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Thought that might be the case, Howard. I searched all over for the January 3 issue and couldn’t find it. The old issues of BoxOffice found on issuu.com are really interesting. One more thing that I can spend far too long doing.
Thanks, Howard. I think the date issue date is actually January 31, 1948 and it’s page 145. Here’s the link I used: View link
When I worked at the Mayfair in the late 70s/early 80s they had a subscription to BoxOffice magazine and I loved reading it. I didn’t realize it went back so long.
The search is a bit tricky, but the pic of the Mayfair on page 31 is worth it. The link is View link
The Grand Opening has been announced and set for March 27, 2009! Here’s the official new release:
PHILADELPHIA, PA, JANUARY 21, 2009 – “The Mayfair Community Development Corporations Chairman of the Board Reese Hartey, Officers, Board of Directors, and staff in association with operating partner Fuse Management Inc., is proud to announce the long awaited and much anticipated Grand Opening of the DEVON Theater for Performing Arts, slated for Friday, March 27th 2009. The invitation only black tie gala will begin with a Red Carpet Open House from 6:00-7:00 P.M., followed by speeches from esteemed guests and entertainment hosted by CBS 3 anchor Pat Ciarrocchi from 7:00-9:00 P.M. The evening will conclude with a Theater Party from 9:00-11:00 for those in attendance. The Devon Theater for the Performing Arts is located at 6333 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19135-3033.
Following the Grand Opening Gala, the DEVON is opening its doors to the public on Saturday, March 28th with the hit comedy musical “Nunsense,” quoted by the New York Times as “A hail of fun and frolic like the holy mother church, Nunsense is a bona fide institution.”
“Nunsense” is the first of many local professional theatrical productions in the works for the DEVON. In addition to in-house theatrical productions the Devon will also present concerts, comedians, family attractions, dance, educational programs, as well as provide the theatre for rent to businesses, community groups, families, promoters, and faith based organizations. “We believe the community is the heartbeat of this theater and will engage them not only as patrons but also participants in as many ways as imaginable,” says Artistic Director, Michael Pickering.
The DEVON Revitalization Project is the result of passionate dedication from the Mayfair CDC and numerous individuals and organizations that have worked tirelessly on behalf of the community of Mayfair. Special recognition and appreciation to State Representative John Perzel, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, State Senator Tina Tartaglione, and Councilwoman Joan Krajewski who’s combined vision sparked the Devon Revitalization Project. Special Thanks to Governor Edward G. Rendell and the State of Pennsylvania along with Mayor Michael Nutter and the City of Philadelphia who have generously given their passion and support to the project. Continuous support from State Representative Michael McGeehan, State Senator Michael Stack, and the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades, has all combined for the completion of a very exciting and dynamic project.
“With the City in economic crisis it will be a tremendous positive to see the DEVON Revitalization Project completed, and new life blown into the Mayfair business corridor along Frankford Avenue. The Mayfair CDC has fought long and hard to make this dream a reality in the Northeast and their persistence has paid off. A project of this size would have taken most organizations 10 or 20 years to complete what the MCDC has done in 4 years. I am a proud supporter of the MCDC and of this tremendous project.” Quoted Councilwoman Joan Krajewski.
“The creation of jobs, the revitalization of a business corridor, and the infusion of art into the community, who could ask for more?” said State Representative John Perzel. “I have proudly stood by and supported Reese Hartey and the Mayfair CDC since day one of this project, and am excited to have something of this magnitude happening in our community. They have had a tremendous impact on both the commercial and residential sections of Mayfair and are to be commended for their constant example of community leadership.”
Thalheimer & Weitz, who were part of the team that designed City Hall and the Philadelphia Bourse, originally built the Devon in 1946 to serve the community as a movie theater. The DEVON is now a state-of-the-art 400 seat live performing arts center and will fulfill the need for an arts and entertainment venue in the Mayfair community and surrounding region.
For more information, Contact: Michael Pickering / Artistic Director
Devon Theater for the Performing Arts
6333 Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19135-3033
Website is actually www.devontheater.org
Anyone hear anything lately about the status of the Devon project?
What I do to ruffle your feathers?
Or are you just one of those ornery old cusses that likes to attack people that won’t go along with everything they say?
Nevermind. I think I answered my own question.
To everyone else: sorry for wasting valuable bandwidth on stuff that has nothing to do with Cinema Treasures. (So if I don’t respond to whatever follows this posting, you’ll know why.)
Hmmm. Not quite sure what to say to that.
Ken, don’t pick on the poor trolley. They were green and clean before anyone ever heard of that. (It’s great to see them back on Girard Avenue.)
No, it was definitely the original Friday the 13th. Adrienne King was the girl in the canoe. I never saw any of the subsequent Friday the 13th movies.
Well the big make-you-jump scare was fun. During Friday the 13th, I used to stand in the back of the theatre and watch for the audience reaction to Jason suddenly jumping out of the water and grabbing the girl in the boat. It was great watching people fly out of their seats.
