Showing 26 - 50 of 693 comments
As if maybe you have to consult with someone else first perhaps? If I’m not mistaken I think you just said as much in an unintentional way.
However, since he no longer lives here, you might want to ask Jack Ferry, since he seems to be privy to what any of us living here are not permitted to know.
Nope. Welcome to Philly…
Great! Look forward to hearing what you hear back!
Based on how it was when I saw it last, that theater is located in a type of blindspot part of the city at this point in time. Not quite ghetto to the one extreme, no longer the proud working class community it once was to the other. And I’m not even sure the community even has a name at this point. During the daytime it’s not too bad around there, but I’m not sure how it is at night. Wouldn’t necessarily want to go find out. Back in 2006 when I took photos of it I went around into the back alley to take pictures of it from that side, and there I felt a bit uneasy. There was graffiti and an old beat-up looking van parked nearby, looking as if used regularly for illegal drug deals, the backs of tiny rowhouses to the other side of the alley. I quickly took my photos and then parted while it was still light out. Haven’t been back since. But if it’s now a 99 cent store, that sounds about right.
Patsy and Lost Memory, several years ago I remember seeing a theater at this website whose auditorium ceiling was triangular in shape, but I’ve long lost track of what theater it was, though I know it was in Australia. Probably Sydney, but don’t hold me to it. And it seems it had been designed by John Eberson, but I just went through the CT John Eberson listings and it wasn’t there. In any event, my guess is the Strand Theatre’s auditorium ceiling is (or was) quite similar. And you’re right, it does look like it had more than 400 seats. Maybe more info can be found out about it by writing to Denine Wells, who handles general questions for the Tecumseh Downtown Development Authority. Her e-mail address is
Going by what that postcard photo shows, the back part of the Strand Theatre looks very interesting, for it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a theater with that triangular shape. Any idea what’s going on there exactly?
Right now it’s unclear how much weight historic landmark status carries when it comes to insuring that things of historic significance — such as the Boyd — can survive when push comes to shove. At this moment Philadelphia’s Burholme Park — which is extremely historic and likewise holds every historic protection imaginable accordingly — is very much on the line with regard to its future, while at the present time the historic Barnes Foundation, located in the suburbs just outside the city, is in the process of getting fully trashed, and with no contest to speak of whatsoever. So given all that, it would probably make the most sense to withhold all further funding towards the save the Boyd Theatre effort until, with Burholme Park, it gets established that historic landmark status carries weight after all. If Burholme Park goes down, historic landmark status will mean absolutely nothing thereafter with regard to anything. Since the Boyd’s next hearing won’t be till September, while Burholme Park’s hearings will be taking place all throughout this summer, all financing should be directed towards the Burholme Park’s legal defense fund for now so as to establish that historic landmark status does carry weight. The address for this is “Save Burholme Park, P.O. Box 245, Cheltenham, PA, 19012.” You can also see the recent video about it at YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXqPOF9tAPY
LuisV, that is an excellent suggestion you made as it takes into account all the many variables that have to be weighed in in the Boyd’s case. Mayor Nutter fondly remembers seeing ROLLERBALL there, hence why his strong support toward seeing the Boyd Theatre gets saved. At the same time, the Boyd he so fondly remembers was after its screen had been reworked by master 20th century theater architect William Harold Lee to bring its functionality up to modern standards. Lee did so by going all out to protect the Boyd’s original proscenium, albeit by concealing it. He placed the new wide screen to be in front of it. Which was how it was when I saw BEN-HUR there in the late 1950s. Although the Boyd’s original Art Deco proscenium is no doubt beautiful, I question how practical it would be for 21st century presentations — whether live or on screen. Regarding film exhibitions it’s been suggested a fly down screen could be introduced, but that would compromise the integrity of the Boyd’s magnificent ceiling. It would be better if the screen could rise up from below, while, aside from the high cost of it, I don’t see why that wouldn’t be possible. But would historic status for the Boyd’s interior prohibit this? Could one exception such as that possibly be made to allow for that?
