviving movie palace, the Boyd (www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org), was not designed by Lamb, but is owned and operated by the same company (now Live Nation) that in the last few years restored and reopened the Hippodrome in Baltimore and what is now known as the Opera House in Baltimore, both by Lamb. They were also operating the Pantages in Toronto. I visited in 2002 the Uptown in Toronoto, before its demolition, which was a tragedy for three people as well as the movie palace.
As to the above wonderful list of 1990’s movies (thanks!) there are many blockbusters and many Oscar winners. I attended some, including the East Coast exclusive of The Thin Red Line which filled the house. Sure, there may be some clunkers, but many great movies. Of course, the best classics of all time are even better, but that doesn’t diminish the experience of enjoying the movies they showed.
As to the Godfathers, they are Paramount releases, and I was under impression that Paramount favored the Astor Plaza.
Jane Eyre, which I saw there, I recall being a moveover from the Paris when it closed for awhile. The Paris ceased being a Pathe operation, then later ceased being a Loews aka Sony house.
The Ziegfeld thrived the best as an exclusive venue for New York runs. It survived with movies opening elsewhere until the two 42nd Street megaplexes. Now it is a wander they get any first runs, but I’m glad they do. Problem is people get in the habit of going to 42nd Street, where the blockbusters start every half hour.
Sony changed the names of the Loews theaters to Sony, then as Sony (of Japan) sold their movie theater chain and new company merged with Cineplex Odeon, the Loews names returned to the theaters.
AMC has said maybe there will be a use for Loews name somewhere.
I’ve seen photos post-fire of the exterior and interior.
Andreco, Joe Masher left for an arthouse circuit in New England.
One thing that is evident is that all the films in the classic series are post 1953, flat and scope, not 1.33.
It would be wonderful to get 70 MM, including the restored Doctor Zhivago along with the 70 MM titles you mention, and others! And, if they wanted to raise the prices for 70 MM to $10, I’m sure many would pay.
I may attend one of the Indiana Jones series, since I’ve saw two on big screens but haven’t seen one of them on a movie screen.
How about a James Bond series?
I’ve been assisting with this matter and having reviewed the reports, disagree. The facade of the Yeadon survives almost completely as Eberson designed it. The interior was primarily a simple Art Deco paint scheme of a rainbow of colors, which would have needed to be repainted anyway. This theater can still be saved!
As to rodents and mold, buildings aren’t demolished for those reasons! Those problems get addressed.
Adrian Fine of the National Trust also believes the building should be saved.
Of course, it is tragic that the building was secured since 2003 with a six foot fence. Gosh, nobody can jump over that to commit arson and damage a building, can they?
I urge you to patronize surviving moviehouses and urge your governments to ensure that closed ones- especially those owned by government, are properly secure.
No, I don’t think it is auditorium 1 or at least wasn’t years ago when I gave up. If they want to adopt that as a custom- of always playing in the ornate movie palace auditorium the movie listed at # 1, then, yes, that would help.
I meant to say that I would truly welcome intermission, not to imply everybody else would.
Also, no intermissions in other nations I’ve seen movies in: Canada, England, France, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Denmark.
No intermission for either first Godfather or Part II at the Ziegfeld.
I saw Braveheart at the Ziegfeld, and Gladiator at the Boyd (main auditorium of what was then Sameric 4) and like every long movie in recent decades, there was no intermission.
Why doesn’t somebody ask the management, and projectionists, at the Ziegfeld if they plan intermissions in those particular films that originally had them? And, write down the request on the white cards they distribute which ask for future film choices?
In the 1990’s, in Portugal, I observed every single film getting an intermission. I loved the practice, and most would truly welcome it for those that last 2 hours or more. It would also increase concession sales.
I’ve been only a couple times to what was built as the “Loews” theater of the Sony Lincoln Square, mentioned above. It seemed a great place to see a film, from the balcony. I wish they would put in newspaper and online just which movie is playing in that ornate auditorium, as we can’t always guess corrrectly.
Thanks for replying to my Chinatown question. If the sound wasn’t heard as it was originally supposed to be, I’d bet that it isn’t the fault of the Ziegfeld, but that of the print that was shipped there. As I wrote, the sound of first Godfather yesterday was flawless. And, though we didn’t meet, both Bill H. and I agree that the sound for Godfather II was very good. And, I’ve not had any problems with hearing the sound of the many 1st run movies and reissues that I’ve attended there.
Your clarification as to the history of the Ziegfeld is also very worthwhile. There’s a photo in the current theater of the original, dated 1927. It was a masterpiece of design by Joseph Urban, but was torn down. The artifacts are wonderful, but they are just that, artifacts. Nevertheless, many of us have commented on this site on how much we like the existing Ziegfeld. And as vintage movie palaces don’t show movies in Manhattan, the Ziegfeld is a great choice. That said, I’ve never thought there will be a battle to declare the current theater a historic landmark. Like so many others that have fallen recently, it too will fall.
Did anybody catch Chinatown in the last few days, and if so, how was the print and sound?
