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Saw “The Accused” here (Sam’s Place then) while courting my wife-to-be, and I recall seeing “The Dirty Dozen” either here (Cinema 19) or down a few blocks at The Goldman.
Was there a particular art to hanging letters on the marquee? I viewed the online pictures and saw that the lettering was perfectly aligned and spaced, no matter how large the marquee.
This was possibly the most basic-looking of auditoriums I’d ever seen. The only distinguishing feature was the three large lighted rectangular spaces in the ceiling. No marble, no brass railings, just a large screen and the convenience of the nearby Septa terminal. I still miss it, though; a Rite-Aid now occupies the space.
I grew up not far from here and recall the theater being used as some sort of ‘70s disco/club, and it was definitely next to H&H. When the Market-Frankford El was being renovated in '06, the bus stop was temporarily relocated directly in front of where the Belmont stood. There are new(?) stores on that spot now.
Strolled past this exact location a few weeks ago and one would never know the Randolph even existed there. I wish I could have seen this place at least once before it disappeared, but Mom wanted to see films only; I wanted to see films AND the theater.
There is still an inty portion of the “61st Street Drive-In” sign still standing amidst the other rubble to this day. It’s mainly yellow with (I think) blue and red lettering. Saw it en route to work one day and wanted to hop off the bus to photograph it, but 61st St. is a very busy stretch of road.
I recall the shuttered building but not the marquee, but the interior was indeed fabulous from what I viewed in the Irwin Glazer book. It may have been removed as a safety precaution before the demolition, or maybe age is eroding my memory.
SIDENOTE: Is there any info regarding the old Eric Terminal Theater in the 69th St. El/Bus Terminal?
HOWARD — YOU ARE THE MAN! That answers my question about the acoustical tiles that also were at the Randolph. Those Goldman fixtures, gosh, I wanted them so bad but no one was allowed in bldg prior to its razing it as was permitted at the Fox. Those sconces were pretty strong, too. A huge chunk of debris fell on one as they were tearing the place down (I watched in horror) but it barely budged. And those huge neon letters — who knew? Eleven rows of neon? I’m sitting here screaming at the images on my laptop, like, “D—–! Look at this!” So you see, moviegoing for me went far beyond just the film itself. Thank you so much for these links, Howard. Coffee and a dozen donuts are on me!
Suffice it to say those particular curtains weren’t there anymore in the ‘70s. There were curtains in front of the screen just before the Fox was demolished, but not nearly as plentiful or dazzling. Never looked at curtains from a public-safety perspective, though. Always thought they were mere decor, but in that photo they looked fabulous as well as being functional.
Too bad we didn’t have digital cameras and photo-sharing sites then!
Now, that’s false advertising — kind of. From that view, it leads one to believe that “Tycoon” is the theater name the way it’s emblazoned across the marquee, and that perhaps the theater may have had previous ownership prior to the Goldman era (a la the Viking/Aldine/Cinema 19/Sam’s Place) Thanks for clearing that up, and many thanks for posting the links — that Boxoffice magazine is a real enjoyable doozy!
Thought I read somewhere that the Goldman was once called the Tycoon theater many moons ago. Any truth to this?
RE: the May 6th Almeda photo. It brought back painful memories of when the Fox and Milgram were being demolished because that was the exact view I had of the theaters via a hole in the fence I peered through surrounding the demolition site.
As for as the Randolph, the economy must have been great during those times! It seems other theaters adopted similar lighting structures but on a smaller scale. Never saw the Randolph, sadly. And I certainly never saw an air duct (or is it a medallion?) poking through in that fashion. Can only remember the large circular backlit medallion on the Nixon’s balcony underside. It glowed orange during a film, then slowly morphed to white during the credit roll/curtain close.
What’s fascinating is that even the least-ornate theaters of yesteryear top the sleek thingamabobs of today. Man, what I’d give to see an old marquee again.
The wife and I took in a movie at The Pearl this evening. It wasn’t our first trip there, nor will it be our last. It’s comfy, the sound is great, but the ghosts of Nixon, Goldman, Locust, Arcadia, Midtown, Fox, Milgram, Regency, Boyd, Duke and Duchess continue to follow me around. And I agree with robwar1 on the LED billboards outside: yecch!
My only real gripe with The Pearl is that you really can’t see JACK upon entering the auditorium prior to the film’s start. Why is this? Why are the lights dimmed so low that we’re stumbling? Must I become my own usher and bring my own flashlight? EnLIGHTen me!
I was BLOWN AWAY by the “BoxOffice” article and pix of The Randolph! It truly reminded me of The Goldman, with the big outer neon sign and the auditorium’s wall panels. The architects really paid attention to detail back then, even with a theater this small. Were there acoustical panels in the Goldman as well?
And a live show at the Boyd trumps a-hole-in-the-ground-where-the-Boyd-once-stood scenario. Still, my heart yearns for a taste of yesteryear.
I also meant to add that the sale of such items wouldn’t exactly cover the entire cost of restoration, but I felt it would raise more awareness of the importance of preserving it to those who may not know about it at all.
