Friends of the Boyd Update

posted by Ross Melnick on April 14, 2005 at 7:44 am

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The following was sent in by Howard Haas of the Friends of the Boyd:

“The new owner of the Boyd didn’t waste time. Last Wednesday, I joined architect Gary Martinez, AIA, & National Design Director John M. Ahrens, AIA, in a long awaited Inventory Tour, walking thru the movie palace, pointing out all the historic features we had discovered. I shared copies of much of our research. I had been in the Boyd before with them, but this was an all day discussion that for awhile also included Michael Norris (our Development Chair) and Adrian Fine (Regional Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation), and a consultation from another organ company.

I am thrilled to tell you that everybody wants to bring the movie palace back to its original 1928 beauty. Clear Channel wants to do a comprehensive restoration to the original colors of the paint & plaster, light fixtures, and much more! As we have said, in addition to film, organ, exhibits of the theater’s history and public tours, there are also Art Deco features that Friends of the Boyd can help make a difference in ensuring they return, but we are very happy with the company’s expertise and their commitment.

The Boyd is on its way! I liked the 1970’s Art Deco Revival concession stand in the Lobby, with its light ends that lit up. But, most people thought it a monstrosity incompatible with the original French Art Deco design. It is gone!

A plain wood concession stand was moved from the Lobby in 1953 during remodel for Cinerama, to the Balcony’s Mezzanine. It also didn’t fit in with the Art Deco masterpiece that the Boyd is, so it too is gone. Underneath the stand was found the original 1928 CARPET! We only had black & white photos. We knew from a photo at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia that 1928 carpet was still in the Balcony in 1953, but didn’t know it was still in the Mezzanine. In a 1928 photo of the Men’s Lounge, we see different carpet, and the 1928 photo of the Lobby shows an area carpet, an Art Deco masterpiece itself. Well, the colors of the main carpet are known now, and it will return.

Original wall fabric was also found behind non-original fabric in the Balcony. It is in a plant like pattern, like much of the original decoration, and a pretty blue. Restored, the Boyd will be the most interesting looking theater in Philadelphia, and one of the greatest Art Deco theaters in the nation!

There were more exciting discoveries, but I am going to keep you in suspense!"

Comments (2)

Oliver on April 18, 2005 at 10:14 am

As a kid growing up in Philly in the late 50’s and 60’s my parents often took my brothers and I to the Theatres Uptown. I recall going to the Midtown, Goldman, Stanley and the Boyd. The first time I saw the giant semi-circle screen, I was in awe. Sitting in the Balcony overlookoking the entire theatre and looking at the artwork, it was like you were in another world. I am glad that Clear Channel is bringing back “THE BOYD”. It a shame that The Boyd could not get “The Lion King”. Looking at the seating chart for the Academy of Music, there are too many obstacles to view a show, and it would be a shame to spend a lot of money and then you can’t see it. At least with the seating at the Boyd, there were no obstacle for viewing a show or movie. Keep up the good work.

savingtheboyd on April 18, 2005 at 10:07 pm

Thank you. There are NO obstructed views at the Boyd. Each seat has a perfect sightline. No pillars like at the Academy of Music, which is great place for opera or ballet. Many wonderful Broadway shows will be at the Boyd.
Howard B. Haas, President, Friends of the Boyd, Inc.

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