Yes, it was a great photo, Mts83, though it would be cool if that building could one day be a theater again. But an awful lot would have to change for that to be, at least if the effort were to be successful. Meantime, it will be interesting to see the interior shots you hope to get the next time around.
As for the mysterous ladder silhouette in the last photo, suggestive of something you’d see in a film noir movie, it got me to wondering, how many movies were filmed on location there in Ocean City? I can name two, EDDIE & THE CRUISERS and TATTOO, the latter starring Bruce Dern, but any others? For with Ocean City once having been a vacation spot of choice for actress Grace Kelly and the actor Errol Flynn before her, you would think a lot of major films were shot there over the many years, though those are the only two I’m aware of.
Who knows? With soooo much corruption going on in that state now, to be able to accurately predict anything a week or even three days from now is a total gamble. I don’t want to say it’s an ongoing case of business as usual, because that would mean it’s a case of predictability that could then be overcome on that basis. That is, if you know exactly where the mines are planted the sky’s the limit on how far you can go without getting blasted away. But in this case, the position of the underground planted mines are constantly shifting, and it’s not like they’re glow-in-the-dark jellyfish so that you can keep a constant track of where they are next as you enter into the Atlantic Ocean for a midnight swim, even with your head a little tipsy from the Cape May nightclub you were in moments before. That was the old South Jersey. This is the new, what more can I say?
As always, thanks for the great photo link, Lost Memory! This particular photo looks to be straight out of a film noir movie…with a whodunnit clue perhaps offered up by that mysterious ladder silhouette at the upper right. Do you know, by chance, if the man who’s running this Surf Mall now is the same man who owned it when it was last a theater? In both cases it looks to be his style.
Ironically, if the Boyd were to receive historic landmark status based on its interior, it could mark the beginning of the end for the Boyd Theatre building’s continued existence. For in order for the Boyd to come back as a theater worthy of the 21st century — the ultimate way it can hope to continue to stand — its historic interior in many ways conflicts with this goal and would have to be reworked considerably. But if historic landmark status based on its interior prohibits this, well, you begin to see the problem. If practically speaking the Boyd’s interior cannot be altered so as to make it widespreadedly alluring by 21st century standards (it has 2,450 seats after all), as businesses go — all history aside — it will be a losing proposition. On the other hand, if it’s to be kept afloat as an historic artifact where very little if any money is made by its continued existence in that capacity, will that in itself be strong enough to insure its continued survival? I, for one, based on what I’ve seen in other Philadelphia cases, do not believe it will be.
It would be much better, I feel, and I don’t see why this isn’t possible, that the Boyd Theatre receive historic landmark status based on its exterior, and just that alone. For that status it should be able to receive now without waiting for Green’s bill to pass. And also with that, every move could be made here and now to get the Boyd back open for business again interior-wise, and suited to the 21st century.
Hmmm… Let me ask you this: Given the current state of government in New Jersey, how much freedom do you as a theater operator in new Jersey have to show movies that really hit home with what’s happening in that state? For it almost sounds like you’re operating a theater in China and have to stick to strictly safe fare accordingly, lest you get paid a visit by L & I or whatever.
In studying out this matter very carefully, the foregone conclusion at this late stage is that the only thing that can save this theater with any sort of certainty is that every effort be made for its immediate reactivation as a theater. Just to get historic designation protection status for it alone in terms of saving it really means nothing at all — as recently was demonstrated with Burholme Park in Philadelphia’s northeast section. That very historic park had every legal protection on it imaginable, whether historic or otherwise, yet it made not one iota of a difference. In that case, the many legal protections it held were not only local, but were statewide, national and international legal protections as well. Yet when push came to shove, all the failsafes that were supposed to protect it didn’t kick in. And in the case of the Boyd, the pressures to drive it under and replace it with something else are much greater.
