Comments from HowardBHaas

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HowardBHaas commented about Theater Naming Issue on Sep 21, 2005 at 3:22 pm

The intent is to replace the modern Cinerama marquee with a recreation of the original Art Deco marquee from 1928, which it replaced in 1953. The original will be more in character with the movie palace’s exterior & interior French Art Deco design. Photos of both, and ways to help, at

HowardBHaas commented about Theater Naming Issue on Sep 19, 2005 at 8:40 am

Since the article refers to the Boyd, you might like some history of the name:For the majority of the 20th Century, Alexander BOYD was one of the most respected movie theater operators in Pennsylvania. A glassblower by trade, Boyd began operating movie theaters at the turn of the century. In 1962, before he died later that year at the age of 86, the Motion Picture Exhibitor wrote that “If anyone were to take a poll of this territory in an attempt to determine its best-loved exhibitor, the vote would overwhelmingly single out the dean of them all, A.R.Boyd….” “Boyd goes back as far as the industry itself, having built or participated in the operation of most of the downtown Philadelphia first-run theatres. Such famous houses as the Boyd, Mastbaum, Stanley, Arcadia, and Palace, among others, bear his stamp….All his life, he has made deals involving hundreds of thousands of dollars on a handshake, and the men with whom he does business know that Al Boyd’s handshake binds him more firmly to his word than could any iron-clad document.”

Philadelphia’s Exhibitor in early 1928 said much the same “Mr. Boyd, one of the most popular officials in the Stanley organization, enjoys the confidence of the film men because of his knowledge of picture values and his fair dealings. He has frequently been known voluntarily to increase the price set on a picture after it has played and proved to be a better box office draw than originally estimated.”

To build Center City’s Art Deco movie palace, with considerable financial risk to himself, Boyd left the Stanley Company, of which was a leader. He departed from the neoclassical style of movie palaces which Stanley was building in Center City. About the time the Boyd Theatre was opening, the Stanley theaters merged into Warner to become Stanley Warner, and Boyd sold his theater to Warner, but his name remained on the movie palace. Thru the major remodel in 1953 for Cinerama including the current marquee, and corporate changes that included Warner Bros selling their theaters, the theater remained as the Boyd until new owners renamed it Sameric in late 1971.

In reaching out to movie palace fans & the general public, our ad hoc Committee to Save the Sameric found almost everybody referred to the theater as THE BOYD and disliked the Sameric name. We met many people who recall patronizing the Boyd at the height of its Jazz Age elegance in the decades before television. Even more people fondly recall traveling up to hundreds of miles to the Boyd in the 1950’s & 1960’s to experience Cinerama. So, two months after we organized our committee, we incorporated our nonprofit Friends of the Boyd and expressed that we’d like to see the Boyd name restored along with its Art Deco features.
For more information about the Boyd, visit

HowardBHaas commented about National Theatre on Sep 6, 2002 at 3:35 pm

At my June visit, I could tell that the National certainly needs refurbishment – at least the seats need to look better. I like the orange color of the auditorium. News indicates light fixtures to be replaced. Why replace very pretty light fixtures that work fine?

HowardBHaas commented about Boyd Theatre on Aug 17, 2002 at 7:02 pm

As Chairman of the Committee to Save the Sameric, I suggest you visit our website at and sign our petition, volunteer to help, donate to the Purchase, Restoration, and Reopening of Philadelphia’s LAST movie palace. We cannot afford to lose the landmark art deco treasure!