Comments from TheaterBuff1

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TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on Jan 25, 2006 at 8:06 pm

Just to clear up any misunderstandings and to reset the focus on what’s supposed to be most important of all – restoring Philadelphia’s classic theaters in the best possible way – at no point have I ever libeled anyone. “Libel” is the spreading of false statements, and though there’s not one instance anywhere on this site where I have done that, there have been a number of occasions where the above correspondant has with regards to me and comments I’ve posted, and I respectfully request that he refrain from doing this further. And a formal apology on his part wouldn’t hurt either.

For let it be noted that I do credit the above correspondant for having saved the Boyd from demolition, and I have nothing but the highest praises of him for that. But not to the degree that he should have a full monopoly on how it should be restored from here on. That should be up to consensus, given how the Boyd is Philadelphia’s last movie palace to speak of.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Jan 23, 2006 at 8:10 pm

And yet…

I believe all of us can readily agree that the original main portion of the Orleans Theatre building should be kept standing and made a single-screen movie theater once more. That is, a single-screen theater where concession stand and ticket prices are kept low, and no commercials are ever shown. Surely there’s not a single one of us who would object to that, is there? And Wal*Mart could subsidize it’s operation. For hey, seriously, why the heck not?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on Jan 20, 2006 at 8:06 pm

On the other hand, this “rant” he just posted on January 20 at the following link should help to clarify things more:


TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Jan 20, 2006 at 7:21 pm

With all due respect, Mr. Haas, the old adage “Look before you leap” apparently means nothing to you, otherwise you’d realize that I’ve done far more than simply take photos of theater exteriors and “rant” on this site as you put it — which appears to be your second favorite word next to “unrealistic.” Your whole approach, meantime, just seems to be one of concurring with whatever the Philadelphia political machine dictates without ever questioning anything. Er, I believe it’s called “opportunism.” Meaning that okay, in your case, using your approach, you get to save the historic Boyd Theatre building from demolition, but then for what purpose? For that’s the way I look at things, and what I mean by “look before you leap.” I see well directed movies exhibited in well-run theaters as a powerful means of raising awareness in people, of opening their eyes to how things could be much better than they currently are; to make them more attuned to how their lives are being greatly shortchanged by the current status quo. And to be sure, Philadelphia could use a healthy dose of that right now. For we are a very very sad city right now just in case you don’t know. And made all the more so when the classic movie theaters we have in our neighborhoods are currently serving as drugstores or fur shops or supermarkets or what have you, and “authority figures” like you putting forth a hail of criticism when people like me try to think out ways they can be brought back to life once more.

For instance, Mr. Haas, I notice on your profile page how you don’t list a single movie you like, even though that’s ultimately what movie theaters are all about. By leaving that part of your profile page blank, you come across as a framemaker who doesn’t think very highly of paintings. Meaning, what’s your ultimate goal really? To restore the Boyd Theater in such a way so that the end result will be like an art museum with ornate but empty picture frames hanging on all its gallery walls? For if that’s your goal, well good for you, but it’s certainly not mine. With me it’s all or nothing. I’m not into resuscitating classic theaters in such a way so that the end result will just be this very dead thing. For take a good hard look at the status quo of Philadelphia right now, Howard, Northeast Philly especially. We have losers on the top and winners on the bottom, but with few if any current Northeast Philly residents knowing any the better. And when they ask for better, such as the Mayfair Theatre restored as a classy neighborhood theater they are told, “No, you don’t want that, you want a crappy chain drugstore there instead.” And the best you can do in the face of this is toss around meaningless words like “unrealistic” and “rant.” And all told I’d say that’s a pretty worthless “contribution” on your part, and little to be impressed with.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Yeadon Theatre on Jan 19, 2006 at 8:45 pm

Not only was it arson, but apparently politically motivated arson at that from the looks of it. Hope they get to the bottom of it soon, and that this theater, the last John Eberson designed theater still in the Philadelphia area — aside from the Leader on Lancaster Avenue — can still be saved!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on Jan 19, 2006 at 7:38 pm