Meantime, the trouble with the Boyd — and this what’s really hurting it now — is that for the past six years every effort had been made to block it from reactivation, with money being made by keeping it in a shuttered up, run down state instead, that is, money being made by the issuing of hollow promises that it will eventually be restored and reopened. But, with absolutely no truth behind any of those promises — as evidenced by the fact that while the Boyd has stood all boarded up these past six years, many other theaters in the Philadelphia area (plus neighboring New Jersey) have been fully restored and reopened, no problem. Add to this that several new theaters have opened up as well.
During the past six years there were many many ways the Boyd could’ve been reactivated every bit as easily as other theaters in the Philadelphia area were, if not more so, there’s no question about that. However, running active theaters takes work. And the outlook has been, why make money that way, when money can much more easily be made by making false promises about it alone? Of course for the stage hands' union anxious for new job opportunities, making money in that fraudulent manner that doesn’t do them much good, nor the countless others who otherwise would be able to profit from the Boyd’s reactivation.
But just to clarify this matter, simply getting historic designation status for the Boyd is absolutely no guarantee of its continued existence, as was just demonstrated with Burholme Park.
Actually, that’s not fully accurate. The above poster (HowardBHaas) does not know if I attended the May 22 rally at the Boyd or not, for I never said either way. In terms of donating to the cause, I have informed this gentlemen that I am not in a position where I can just freely donate money with no assurances of any good results, but I AM in a position where I can invest if a good business plan is presented to me. Yet as much as I have urged him to come forth with such a plan, he has stubbornly refused. Regarding volunteering, for nearly the past four years I have steadfastly volunteered all my free time and then some to the Save Burholme Park cause, as to be sure, it’s a much much bigger issue, in addition to the fact that I live in Northeast Philadelphia where this controversy has been ongoing, not Center City Philadelphia, where the Boyd is located. And in my case I’m a tad bit fairer, as I don’t jump all over the above poster for not volunteering to that cause, even though the implications of it are much farther reaching. Not to mention the fact that in the case of Burholme Park there’s an adversity factor that one has to bravely stand up against, and sadly, bravery is not a very common thing in America right now. The above poster, for example, totally lacks that. But that’s okay, for either you have it or you don’t. And some people simply don’t have it for whatever reasons, and right now he’s certainly not alone. And with the Boyd there’s no adverse forces pushing to demolish it right now, so in that sense it’s a very easy thing to take a stance on.
Now to get on with the free speech thing, he’s absolutely right about that. I do not speak for the Friends of the Boyd, Inc. Rather, I speak for the Boyd itself, while let it just be said that the Friends of the Boyd, Inc. speaks for the Friends of the Boyd, Inc., which in my views is a totally separate thing.
Admittedly, New Jersey is a very tough state to do anything positively exciting in right now, while hopefully Bob Ingle & Sandy McClure’s book on the topic will help turn things around there for the better. But to be sure, when it comes to that challenge, it’s an up-hill haul with no easy answers.
One thing I do know is that people love movies about people like themselves, and that deal with topics pertaining to what it is that they themselves are going through — provided such films flatter rather than are critical of them. People are always looking for answers, answers to how to act, what to say, what to do. Picture a movie about what you’re going through right now, for example. A movie that tells it like it really is. Wouldn’t you love it? Particularly if it shows the light at the end of the tunnel?
I don’t know why you think that playing it safe is a good strategy. For since when was it ever? And that was certainly not my advice. When I’m in New Jersey I would like to see a film that hits very hard about what’s really going on. That pulls no punches. And that offers a sense of hope that something CAN be done about it.
In studying the audience, the rule of thumb is, if people are on solid ground and have very little if anything to worry about, they like to see movies about disaster, horror and suspense. But in troubled times, when there’s so much uncertainty, when they have a great deal to worry about, when they feel life is beyond all hope, they’re drawn to movies that instill a great sense of hope and strength. For that’s the artistry of choosing which films to exhibit. And the people of New Jersey right now have a lot of uncertainties they’re currently wrestling with. And they’re looking for answers. That is, answers other than what they’re currently being told by the government, employers, doctors, teachers, etc. And this is where the power of movies comes in. Several days ago, for example, I re-watched Roman Polanski’s ROSEMARY’S BABY, and in a bizarre sort of way it made sense of a lot of things going on right now. I don’t know what sense that movie made back in 1968, I guess there were other things going on back then that made it feel relevant. But as I watched it the other day it so just hit home with what’s happening today, and gave the answers I was looking for, speaking allegorically, of course!