The wonderful long list of movies above (we’d love one for the Boyd in Philadelphia!) lists in 1973, This is Cinerama, which played before my time in 3 strip Cinerama at the Boyd in its original run. How did it play at the Ziegfeld? 35 MM or 70 MM? Surely not with 3 projectors and a special wide screen? What is the experience of seeing this movie in a theater that isn’t set up for 3 strip Cinerama?
Attended Godfather I and Part II today. Both were great prints. I had excellent sound, including side and/or back sound in the auditorium. I had a 1997 re-release in DTS, so probably digital sound.
II sounded loud and very good as Bill said, but not quite the same as I. So, I asked an usher, who walked up to the projection booth and returned, telling me “SR” which I take to mean SR Dolby.
For first run movies, the curtain is open before you enter the auditorium, there are slides, then they close the curtain briefly before the pre-show. For the classic series today, the curtain was closed when you entered the auditorium and stayed that way until it opened for commercials, then the classic movie. It was nice to sit there and look at the curtain.
When I entered, I asked the ticket taker and she said about 800 per day, not good, but not bad. That would have been Friday, Saturday. As Bill says, a good sized house considering Superbowl Sunday. I’ve attended various first run movies there with far less people attending.
They had the curtain open to scope, but as these films are flat, the black matting was seen. That shouldn’t keep anybody away, but the right way is to see curtain and film, not matting.
All things considered, an excellent experience with great prints, great sound, and fantastic movies.
The front of the theater is equally special. The interior’s primary decoration consists of paint, bands of Art Deco colors, that would have needed to be repainted anyway. The theater can still be saved.
On the Beekman page, somebody says this theater is being sold to Regal.
The word “Advertisement” above was leftover from an Internet ad. The article above is a news article.
There’s too much in this article to summarize without loss.
News of Delaware County 2-1-06
Fate is in the balance
By John Haigis, CORRESPONDENT
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Officials and historians are eagerly awaiting an engineer’s report on the Yeadon Theatre.
YEADON – The fate of the historic Yeadon Theatre hangs in the balance as officials and preservationists wait for a structural engineer’s report following a fire that damaged the theater Jan. 8.
Built in 1937, the theater was designed by famed theater architect John Eberson in a style known as “Art Moderne,” a successor to the more flamboyant Art Deco, and characterized by a sleek, streamlined appearance. “Even though Eberson is best known for his ‘atmospheric’ theatre designs,” said theatre historian Howard Haas, ‘Art Moderne’ represents a second phase of his work, and this is a rare example of that style."
The theater, which in its heyday had 1,000 seats, was purchased by Yeadon Borough after the theater closed in 2001. The borough had planned to demolish the building, but in 2003, the demolition was halted after part of a rear wall had been removed, and Borough and County officials, along with preservationists and local residents, worked on a plan to preserve the facade and lobby area and develop a community use for the remainder of the property. The Borough engaged Westfield Architects and Preservation Consultants of Haddon Heights, New Jersey to help with the preservation plan. “I walked through [the theatre] after the fire and was heartbroken when I saw the interior damage,” Margaret Westfield said. “I can’t really discuss the building’s prospects because I’m still working on my report and waiting for the structural engineer’s assessment.”
In addition to having been a prominent feature of the Yeadon streetscape for nearly 70 years, the theatre’s association with Eberson, its designer, helps to make the structure significant. Born in Romania, Eberson came to America in 1901 and established himself as one of the nation’s top theatre architects. Many of his theatres were ‘atmospheric’ consisting of grand interiors creating the illusion of a country village or Moorish palace with painted ceilings and small electric lights that mimicked stars. His designs were very popular with theater-goers of the 20’s and 30’s and his fame was such that for a period of time he was engaged by Joseph Strauss as a design consultant on the Art Deco inspired Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Howard Haas indicated that he had been told unofficially that the building is structurally sound, but Borough Manager Anthony Carey said, “Council is in the process of making a decision and we need information from the engineer.” One local theatre operator, Greg Wax, who operates the Narberth Theatre and the Baederwood Theatre in Jenkintown, said he would like to look into the possibility of establishing a 3 or 4 screen theatre with stadium seating on the site.~ “Theatres can help revitalization efforts”, he said, “and give people a reason to go to the business district.” He believes there is a need for a theatre to show upscale films in the area, and hopes to have discussions with County and Borough Officials. Yeadon Council President Vivian Ford said, “We are in the process of making a decision. Our consultant tells us the theatre has lost most of its historic finishes and fixtures. Because of mold and other problems, the cost to remediate will be significant.” Ford said the theatre is expected to be discussed at a special session of Council on Thursday, February 2 at 6:30 in Council Chambers, and indicated she has a large stack of e-mails from people who would like to see a theatre at that location. “We need to make the property work for us,” she said,“ and are eager to come to some resolution.”
Â©News of Delaware County 2006
Thanks for the clarification, Astrocks.
As to the Beekman, I photographed the Art Moderne hardware, in the interior, too, and I hoped somebody salvaged it.
I’m gonna miss the Beekman!