“Unrealistic rant”? Folks, when we’re talking about the last movie palace still standing in a major U.S. city, and in a superb location within that major U.S. city at that, it would require far more effort to prevent in from being a success than to simply allow it to be succesful, and naturally so at that! During the period when Mr. Haas was a customer of it regularly, it was not being run properly at all, hence why customers, other than Mr. Haas apparently, were avoiding it like the plague. Just to give a good for instance, given how the Boyd can be described as an event theater rather than a typical neighborhood one, it would be totally out of sync with what it’s truly meant to be by trying to fill its 2,350 seats every single day of the week. But that’s exactly what its last operator tried to do: To apply a neighborhood movie theater formula to a movie palace. And of course this strategy failed. To borrow Mr. Haas’s favorite word, it was totally UNREALISTIC! But let it be noted that the Boyd Theatre fared extremely well when it was run in accordance with how it was meant to be. Back when it had been the Boyd, Ben Hur did extremely well there, and it’s a shame Mr. Haas apparently wasn’t around to witness that back when it occured. If he had, no doubt he’d see things a whole lot differently in how it needs to be restored. And all he’s telling us now is that it can never go back to being the Sameric again. And that I fully agree with, no arguments whatsoever. But its returning to how it was back when it had been the Boyd is something else entirely, while to this Mr. Haas remains fiercely determinedly blind. I saw Ben Hur at that theater back when it was being run properly, as did many of the rest of you, and like the rest of you, I, too, can remember that theater operating beautifully at that time. In brief, it worked. And not in the context of some fantasy or pipedream, but in ACTUALITY. Yet this Mr. Haas insists we should have no memories of, as apparently it complicates Mr. Haas’s ambition to whittle the Boyd down to far less than it’s meant to be.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Jan 19, 2006 at 6:20 pm

Just to correct Mr. Haas on two specific points here, single-screen theaters, operated in a classy manner, aren’t supposed to make money in and of themselves. Rather, the money made, and that’s needed to keep them in operation is this manner, is made by the businesses around them that are uplifted by those businesses being in close proximity to them — just as is now the case with the Ambler Theatre out in Ambler, Pennsylvania and the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Not to mention a zillon and one other single-screen theaters I can also name. And the second point that needs correcting is Mr. Haas’s mis-belief — when he compares single-screen theaters to typewriters, horses & buggies, etc. — that single-screen theaters are somehow “inferior” to multiplexes and seeing movies on TV. If only he could grasp how insulting to the intellect that mis-belief he holds truly is! For even the most advanced high definition digital televisions of today haven’t even begun to scratch the surface in terms of surpassing the experience of seeing a well-directed movie on a large screen in the context of a well-run single-screen theater! Not to mention that digital technology itself is in position to make the single-screen movie theater experience a thousand times better than when single-screen theaters were in prominance last.

And with regards to the Mayfair Theatre, I have yet to come across one single multiplex theater anywhere that can even begin to hold a candle to how wonderful an experience it used to be when seeing movies shown at the Mayfair Theatre! For seriously, it’s like trying to compare dining at Center City Philadelphia’s Le Bec Fin to eating at a Wendy’s Restaurant! Mr. Haas, in his shear arrogance, keeps insisting that we’re not supposed to notice any difference, rather than we ourselves being able to assert what it is that we prefer. And why is he doing this? Chances are it’s because he himself is incapable of offering anyone anything of high quality and therefore doesn’t want anyone else doing this either, lest we all see him for who he truly is.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on Jan 18, 2006 at 8:57 pm

Now that I’ve reviewed all the facts with regard to the Boyd, I see no excuse whatsoever why it cannot become a topnotch movie palace again, especially given the fact that it’s the last movie palace still standing in the heart of what continues to be a major U.S. city. Some might point out that it has 2,350 seats to fill if it’s to be successful, while I say, “Is that all?”

