Bala Theater named to endangered list

posted by HowardBHaas on August 12, 2009 at 11:00 am

BALA CYNWYD, PA — The Bala Theater suburban Philadelphia was named last week on the endangered list of the Lower Merion Conservancy.

There are only two movie palaces in the Philadelphia region where movies are still shown, the Ambler Theatre, and Clearview’s Bala Theater. Two years ago, I sent in a nomination of the Bala Theater to the Lower Merion Conservancy, for its most endangered list, explaining that the Bala is the only surviving “exotic” themed movie palace in the Philadelphia region. There were others in styles such as Chinese, Moorish, but they are all gone.

The Conservancy states that “At its heart sits the gorgeous Bala Theater, an Egyptian revival masterpiece….” and that a local business association “built the Bala Theater, originally named the Egyptian, in 1927, working with the same architects as the Philadelphia’s Boyd Theater fame. This is the only surviving "exotic” themed movie palace in the Philadelphia area. The theater is listed as a Class 2 building, but has maintenance issues with unapproved changes that concern preservationists."

Photos by Rob Bender are linked here:
Let’s hope that Lower Merion can work to ensure that the Bala Theater has as
bright a future as its illustrious past!

Theaters in this post

Comments (3)

HowardBHaas on August 12, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I forgot a 3rd movie palace, the Anthony Wayne, /theaters/10430/
though it is still true that the Ambler and Bala are the last ones where you can experience a movie with the original proscenium arch & auditorium decor. The A. Wayne is all divided up.

HowardBHaas on August 12, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Somebody telephoned me to tell me that tonight, apparently in the main middle auditorium, the Bala is showing the telecast Phillies baseball game. I didn’t know our local theaters were doing that.

markp on August 13, 2009 at 12:57 am

That’s a cablevision thing Howard, and thats the only reason those 2 theatres are still Clearview. If cablevision ever loses the franchise rights down there, those theatres will be sold quicker than you can say boo.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment