Bala Theatre

157 Bala Avenue,
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

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markp
markp on October 18, 2014 at 6:02 am

I use to clean the screens for Cablevision when they had the theatre and until they felt that was a waste of money. This is a very beautiful theatre. The triplexing was done very nicely. I hope you can still do 35mm stuff. I, as a now former projectionist, after 38 years, love to see folks who still embrace film over digital.

Reel Bala Theatre
Reel Bala Theatre on October 17, 2014 at 11:49 pm

ATB, Reel Cinemas is a small regional chain, so not the corporate monolith that is Bowtie. I am not sure what the deal with Bowtie was because I started managing 7-8 months after that. It seems though that they realized fairly quickly that they didn’t want to stay around. However the theater is very pretty and so many elements of the “Egyptian Revival theme” are still here (anyone interested please stop in and ask for Karl, I manage most days of the week, I will happily give a tour). We are also trying to balance our projection setup where we have 35mm and digital. Trying to see if we can create some interesting 35mm repertory events, while still playing first-run features, like a horror film marathon we’re doing on October 31st, 2014 in conjunction with Exhumed Films. We hope to do more special events, hopefully on “celluloid”, since they will fit so well with the theater’s classic aesthetic.

atb
atb on August 23, 2013 at 5:50 am

and who deleted my comment on this theater as well?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on August 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I already amended my Intro above.

atb
atb on August 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm

This theater — and the Anthony Wayne in Wayne — are NOT part of the Bow Tie Cinemas chain. They are now part of “Reel Cinemas.” Anyone know when or why this happened? Does anyone know anything about Reel Cinemas?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on July 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Yes, already revised in my Intro above, chain link, etc. Bow Tie!

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on October 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm

This week, a 2nd screen has been converted to digital projection.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on November 26, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Now showcasing “Hugo” in 3D.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on August 17, 2011 at 5:39 am

This year, the Bala has 3D digital projection.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on July 15, 2009 at 6:09 am

Vintage photo showing original marquee:
View link

BigK01
BigK01 on February 2, 2009 at 6:22 pm

I remember going here in 7th grade with friends to see the flintstones movie. This was when it was still a big single screen and I remember the theaters details keep my attion more than the movie. I also remember that if you smacked the seat backs, dust clouds would appear.

Powers6
Powers6 on November 3, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Dodger That would have been about 1958 by which time it was called the Bala. It was indeed a great old house. If I remember correctly at one point in the mid 1950’s or early 1960’s the theater had a a free bus that brought the kids from Wynfield Heights to the theater on Saturday morning and deposited them back home again after the show. The last movie I saw there was a ridiculous Arnold Schartzinager monstrosity about him getting pregnant- I watched it alone in the auditorium as a favor to Constantine to check for any defects in the new print (those were the days!) before it was triplexed. The BX80’s were without a doubt the best theater projectors ever built, better than any of the Simplex models.Powers 6

dodgerg
dodgerg on November 2, 2008 at 2:04 pm

Powers6 – Wow. I’m sorry I can’t remember any of that. Are you referring to the original Egyptian or the newer Bala? Must be the Bala if your talking about a video store across the street.

Powers6
Powers6 on November 2, 2008 at 1:33 pm

To Dodger- I saw my first 35mm projectors in this house, they were Brenkert BX80’s with Peerless lamps. My wife rescued what I believe was one of the two Brenkert heads I saw there when I was ten and I have it put together but with an Ashcraft lamp. Do you remember which Peerless lamp model it was? It would have had to have been one of the two models manufactured that had glass light up name plates on their tops. I remember that booth fairly well- the rewinds were originally in a separate room to the left, I think, and I remember an operator named Mike. Constantine was a great guy despite the fact that he ran a video store across the street!

dodgerg
dodgerg on May 27, 2007 at 9:16 am

One of my earliest — and scariest — memories of the old Egyptian Theater dates back to 1948, when I saw “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” there at a late afternoon matinee. By the time the movie ended, it was starting to get dark, and I had to walk back home alone, constantly looking over my shoulder for the terrifying Frankenstein Monster, whom I was certain was following me home. Just one of my many fond memories of that great old theater.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 27, 2007 at 1:24 am

A classic series has been held for $5 admit 7 PM Wednesday & Thursday evenings, in one of the 2 side auditoriums. Casablanca April 11-12, Singin in the Rain April 18-19, Sunset Boulevard April 25-26, Citizen Kane May 2-3, Some Like it Hot, May 9-10, West Side Story, May 16-17, Annie Hall May 23-24, Breakfast at Tiffanys, May 30-31. So far, few have attended, likely due to lack of PR in the Philadelphia area media market.

dodgerg
dodgerg on November 4, 2006 at 6:26 am

Throughout the 1940s and early 50s, for those of us who grew up in Cynwyd or Bala, the Egyptian Theater (or the “Egg-pit”, as we used to call it) was our beloved neighborhood theater. We went there at least once a week, and for innumerable Saturday matinees. Some time during the early 50s, I worked there part-time as a projectionist’s assistant. I remember, after the movies, we would get penny candy at the little candy store located just to the left of the theater, called “Pops”. So many of my wonderful childhood memories are associated with the old Egyptian Theater. Although the name has been changed, and the interior has been drastically re-configured, a good portion of it is, thankfully, still existent — and still magnificent. Thank you to those who posted pictures. They are greatly appreciated.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 12, 2006 at 12:52 pm

It looks like that link doesn’t hold up, for some reason. If you want to to see the pictures, you would have to go to
http://memory.loc.gov/ and enter Bala theater as a search term. Sorry about that.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 11, 2006 at 4:31 pm

There are some photos at this link:
View link

savingtheboyd
savingtheboyd on April 18, 2005 at 7:37 pm

2 screens were carved out of the seating on each side of the original screen. The proscenium arch, huge screen, and glorious Egyptian ceiling survive in the middle auditorium. There is a decent sound system.

Upstairs, there is still a furnished lounge before the Men’s Room, though Rob Bender (photos above, he’s our Boyd volunteer webmaster, too) tells me the lounge before the Ladies Room is not there anymore)

This is a surviving 1920’s movie house that shouldn’t be missed!
Howard B. Haas

teecee
teecee on March 18, 2005 at 10:33 am

Recent photos at this link:
View link

teecee
teecee on February 23, 2005 at 12:19 pm

Library of congress has great photos:
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/
then type in: HABS, PA,46-BALA,2- in the search box

RickB
RickB on November 8, 2004 at 12:24 pm

The Bala name was in use here by the late ‘60s at the latest. At that time the theater mostly ran foreign films; it was booked day-and-date with the Castor in northeast Philadelphia and the Yorktown in Elkins Park.