For not only is the population of Philadelphia today well over a million people, but add to this that Philadelphia’s surrounding suburbs are all heavily populated now, unlike how it was when the Boyd Theatre last was in its heyday. And let me point out that many many Philadelphia suburbanites would love to come into Philadelphia far more often than they do now, if, in fact, they still come here at all, if only there were very good reasons to. And the fully restored Boyd Theatre could become one very good reason to. But right now instead of their getting that when they come here instead they are told the Boyd Theatre can never hope to be a glorious movie palace again. And that, I ask, is supposed to make those who reside in Philadelphia’s suburbs want to come here?!

As a single-screen movie palace in the heavily trafficked portion of a major U.S. city, the Boyd Theatre most certainly can work, but it sure as heck can’t if those currently in charge of it say, “No can do,” and let that total lie override the actual reality.

For this is not a matter of practical considerations preventing the Boyd Theatre from ever becoming a world-class movie palace again. Rather, it’s a matter of shear shortsightedness and lack of will. In fact, more effort is currently being poured into preventing it from ever becoming a world-class movie palace again than any to try to resuscitate it. For the theater itself is all waiting to breathe new life once more and to have new life breathed into it. There’s absolutely nothing lacking in the theater in that regard. But to be sure, there’s a great deal lacking in those who are currently holding it hostage. With them it’s all “no can do” this and “no can do” that. And prove them wrong and all they do is get mad rather than learning a thing or two. And those of us who know better are supposed to be impressed by this!? We’re not impressed.

TheaterBuff1 commented about The Ideal Theater of the Future? on Jan 18, 2006 at 8:09 pm

Digital technology has not come so far along that it’s far outsurpassed the full-bodied experience of seeing a well-crafted movie exhibited in a well-run movie theater. In this regard, in fact, digital technology has not even begun to scratch the surface!

So why then would anybody even begin to see digital as any kind of a threat to movie theaters' future? It would have to be an awful shallow, totally low-expectations type person who would say that digital is fine for fulfilling all his or her needs. And I’m hardly ready to conclude that that describes most of us. And right now I see digital only as a tie-over, an “intermission,” between when movie theaters last flourished and when they’ll flourish again. And to date the world of digital technology has come forth with nothing whatsoever to confirm that never will be the case. But on the other hand it has come forth with several things, many things, in fact, that will enable cinema of the future to be that much better. But just to stay stuck in the digital rut forever, that’s as boring as sitting down in the driver’s seat of a brand new Lamborghini but then not getting to take it for a spin. Maybe some would be happy to do just that, but I refuse to believe that’s most of us.

The theaters of the future are waiting for us to get on with building them, to which I ask, what are we all waiting for?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Penypak Theatre on Jan 17, 2006 at 4:59 pm


Here’s the link for the Mayfair Theatre page:


Sorry about that!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Penypak Theatre on Jan 17, 2006 at 4:57 pm

The message I just posted at Cinema Treasure’s Mayfair Theatre page — /theaters/9141_0_2_0_C/ — contains principles that could be applied to this the Holme/Pennypack Theatre as well.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Jan 17, 2006 at 4:44 pm

My strong feeling firmly remains that it should become a classy neighborhood theater once more. For without its serving this vital role, there is really no “there” there when we speak of Mayfair as it is today.

However, it would be a huge mistake to try to running it as a business unto itself. For rather than a revenue generator, it should be seen as a “revenue generation enhancer” with regard to all the other businesses around it. And because I do believe it would go a long way in boosting the profitability of all the other businesses around it, all of which pay business taxes, the new revenues the city would realize from this would be tremendous.

Thus I would suggest the city should foot the cost of its full restoration and day-to-day operational expenses rather than any private benefactors or corporate sponsors assuming this cost. Why? Because the city, through its business tax collection, would be in position to make its money back and then some. And only the city is in that position.

