Comments from TheaterBuff1

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TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Dec 23, 2005 at 2:57 am

There’s one very feasible way I could see the Mayfair Theatre building becoming a theater once more, but it would require very bold thinking on all the businesses surrounding it. In my vision, the theater itself would be made a nonprofit, and all the businesses around it would contribute towards its full restoration plus its day-to-day operational costs thereafter. And they would do so to increase their own profitability. In other words, the money they would put into the theater they would not make back through the theater itself, but through their own businesses nearby being uplifted by it. Restaurants in the area would have a same day relationship with it, along with pizza parlors, coffee shops and so on. That is to say, these are the type businesses people would cater the same day they went to see a movie at that theater.

And then there’s also what you can call separate day relationships. These would be hobby stores in the area, clothing stores, toy stores, etc. And in some cases even auto dealerships. In other words, someone would go to the theater and like the type of clothing they see a star wearing in the movie. And they’d like to buy clothes such as that — but not necessarily the same day they see the movie. Meaning that one day they’re there in Mayfair seeing a movie at the theater, and the next they’re shopping in Mayfair clothing shops hoping to find clothes similar to what they saw a star wearing in the movie at the Mayfair Theatre the night before. Or shoes, or what have you. So in the separate day relationship the theater would be like advertising. And how much do businesses these days spend on advertising? Yet why spend it that way rather than by restoring the nearby movie theater? For movies put products in a special context, and far better than any commercials can. The Tom Hanks movie “Castaway” did far more to boost Fed Ex’s bottom line than any commercial ever did! And let’s not forget that the Fess Parker movie “Davy Crockett” back in the ‘50s did more to help the sale of coonskin caps than any commercial ever possibly could have.

And here’s another thing to consider:

I’ve seen old b&w photos of the Mayfair Theatre where they had banners hanging beneath the marquee proclaiming how the theater was air-conditioned. And this at a time and in an area where few if any houses around were air-conditioned at the time. The technology was very new, not to mention expensive, so many were very skeptical of it. So by the Mayfair Theatre’s being air-conditioned, it went a long way in erasing that skepticism. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mayfair Theatre went a long way in selling people on the idea of wall-to-wall carpeting as well. That, too, being something totally new. And in today’s world there’s geothermal heating and cooling technology which is having a hard time catching on more. It’s expensive to install, and many people are doubtful of it. Yet when you go straight down Cottman Avenue and get to State Road, there’s a company right there at that corner that specializes in installing it, and nobody knows about it. But they sure as heck would if the Mayfair Theatre had it, and if everyone who experienced it there at the theater loved how well it worked!

Too often today businesses want to see immediate returns, and that, I fear, might be the biggest problem ailing Mayfair right now. Over time I believe they would get huge returns from their investing in the Mayfair Theatre’s full restoration, but not necessarily right away. At the same time, they sure won’t get that longterm return, not even close, if it’s just made another ho hum drug store again.

I know from my own experience back when I was a kid I used to shop at that hobby shop there in Mayfair all the time. And was there a correlation between that and the theater? You bet! If I saw “Blue Max” at the theater one day, three days later or so I was there at the hobby shop buying the new model kit of the blue max plane. Or if I saw John Lennon wearing a turtle neck in the movie “Help!” I’d be at Fleet’s several days later buying up turtle necks. Meaning that if the theater, and the businesses around it, are in sync, everybody gains from its being a theater. And an Eckerds drug store at that site can’t even begin to have that same magical uplifting effect on all that’s around it. That Eckerds was geared just to be stop and go. And that’s just what people do. They stop there, and then they go on, given how it doesn’t promote in any way anything that’s around it. For how could it? It’s just a drug store, not a theater.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Dec 22, 2005 at 4:35 am


Although the Philadelphia Flyers again won the Stanley Cup in 1975, it was in 1974 when the big riot I describe took place there in Mayfair. The celebrations that took place there the following year, 1975, were much more civil, and even more peaceful still the year following that when the Flyers failed to get the “Hat Trick in ‘76” that everyone had hoped for…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Dec 22, 2005 at 2:46 am

To Jack Ferry:

Although what you say of it not being economically viable to restore that Mayfair Theatre building as a movie theater is valid, my feeling is that it’s far more an attitude problem Northeast Philadelphia currently suffers from that ultimately prevents this theater building from ever being made a theater again.