The problem isn’t necessarily your political views, the problem is your choice of forum. www.phillyblog.com or a similar site would present a more appropriate soapbox.
I should note that in the 80s, the Mayfair pretty much only ran two kinds of movies: slasher films and Disney.
When I worked at the Mayfair we ran lots of horror flicks and slasher movies. Phantasm stands out as one of the better ones. There were a bunch of really bad ones as well. (Maniac comes to mind.) I had a pretty good collection of posters.
The only mural photos I know of are on the links earlier on this page.
UPDATE: I sent an email to the ebay seller to ask if he really worked at the Mayfair in 1981. He didn’t answer my email, but I saw that he removed the sentence “My wife and I met when we both worked at the Mayfair Theatre in 1981” from his ebay item description. Too bad. I was hoping that two of the people I worked with back then did wind up together. Or that I may have a future in licensing my life story for commercial purposes.
So someone is selling a DVD of the movie “It Happened in Mayfair” on ebay. As I said in a previous post, it’s a hokey 1937 film shot by the Mayfair Business Association, but it’s cool because it includes film of the Mayfair. It’s in the public domain, and you can find it for free online if you google it. But the really interesting part is this portion from the seller’s description:
“If you ever lived near Frankford and Cottman Aves. in Philadelphia, you need to watch this film. It’s fun to see the various buildings and businesses from 1937 and try to figure out what type of thrift store they are now. My wife and I met when we both worked at the Mayfair Theatre in 1981, so it held extra meaning for us.”
Excuse me? I only know of one married couple that met when both were working at the Mayfair Theatre in 1981, and it’s me and my wife. I’ve got no idea who this guy, but it appears that he has taken my story posted above, and is using it to try to sell copies of a public domain video. Gotta say, I find this hilarious. Who would want to steal my lame life??
Thanks for posting that pic, Ken.
Seeing the marquee again reminds me of all the times I stood on the top of a metal ladder (above the “do not stand above this point” warning) to run cheap wire to try to bypass broken neon tubes. Changing lightbulbs throughout the theater was always a challenge. I took some really nasty electrical shocks.
Guess I was pretty stupid as a 16 year old. Too bad that hasn’t improved much with age.
Umm…maybe because in a democratic, capitalist country business owners are permitted to use their property in a commercially reasonable (i.e. profitable) manner?
Let me see if understand your underlying principles:
1. The profitability of a business venture is not a proper consideration as to whether that business should continue.
2. When a desirable (in the eyes of the enlightened class) business is closed, there must be a conspiracy involved.
3. Before a commercially zoned property can be changed from one business type to another, there should always be a public hearing, with final approval to only be made by enlightened politicians.
4. An owner of a desirable but unprofitable business must use his own dollars to continue that business. The failure to do so should result in criminal sanctions.
5. Tax dollars should be taken from the citizens that refuse to patronize an unprofitable, but desirable, business so that all can enjoy that business in the future.
6. Desirable properties should be taken over by the government since private ownership of land results in so many problems.
Your “sane, civilized society” has already been tried and it failed, comrade.
Guess I should get ready to be flamed.
There are too many lawyers. I’m in favor of protectionism – once I passed the bar they should have closed all the law schools. (Although since Howard’s ID number is in the 44,000s and mine’s in the 75,000s, he’s got about 10 years more experience than me.)
Gene Denicolo’s experience in re-opening the Devon is pretty informative as to the economic realities involved here: View link
Thanks for your comments. So you dealt with Steve and Remy for 9 years? Were Abe and Leo the projectionists while you were at the Mayfair? Do you remember dealing with Jack Sherman at the Devon?
Hope you can find the old pics.
Give up? It was “First Blood”, which was incorrectly listed on the marquee as “Rambo”. All Seats were $2.00.
Recently a friend (another former Mayfair employee) showed me a videotape of a Channel 3 Evening Magazine story on the closing of the Mayfair. It includes video of both the exterior and interior of the theater, as well as an interview with (late, great) ticket taker Bill Pierce. I’m hoping to get a copy I can post online. Once I do I’ll put a link on this page.
Side note: the story includes a comment that the last show on the last night was cancelled due to technical problems. That was probably a lie: whenever there were less than 10 people for the last show we told them there was a technical problem. The real reason usually was that we wanted to go home early. (The fact that the second show was usually empty helps explain why the Mayfair closed.)
Here’s a Mayfair Theatre trivia question: what was the last film shown at the Mayfair? Need a clue? The marquee did not show the film’s actual title, but rather the name of the main character (which became better known than the name of the film).
I understand that the marquee is coming down as part of the project.
This renovated theater has a website at www.brtstage.org
My grandmother worked selling tickets at the Bristol Theater in the early 1970s when they showed porn. As she used to say “Well, the money’s clean.”