Anyway, in your case, I would recommend getting beyond this thing of playing it safe, and show a bit of boldness and daring.
Ross Melnick, while I’m very appreciative of your helping to bring the Boyd to the world’s attention, and I thank you deeply for that, Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter so far has shown himself to be not good for helping historic causes when push comes to shove, which has not come up yet in the Boyd’s case. What I’m saying is that no one should take comfort in the support coming from him, but should make a special point to look well beyond him. Hollywood director James Cameron stated several months back that he does not create movies to be watched on cellphones, and certainly I feel he would be an excellent person to look to in terms of those who can greatly help ensuring the Boyd’s future. Hollywood director Martin Scorcese is another, his having a special fondness for Cinerama, which the Boyd, in all its history, is best known for. When the save the Boyd rally was held back on May 22, 2008, the most prominant catchphrase and on all the signs was, “Philadelphia’s Last Movie Palace.” And I do take that literally. While it would be great if it could also be adapted for live performances, that, to me, is its main calling. Right now Philadelphia has countless live entertainment and performance venues. But no movie palace. As for Nutter, given the way he horrendously mishandled Burholme Park, I feel it’s very shaky ground to have him as part of the save the Boyd effort, as when it comes to historic matters the man obviously does not know what he’s doing. The Boyd’s future is just too important to squander away with bringing him on board with the cause. The Boyd, as was the case with Burholme Park, greatly outranks him.
Just to repeat:
What the Boyd needs is the support of those who respect laws, facts and history. But if it disregards people such as that and accepts “help” from those who do not, that is going to be a major dark mark against it. Just ask I.B.M., who to this day is still criticized for having blindly done business with the Nazis when the Third Reich was at its height. In that case, I.B.M. claims it did not know the full facts of who it was dealing with. To which I say, okay, fair enough. But here’s a case where we DO know the truth of Michael Nutter. If Nutter reverses his position on Burholme Park, just as he is legally obligated to do, and by the way, there is still time for him to do that, it’s not too late. Then yes, in that instance accepting his help to save the Boyd will make sense and should be welcome. But short of that, forget it. Anything he touches becomes tainted, and no reputable organization or business would accept such support. What he did with Burholme Park was outrageous. And it’s not just a local issue either. The cancer official who spearheaded the expansion which Nutter fully consented to is a recent former president of the American Cancer Society and has strong links with the Nobel Foundation in Sweden. As such, he has the trust of many people and is in the process of playing it for all it’s worth, calling himself “chancellor” as he does. And Nutter, who didn’t have to, fully caved into him. And from what I can determine, totally willingly.
Though I’m normally opposed to councilmanic prerogative given the illegal role it played regarding the fate of historic Burholme Park, this is one instance where I hope Councilman Green can get the full support of Council he needs. And it’s a case where the bill he’s pushing for would not run counter to the U.S. Constitution or Philadelphia’s Home Rule Charter. So yes, given that, I certainly hope this bill gets passed!
Anyone who is even remotely familiar with Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter knows that his pledge of support for the Boyd is worthless. Nutter will support the effort to save the Boyd just so long as no nefarious interests express an interest in tearing it down. But the moment that changes, if it does, Mayor Nutter can expect to change loyalties likewise. We know this — or we should know it — based on his total mishandling of another major landmark in Philadelphia history, Burholme Park in Philadelphia’s Northeast section. Soon after his taking office, Mayor Nutter quickly signed away Burholme Park in the blink of an eye, even though Burholme Park had every historic designation protection imaginable, in addition to protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution on down to Philadelphia’s Home Rule Charter.