My family and I were discussing the entire moviegoing experience today, and sadly many of our youth just don’t care (or even know) what Art Deco is. “But who really cares? It’s just a movie theater,” my eldest daughter said. “It looks real nice on the inside but is all that (decor) really necessary these days when we just want to see the picture?” I told her that in the case of multiplexes, the answer is an emphatic NO, especially given how bad the economy is these days. And, truthfully, most patrons wouldn’t care one iota about how the place looked. But since the beautiful Boyd is in a precarious situation, it should be held in a higher esteem and viewed as a true work of art, rather than just another movie house. We also owe it to all the architects who designed and built it to ensure that their work wasn’t in vain. How happy would Mr. Boyd be to know his ‘baby’ was still standing and in operation? Ditto for all of us.
Hey, how about T-shirts? How about taking a few photos from the friendsoftheboyd site, putting them on t-shirts, and selling them with proceeds going to actually saving the Boyd? Count me in – I’d buy several for sure! Some of my coworkers are equally interested in what the future holds and when I pointed them to the old website (savethesameric), it was like a trip back in time for them. And for those who may not have a computer, wouldn’t it be a nice keepsake to have a shirt honoring this ‘grand lady’ of Chestnut Street?
And what about other paraphernalia trumpeting this cause: posters, coffee mugs, baseball caps, etc.? Why not set up a table and sell these items right in front of the theater?
Don’t know if this idea will actually float, but it’s just something that popped into my head. Your thoughts?
So let’s recap: we’ve lost an absurd number of theaters. Wanamaker’s is Macy’s. The Macy’s Light Show ain’t the same without John Facenda narrating it. Strawbridge & Clothier are history. Horn & Hardart gave way to fast food (fine, if you’re a kid). F.W. Woolworth became what? John’s Bargain Stores are gone. Anyone remember Linton’s? PTC begat SEPTA . Where’s Sun Ray Drug Store and its outlandishly delicious milkshakes? Where’s my Gimbels at 9th & Market with the sales marquee and digital clock inside the big, neon “G”? Anyone seen my H.L. Green? Can’t find Kresge, either. Corvette’s? Two Guys?
No problem though – I’ll just tune in to WKBS-48 and watch “Roller Game Of The Week” with Elmer Anderson doing play-by-play.
We’ve lost so much in this city over the years that I really couldn’t stomach losing our last treasure. What else is left? I’ve shown my kids photos of the Boyd/Sameric interior from the Irwin Glazer book. Sad to think they may never step foot inside what we all have come to know and love. I really wish we all could have a week just to look around and snap pictures inside the Boyd, no matter what else happens afterward.
You hit it dead-on, Theaterbuff1. I realize it isn’t my dislike of condos as much as their location, so I apologize to anyone residing in such places who may have been offended by my remarks.
Hey, Santa? Here’s my early wish list: Save the Boyd and all the other precious theaters that mean so much to us all. Not just for our pleasure, but also for future generations.
Those were some disturbing photos, and my condolences go out to those who fought so diligently to save the DuPage. I have very vivid memories of when our Fox, Milgram, Randolph, Duke, Duchess, Regency, Nixon and Goldman theaters went down, and believe it or not I was on the verge of tears each time. It’s like someone ripping down your house w/o your permission and stripping away some childhood memories along with it.
Pardon my being off-topic, but the demolition of these palaces is akin to the so-called condo boom at the Jersey Shore. The delightful and distinctive doo-wop-themed motels from yesteryear have given way to pricey, unattractive condominiums. Is that what they’re going to put in the DuPage’s vacancy? Is that what’s in store for the Boyd should — God forbid — the unthinkable happen? If we cheered a condo demolition, we’d be chastised for being insensitive (if not a little nutty), but I’d happily risk the chance!
And I say bring it on, TheaterBuff1. Speaking of theaters named “Uptown,” one can only hope that our own Uptown can someday rise up from near-oblivion. I imagine that Chicago’s Uptown holds as many precious memories for its patrons as much as our venues and I’m glad they’re making some progress there. But at the risk of sounding judgmental here, “Jam Productions” sounds kinda fly-by-night to me, every bit as “Live Nation” did, and we see what happened there! Think I’d feel slightly cozier if a Trump came along and sank a few million into preserving/rehabbing/reopening these places.
BTW, I’m new to this: Who the heck is/was Live Nation anyway?
No argument from me there! It’s just sad that it closed at all. And we have to be the only major city without a movie theater in its downtown district, aren’t we? Forget those places down by Penns Landing — a tourist wishing to take in a film while staying in Center City would go where? Yes, please save, restore and reopen the Boyd.
Does anyone know of any movement underfoot anywhere in the country to possibly create a new theater that mimics the look and feel of those like the Boyd and its predecessors? Ornate plaster designs, elaborate drawings, curtains, a stage, etc. Financially it would be quite an undertaking, and finding people talented and skilled enough to carry it out would be another task, but I’d love to see that happen versus another cineplex/multiplex.