Thanks! The Yeadon theater was one I attended often for decades, seeing many movies like “The Sting” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and many blockbusters ranging from James Bond films to the disaster flicks. I recall Mrs. Friedman and how she furnished the lobby areas with antique furniture. The house was always full of people!
I continued attending movies in the 1990’s at the Yeadon, because I love the ambience of a historic single screen theater. The Milgram family of theater operators had taken over. The best movie I saw there in the 1990’s was “Malcolm X” for which Denzel Washington deserved an Academy Award, but didn’t get it. Never has an actor been more convincing in a biographical role.
Throughout the United States, there are vacant lots on main streets where movie houses used to be, and they stay vacant for decades. The Yeadon theater is in the middle of Yeadon’s main street, and they should consider carefully all the possibilities, including that of Greg Wax reopening the theater as a state of the art moviehouse. He has various ways of doing so, some without any funding from government.
Towns in our Philadelphia area that have kept or reopened historic movie theaters have seen restaurants, stores, and nightlife blossom! Examples include Phoenixville (the Colonial), Ambler, Wayne (the Anthony Wayne), Narberth, Bryn Mawr, Jenkintown (the Hiway), and Bala Cynywd, but there are more.
Towns that have seen their theaters close include Ardmore which let its historic moviehouse be gutted for a health club. Now the town leaders are very upset and debating a redevelopment plan most people seem to hate. If only they had kept a theater open!
The volunteers that I have led to save Center City Philadelphia’s last movie palace, the Boyd (www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org) have seen that with the theater’s reopening announcement, many nearby restaurants have already opened- even before the theater! And, they’ve told us they opened there for the expected theater crowds. And, the street that the Boyd is on, Chestnut Street, had been dead at night. Theaters have a great effect, if they are reopened and are in the right locations to attract an audience with good programs. And, Greg Wax has shown he knows how to do so in his other theaters, no suprise, he’s a third generation movie operator!
In addition to the Yeadon, Rob Bender has other marvelous photos on his site including those he took of some open historic Philadelphia suburban theaters (Bala, Bryn Mawr, Narberth, Phoenixville’s Colonial), closed suburban theaters in Ardmore and the closed Philadelphia’s Uptown (including interior shots of this Art Deco masterpiece), and some in New Jersey and elsewhere.
I’ve put my photos of the Bala, and another open movie house in the Philadelphia suburb of Jenkintown, the Hiway, here:
Please patronize the historic theaters!
Thanks, Ross, for posting. We in the Philadelphia region haven’t done a great job in preserving our movie theater heritage. Many of us have dedicated ourselves to saving our French Art Deco movie palace, the Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia (www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org), but it would be a shame not to also keep the remarkable “American Art Deco” (i.e. streamlined moderne) Yeadon theater designed by John Eberson.
I haven’t reviewed the numbers, but I think there are way more Loews theaters than there were GCC theaters. This will take some time, both with newspaper ads (which can go faster) and with theater signage. assuming AMC intends to rebrand the theaters.
I also hope the Tower East survives. Clearview tookover what they now call the Beekman One and Two, so perhaps they would operate the nearby Tower East. I’m also interested in seeing the Uptown in Washington D.C. continue with movies.
The Philadelphia Inquirer still lists the Loews Cherry Hill 24 in the movie clock.
As AMC announced that all theaters will be renamed?
As to signage, don’t expect instant sign changes at this many theaters! If they are going to change the names to AMC, that will take time.
Please excuse my third comment in a row, but I have just seen this posting by Theaterbuff1 at /theaters/7096/
“Actually what I really should’ve said in my earlier commentary above was that after the federal government moved its Northeast Philadelphia headquarters into the former GCC Northeast 4 building — along with all Philadelphia attorneys who practice Social Security Disability law — at that point it would make perfectly good sense to bring out the wrecking ball and go ahead and knock the whole building to the ground.”
My question is whether Theaterbuff1 is saying he would use a wrecking ball or other means of destruction like a bomb to attack a federal building and kill people inside. After Oklahoma City and 9-11, we should all be on the alert for such threats, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other government agencies would be interested in knowing of such threats or intentions of death and destruction.
As New York City pages including the Ziegfeld page seem to be the pages most heavily used, it seems appropriate given his comments above, to enter this here. Like all Americans, Philadelphians were shocked at 9-11, and we don’t need these kinds of postings.
I don’t find the post amusing, especially he knows that I am among the lawyers he is referring to. And, before I hear his reply, I will say that I’ve never advocated for the destruction of any theater building. I’ve volunteered since 2002 to save movie palaces and theaters and other buildings, not destroy them.
Theaterbuff1, are you advocating destruction of a federal building and death to federal employees by use of a “wrecking ball”? Are you suggesting you might man the “wrecking ball” or bomb a federal bulding? Or that you might seek other people to do so? If so, there are government agencies that may wish to interview you, starting with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I, and the Philadelphia Police.
On 1-27-06 at the Ziegfeld page /theaters/12/
Theaterbuff1 wrote “in no instance have I ever requested that merchants, Hollywood, or the City carry the burden themselves.”
But, on 1-17-06 above, he wrote: “Thus I would suggest the city should foot the cost of its full restoration and day-to-day operational expenses….”