And don’t get me wrong. As one who has great memories of attending film exhibitions at the Boyd when it was at its height — the late 1950s — you can place me number one in line of those who want to see the Boyd saved and fully restored. But I refuse to let that passion I feel blind me to the truth of who Mayor Nutter really is and what his “support” of the Boyd actually amounts to. For Mayor Nutter has already demonstrated firsthand that he has absolutely no respect of facts, laws or Philadelphia history. That is, when push comes to shove. The only reason he’s pledging this support of his towards the Boyd now is because no adverse interest as of yet has pushed for its demolition to slam up a parking garage in its place or whatever. I don’t like to have to say this, I try to be as optimistic as everyone else, but come on, people, we have to be realistic about this. Mayor Nutter, when it comes down to it, is no friend of the Boyd. We have to look well beyond him if we really want to see it saved and restored to its previous glory.
That is certainly the Friends of the Boyd’s prerogative. But the man — Michael Nutter — has shown early on in his mayoral administration that he has no respect for Philadelphia laws, facts or history. Because of its remoteness, many people don’t know just how major an historic thing Northeast Philadelphia’s Burholme Park is, or WAS, we can now start to say. Originally it was the country estate of leading Philadelphia Quaker businessman Joseph Waln Ryerss, a direct descendant of Quakers who arrived to Philadelphia from England along with with William Penn on the ship Welcome. Ryerss was a founder of the Pennsylvania SPCA as well as an active abolitionist. And he made his fortune in all ways honest and upstanding, among them, the creation of the Tioga Railroad Line. As mentioned earlier, he allowed his estate — the highest point in Philadelphia — to be used by the Union Army as a critical lookout point when the Confederates under Gen. Lee were planning an attack on Pennsylvania but it was unknown where. Thanks to the role that Burholme Park had played, Philadelphia was kept safe all through the Civil War. When Joseph Waln Ryerss passed away, he left his country estate to his son Robert Waln Ryerss, who in turned willed it to the people of Philadelphia to be preserved as green open space for their enjoyment forever. And the city accepted it on those terms unconditionally. There were no provisions or clauses then — or NOW — for that will ever to be broken. And at the time the Fox Chase Cancer Center announced it would like to acquire and expand onto Burholme Park it was not like it was a dead and meaningless thing at that point. Quite the contrary, I visited this park just a few short months before this announcement was made, and I cannot recall ever visiting a park more alive, more cared for, more loved by the everyday people as was the case with that park. It was like a patch of heaven in area of the city that in other ways had become very run down. As Pulitzer Prize winning architectural critic Inga Saffron said of it in her 2005 visit to it, “Picking your way through the clutter that is Cottman Avenue, past all the diners and dollar stores, nothing prepares you for the vision of an Italian palazzo perched nobly on a hill in Burholme Park.” What Burholme Park serves as a magnificent example of is noblesse oblige at its finest. And in terms of what the infrastructure around Burholme Park can support in all directions, the Fox Chase Cancer Center could not possibly have picked a worse place to seek to expand. It had so many far better options in the city it could look to. But it wanted to take down that historic well-loved that park. And do we really have to guess why? Add to this that in its taking over Burholme Park — in all ways illegally — it will be getting a major lookout point over the rest of the city. Add to this, and I’m not making this up, you can check this out for yourselves, on the brink of its “victory,” the Fox Chase Cancer Center official who spearheaded the expansion is calling himself “chancellor,” on the 75th anniversary of when another man in history took on that title — in a place called Germany.
To anybody in Philadelphia who genuinely cares about protecting its historic landmarks, Mayor Nutter, who the moment he took office quickly approved the cancer center’s expansion without even so much as blinking an eye, is no friend, whether of the Boyd, or anything else of Philadelphia historic significance.