And from the city’s perspective, because of its unique position, the Mayfair Theatre would not be a charity, but an investment. And I would say an excellent one at that. For to be sure, it would both rescue and resuscitate Mayfair at the same time. And what shy of that, with regard to the Mayfair Theatre building’s future fate, could achieve that?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Jan 13, 2006 at 5:59 pm

One thing I feel totally certain of is that with the right political leadership here in Northeast Philadelphia that building could become a classy neighborhood theater once more. Or, for that matter, if there were no politicians here in Northeast Philly at all. For I can’t even begin to imagine being the owner of that building and not want to make it a theater again.

Jack, when you worked there towards the end and there were nights when 10 seats or less were filled and hundreds empty, can you remember specific movie titles from that period? For I can remember the transitional phase Northeast Philly was going through at that time. The senior citizens and retirees living around were like kings, and it was very tough going for anyone not in that category. And add to that, what were the movie releases like around that time? For all told it seems it was a terrible time to try to keep a movie theater going at that location at that particular point in time. The seniors and retirees seemingly had no special want or need for it, while those not in that category who did pretty were much discounted as “unimportant” — politically most certainly. And making it into a drugstore was obviously in response to the high senior citizen population at that time.

But that demographic has shifted considerably now, hence why Eckerds timed itself to close when it did. And right now what’s to become of the Mayfair Theatre building next is an absolute mystery. The great thing to do would be to push to make it a movie theater once more now that Eckerds has departed, but greatness is very much an orphan right now. For contrary to what hdtv267 thinks, it’s not money that’s lacking in this instance, it’s greatness itself. A major and sudden political shift right now could change that equation. Or, if it can’t be that, then a sudden waking up among the everyday people themselves. And right now in Mayfair’s case neither is happening.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Jan 12, 2006 at 6:39 pm

So then it’s now officially closed, now that it’s Friday the 13th as it were?

Also, when you mentioned the Fox brothers as being its owners, Jack, is that the same Fox as in Fox & Soblosky credited in the documentary, “It Happened in Mayfair 1937”? Or no relation?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Jan 11, 2006 at 7:17 pm

To Jack Ferry:

If you update your profile to include your e-mail address, or visit my profile page to get my e-mail address, I have 7 photos I took of the Mayfair Theatre building back on November 3rd of last year that I’d be more than happy to share with you to share with others. By rights, I should head down to Mayfair to get some more photos of it, and next time I get a chance to I will. These ones I have, meantime, just show various shots of it from the outside.

Meantime, have you or anyone else heard anything new regarding the latest on what hdtv267 claimed about Eckerds vacating it sometime this month? Or was it just a baseless rumor?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Penypak Theatre on Jan 10, 2006 at 6:42 pm

At this link you can now see photos I took of this historic theater building as it looked in the autumn of 2005:

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Jan 10, 2006 at 6:00 pm

My childhood memories of the theater are so different in that my friends and I spent many a Saturday afternoon there at the matinees, but I cannot recall anytime ever anyone — whether it was my friends, or anyone’s parents or whoever — saying anything unusual about the murals, other than they thought they were “pretty” at best, or at worst. It was simply art, and nothing more than that. That is, paint on plaster, not actual human beings. And when “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” was shown there in 1968 or so — the first time I ever saw nudity in a film at the Mayfair (a brief shot of actress Pamela Franklin nude where she’s posing for an artist) — I have absolutely no recollections of anyone complaining about it. The scene did stand out, yes, but not as anything “terrible.” Only that motion pictures were becoming more and more sophisticated, the “Moral Majority” and all that still lightyears away in the future. But regarding the murals, since all my friends and I had been exposed to them since birth, I suppose it was just that thing psychologists call “sensory adaption.” That is, if you’re exposed to a stimulus constantly it is totally unnoticable to you. But given the long hiatus it’s been since I’d seen the interior of the Mayfair Theatre last, only now is it registering what had been nothing strange or unusual back when my friends and I were kids. But certainly not in such a way that has me now as an adult saying, “Oh now I see why they shut it down and good thing they did!” Given how that mural appears to be a great example of Art Deco era painting, something I know full well now but didn’t have any inkling of back then, I’m all the more upset that America’s “Taliban” came along to shut it down when it did. For America’s Taliban is what needs to be shut down, not our classic neighborhood movie theaters! And nothing says it better than this mural does, hoping some of it — if not all – still exists.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Penypak Theatre on Jan 9, 2006 at 6:30 pm