Meantime, the design of the Mayfair Theatre is such that it literally screams, “I’M SUPPOSED TO BE A MOVIE THEATER!!!” when efforts are made to try to make it something else and with this misuse not being fully noticeable. As anyone who passes through Mayfair can readily see, it is clearly the centerpiece of all Mayfair, and so prominantly so, that it’s hard if not totally impossible to do anything with it other than allowing it to be a movie theater without this putting a tremendous dampener businesswise on all other businesses that surround it. That theater building, as a theater, puts a face on Mayfair that it totally lacks otherwise. And there is something a bit blasphamous its being put to other uses.

As I’m sure you know, all Mayfair at one time had been the sizeable estate of the great 19th century stage actor Edwin Forrest. And even after his estate was cleared and Mayfair was created, it appears that there something in his spirit that persistently lived on there, evidence of this in the success of onetime Mayfair resident Sylvester Stallone, and more recently, Joanne Picutti (hope I spelled that right) who was literally born to play the part of Annie in the Broadway production. Only for Broadway to make the terrible mistake of pulling her from it.

And the fact that the Devon Theatre is now being restored to be a live performing arts theater in face of the fact that it stands on what once had been part of Edwin Forrest’s estate is more than just mere coincidence. And subconsciously at least, I believe the fact that all Mayfair had once been Forrest’s estate is why a theater — in this case the Mayfair Theatre — was chosen to be its centerpiece.

But there are certain decision-makers reigning over Mayfair now who are not getting it for some reason. And they’re losers all if you really take the time to examine them more closely. And Mayfair citizens are allowing them to hold reign without question, even though I believe they would like to get passed them now — only to be told, “Well, it takes money…”

Last October, when I was taking a walking tour of Holmesburg’s main consumer business district with Holmesburg Civic Association head Fred Moore, we ran into the man currently in charge of restoring the Devon Theatre. We asked him how it was going, and he quickly replied that the effort was greatly short of funds. And it immediately blurted out of me before I could think of what I was saying, “It’s a shame you have to think of the project strictly in terms of money.” His eyes immediately darted to Fred with a look that said, “Hey Fred, your friend here has a great sense of humor!” Both he and Fred then both had a very good laugh over it. But yet there are times when lacking money is not the real problem. Rather, it’s the absence of intelligent thinking. And that seems to be the biggest problem right now in Mayfair’s case. To be sure, the intelligence is there, it’s there as much as is the enduring spirit of Edwin Forrest himself, but the good folks of Mayfair are allowing monetary thinking to take precendence over it — hence the number one reason why the Mayfair Theatre has not gotten to be a theatre since 1985.

Even though it does lack parking, it could work again as a theater if it were made a community theater. But it would require a bit of a revolution on the part of the people of Mayfair. A willingness to rise up and throw off the shackles of the John Perzels, Joan Krajewskis and others that now have it so locked down. I saw first hand that power Mayfair has once. I saw it in the Flyers Stanley Cup celebrations back in 1975. And as I say, the one thing I’ll always remember of the many things that got vandalized that night, the one thing that loomed up in the middle of it but that didn’t get touched in the least was the Mayfair Theatre. And that I look back upon now as having been a type of miracle. For all around it that night there were storefront windows getting smashed left and right, small fires of trash being set in the Cottman-Frankford intersection, a 66 bus halted there at Cottman and being totally torn to pieces, and so forth and so on. But while all this was happening I turned and looked to the theater, and it was if it had some sort of a special force field all around it. Not quite a glow, but something that seemed to say, whatever you do, people, spare this. And the drunken revelers that night did spare it. And I’ll never forget that.

So with that said, despite all this money talk, I think the people of Mayfair come January should stand up and say, no, no, this is going to become our beloved theater once more. For there are times to say, hey, money is not all there is. And now I believe is one of those times…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Dec 21, 2005 at 1:44 am

Meaning that it might be open to being a movie theater once more? While I certainly would love to see this, I’m not sure that it could be done in the face of the fact that it has no parking whatsoever. Keep in mind that it came into being when getting around by car was far more the exception than the norm. And because of this it had a foothold of acceptance by the time the age of the automobile came into being. For the span of a generation people were well adjusted to the concept of not going to the Mayfair by car. “To the Mayfair you go by public transit or on foot.” Nothing at all seemed strange or unusual about it. Because that was all many had been used to since birth. And to the generation before that, that had been the norm with everything.

And now here it is, 2005 heading into 2006, and we’re all fully accustomed to reaching anything that’s totally new by car. And though if the Mayfair were restored it would hardly be “new,” it would indeed be totally new to anyone who never knew it as a movie theater. In other words, unlike how it is with the Pennypack Theatre, which does have parking, it would be a real challenge to breathe all new cinematic life into that Mayfair Theatre building again. And even I, who grew up with its being a theater, don’t know that I could ever get back to using it frequently the way I once did. It’s like that girl you love madly who dumps you, and after you finally get over her, it taking many years to do so, here she is, suddenly back in your life once more, begging you to take her back. But you’re married to someone else now, and you love the one you’re married to now, so it’s like, what do you say???