If in the course of the Boyd’s current sale it gets sold to someone whose only interest is tearing it down to put up a paarking garage or whatever else in its place, based on his mishandling of Burholme Park, we can all rest assured that Mayor Nutter will change his colors in a heartbeat and show all loyalties to that nefarious interest, whatever it is, and the Boyd Theatre, too, like Burholme Park, will become history. For keep in mind that just within walking steps from the Boyd is another historic Philadelphia park that many would like to see eliminated, historic Rittenhouse Square. In brief, anybody who trusts Mayor Nutter when it comes to historic preservation, whether it be of parks or theaters, is as naive as it gets. As I say, the only reason why Nutter is taking the position he is now when it comes to the Boyd is because no adverse interests have expressed an interest in demolishing it. But the moment such emerges, he will switch to their side just like that. Mark my words and watch and see.
The Following article appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer for May 30, 2008:
It appears that Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter will take a stand on a matter of historic preservation so long as he’s not in confrontation with some adverse entity wanting to take things in the opposite direction. If this were a case where Jefferson University nearby to the Boyd wanted to take the Boyd down to slam up a highrise parking garage, Nutter would give his full consent in a heartbeat — the same way he totally incompetantly handled the Fox Chase Cancer Center v. historic Burholme Park controversy.
But in the Boyd’s case, since he’s not being asked to take a stand against a nefarious entity such as that, it’s, “Oh sure, I’ll side with the effort to save the historic Boyd, why not?” But if some formidable nefarious force decides to go after and take down the Boyd, watch him change his tune in a New York minute. Hopefully no such entity will emerge, but just to let you know how he’ll quickly change his stance if it does.
Thanks, Boczki! But in speaking up on behalf of those who sit by and complain but do nothing, you have to see the bigger context that they’re trapped inside. Case in point, for this project I’m in the process of launching now, years ago I was in training as a manager of one of New Jersey’s biggest seaside hotel/motel chains, a long ago skill I acquired which is certainly lending to what I need to know on the road ahead. Back when I was in the process of that training, with all the confusion that the casinoization of Atlantic City brought to the New Jersey hotel industry in general, suddenly forcing it to be very very corrupt, it got so bad that I finally upped walked out in total disgust, and I went onto other things, with the hotel management skills I acquired during that period pretty much lying in a state of dormancy all the years since. To be sure, I complained about what forced me to go in search of other fields, but when in that context — New Jersey’s over all corruption in general — there really wasn’t anything else you could do. In looking back in the course of my complaining I can’t say that I was wrong. For to be sure, when people are getting ripped off left and right, vast fortunes made by a select few as a result of this, there’s no way that can be said to be “right and proper.” And last night just out of curiosity, now that there’s Hotels.com, I checked out the latest reviews of the Jersey hotels I once worked as a manager at, and sure enough, they’re still ripping people off left and right, nothing’s changed. And it’s so bad that not even exposÃ© websites like that can change this for the better. Rather, the corrupt managers of there today have the smug attitude of, “Yep, that’s us!” because they know it can’t be changed for the better, at least for the better regarding those complaining, not even with things like that. But as I read over all the complaining reviews my outlook wasn’t one of, you people complaining are all wrong. Not in the least. For the only thing that’s wrong is their expecting their complaining to get anywhere with those types of people they’re complaining against. At the same time, if they don’t have alternatives they can look to, how can we blame them? How? For seriously, who wouldn’t complain under those conditions, even though it’s futile to do so? When the Titanic was going down and the passengers still aboard were screaming, as we observed this from afar was our reaction one of, “What are they, crazy?! That screaming’s not going to save them now. What total fools they are to scream”? No. for who wouldn’t have screamed when in that position, even though it was futile? And notice what I’m doing: I’m not changing the Jersey Shore hotel scene the way it is now, as much as I dislike it. If I could, boy, I would do it in a heartbeat. But what I am doing is looking at the good hotel managerial training I once acquired from there and thinking, you know, this skill I once derived from there can still be put into good practice somewhere, though I’m wise enough to know not there. Unless it changes. It’s simply a process of recycling old skills for new usage, where it can be done. There’s a difference between that and changing what you don’t like and that cannot be changed.