To hdtv267:

Thank you so kindly for posting those comments you did, as I’ve been trying to explain to educated outsiders how much Northeast Philly has gone downhill intellectually since its onetime heyday, and many thought perhaps I was just making it all up. And again I need to correct you, as it’s to be a Cold Stone CREAMERY, not “Cremery.” There’s no such word as “cremery”!!! And whether Cold Stone Creamery’s website makes mention of this being an upcoming site or not, I’m simply repeating what the Northeast Times article said with regards to what the future plans for that building are. So if the info I posted was incorrect, don’t complain to me about it, complain to the NE Times' Jeannie O'Sullivan, for she’s the one who wrote the article. Also if you’re in a complaining mood, you might want to complain to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance for refusing to budge with regard to acquiring for that Holme/Pennypack Theatre building the historic landmark status it deserves. This designation would insure that the Highland Development Group of Elkins Park doesn’t alter it too much in terms of its ever again being able to become a classy neighborhood movie theater.

When I look at that historic theater building and the sorry state that Daley’s Furniture & Appliance left it in when it vacated it, while others might just see it as a crappy old building, I see it like those thousand year old Bhuddist statues the Taliban destroyed leading up to 9/11, and with all of Northeast Philly right now in the grips of America’s Taliban as it were. To give credit where it’s due, Howard Stern is totally right when he says it’s weird that we’re fighting to crush the Taliban overseas while we have one right here in this country that keeps growing and growing yet is totally being ignored. And just as a reality check, you should re-read the comments you made, as they’re vary Taliban like.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Jan 9, 2006 at 5:28 pm

What I love about the mural is how it reveals how much freer and more progressive a world Northeast Philadelphia had been back when the Mayfair Theatre had been at its height. If a theater were built in today’s Northeast Philadelphia and it had murals of that nature, all the morons that hold reign over today’s Northeast Philadelphia would complain about it and prevail, whereby back when I was a kid it was simply art. And because of Northeast Philly’s higher intelligence level back then no one thought anything twice about it. But in later years came the Steck type businessmen, and maybe this mural, which I myself had no especial memories of, explains why he glared at me so annoyedly that day when I expressed sadness that the Mayfair Theatre building across the street was no longer a movie theater. It’s sort of like that “All In the Family” episode where Mike & Gloria are given this replica of Rodin’s “The Kiss” and feel totally flattered to recieve such a gift, recognizing it for its inherent beauty, but when Archie gets home while Mike & Gloria are away, all he sees in it is pure obscenity.

Whatever the case, thanks for providing us with a photo of that wonderful mural, Jack, while I wonder if that one plus others the Mayfair Theatre contained still exist, given all these years now that Mayfair’s been in the oppressive grips of America’s “Taliban.”

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Jan 8, 2006 at 7:57 pm


HowardBHaas’s commentary saying I don’t have a viable business plan for restoring the Mayfair Theatre is 100% misleading, as I never claimed I did, just the complete opposite. I would love to be able to see it happen, but due to its total lack of parking as well as other factors, his guess is as good as mine how it could be possible. Right here and now that is…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Penypak Theatre on Jan 8, 2006 at 7:41 pm

Money’s not the problem, Hdtv! Rather, it’s the politics, plus the bad intentions behind those politics. And so long as that holds firmly in place, just the simplest challenges imaginable become all but an impossibility. And you have to keep in mind, assuming you’re somewhat aware of it, that right now Northeast Philadelphia is serving as a type of slave engine of sorts to provide a steady revenue stream for both Center City Philadelphia and what we call the “Main Line.” And well-run, classy neighborhood movie theaters simply don’t fit in well with that theme. But Dollar Tree Stores, Pizza Hut Expresses, Stone Cold Crematories and laundromats do. Along with drugstores such as the one down at the Mayfair Theatre. And until the people of Northeast Philadelphia determine they don’t wish to be slaves, there’s not a whole heck of a lot I can do about that if they all feel they’re cool with it.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Penypak Theatre on Dec 23, 2005 at 8:23 pm

There’s the old saying, “Things will have to get a whole lot worse before they get better,” and sad to say, that very much seems to be how it is with the Holme/Pennypack Theatre right now, now that I’ve had chance to study it out more. On the surface, restoring this historic theater building back to being a theater once more is a no brainer. But see, right now that’s asking an awful lot of a community that is especially short of brains at the present time. And it’s very hard if not impossible to work with such people in terms of getting anything really intelligent done when they consider such lame-brained politicians as U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz — one of several politicians now presiding over the Holmesburg community where this historic theater building exists — as being “intelligent,” or who see her predecessor, Robert Borski, who can’t seem to get it into his thick head that he now must fully retire, as being “statesmanly.” My view with regard to them is that if you’re not very good at what you do, you should at least be graceful enough to just step down. For anyone who accurately looks at the Holmesburg community as it is right now can readily see how very blighted and ghetto-like it truly is. And it’s this way due to certain variables that, if removed from the equation, would enable the Holmesburg community to truly heal once more. For it really does have the power to be a tremendously beautiful community when given a chance to be. But both Allyson Schwartz plus her inept predecessor Bob Borski totally lack what it takes to bring that beauty Holmesburg inherently has to the surface. There are good times to follow the political leadership, and then there are very bad times to. And right now in Holmesburg’s case this is a very very bad time to. But with so many people of Holmesburg right now in their total ignorance doing just that, little can one say other than things will have to get a whole lot worse before they get better. And that worsening of Holmesburg, needless to say, I have no desire of contributing to. So for now, restoring the Pennypack Theatre building back to being a theater is very much on hold. From my perspective at least. For in a community rife with uneducated people who mistakenly regard someone such as Allyson Schwartz as “intelligent,” and Robert Borski as “statesmanly,” it just would be casting pearls before swine as it were…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on Dec 23, 2005 at 5:44 pm


Should read: “And all of US it seems were very much unified as one people bsck when the Boyd was packed to the brim in 1959.”

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on Dec 23, 2005 at 5:37 pm

How well an historic theater’s restoration is going I consider to be an important measure of the political clmate of where this important historic theater restoration is taking place. For all told, there is no higher art form than a well-produced motion picture exhibited in a well-run theater, as was the case when I saw the Philadelphia premiere of “Ben Hur” at this theater – the Boyd – back in 1959. For the theater in this or that community says it all really. If it’s packed to brim with patrons – as was the case with the Boyd back in 1959 – it means that the economic climate is especially good combined with the atmosphere of a strong sense of togetherness, or a wanting for togetherness, among all those attending the theater. And all of it seems were very much unified as one people back when the Boyd was packed to the brim back in 1959. And maybe it’s just me, but I far prefer that than all of us going off our separate ways while the highest art form there is is in ruins…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Ambler Theatre on Dec 23, 2005 at 5:01 pm

Being as the Ambler Theatre is THE theater, more or less, that kicked off the whole restore-the-classic-old-theaters-in-the-Philadelphia-area movement, what’s the latest news on the Ambler Theatre now that it’s been up and running for a while? Even though Northeast Philadelphia right now is much too steeped in the dark ages at the present moment to be able to do anything positive with its historic Holme/Pennypack Theatre, I would hate to think such dark political climate applies to Ambler as well.

So given that, I was hoping to visit this page tonight and see that at least Ambler made it through and continues making progress even though Northeast Philadelphia appears totally hopeless for now.

So if there’s any great new news on the Ambler, I would hope somebody would be so kind as to post it here. Thanks!