But nonetheless, nothing would make me happier than to see others get hold of the Mayfair Theatre building and successfully make it a movie theater once more to bring the joy and happiness to the next generation the same joy and happiness it once brought to me. But see, in my mind, the Mayfair Theatre is so affixed as being a certain way, so much so that if I was overseeing the project I’d always be trying to make it that same way again — which would be totally impossible now, given how much all the other factors of the over all gestalt have changed. The Pennypack Theatre on the other hand I never got to know as a movie theater, so my relationship to that is there’s no pre-fixed conceptions.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Fox Theatre on Dec 20, 2005 at 4:58 am

Bob Ketler:

I just recently learned first hand exactly what you’re saying about the Main Line’s being indifferent to the arts and historic preservation here in Philadelphia. Here in Northeast Philadelphia where I reside — which had been Philadelphia’s original Main Line (and, from what I can gather had been a thousand times better for Philadelphia than what we call the Main Line today!) — we have an excellent theater building in Northeast Philadelphia’s Holmesburg section which had been designed by the great 20th century movie theater pioneer William Harold Lee. Built in 1929 and called the Holme Theatre, it was renamed the Pennypack Theatre in 1946 after nearby Pennypack Park. It closed its doors as a theater sometime in the late 1950s and currently is being transformed into a type of mini mall which, when completed, will have a Dollar Tree Store, Pizza Hut Express, Cold Stone Creamery plus possibly a laundromat, the last not fully decided yet. But while this has been going on, I’ve been campaigning very heavily for it to become a movie theater once again. Yet it appears no one has fought my efforts more than those out on the Main Line. Case in point, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance has totally refused to lift a finger in helping me to attain for this building historic landmark status. Undaunted by this, however, I feel Northeast Philadelphia is long overdue for reacquiring its Main Line standing once more and that restoring this theater building as a theater would be a very positive step in that direction.

As for the Fox in Center City, it was indeed a very beautiful movie palace, and I saw Superman there in 1978.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Trocadero Theatre on Dec 20, 2005 at 3:19 am

Back when I was growing up in NE Philly, going down to the Troc Theatre at least once when you turned 18 was regarded as a vital “rite of passage.” And for an older brother of mine that meant going there to see Chickie Delight “perform,” and for me, several years later (1972) it was Sheree DeFore (billed as “As Never Before!”) I went down there with a Roman Catholic friend of mine (who was doing the driving) and though we got to see Sheree DeFore do her full “act,” the moment it was over and the movies began he suddenly felt very sick and we had to head back to NE Philly once more — even though I myself wished we could’ve stayed to watch the movies a bit longer, plus see the “Gala Midnight Show” the theater’s announcer kept telling all the theater patrons to stick around for. So to this day I still wonder what the heck the “Gala Midnight Show” was. Anyway, such is my own memories of the Troc.Haven’t ever been back since.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Palace Theatre on Dec 20, 2005 at 2:38 am


Thanks for setting me straight on that! Being as I’m up here in NE Philly and haven’t been back down to that part of Center City in many years, and since Cinema Treasures gives no listing/description for the Apollo Theatre, I just assumed from that that the two theaters must’ve been one and the same. I remember the 13th & Market Septa subway stop (as much as I try hard to forget it!) indicating that by the time I began passing through that part of Center City regularly (1975-76) the Palace plus the News Theatres were already gone by then.

As for the Boyd Theatre, where my family saw the grand Philadelphia premiere of “Ben Hur” in 1959, the latest really great news on that movie palace is that Clear Channel is in the process of fully restoring it to its original magnificent glory and it will be for live performances for top name acts when fully renovated. Howard B. Haas, Esq. is in charge of the over all project, and from I understand, he’s doing a great job! Meantime, it’s a shame the Palace designed by William Harold Lee, which must’ve been a magnificent theater, too, wasn’t as lucky.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Palace Theatre on Dec 19, 2005 at 2:25 am


Was the Palace Theatre and the Apollo one and the same? If so, I once trained as a projectionist there – a job lead I had gotten from a friend of mine who was managing the Apollo for a time before later becoming a Philly cop. As for that projectionist job, I went through all the training for it but then didn’t follow through with it, thinking it would look like hell on my resume!

Since I don’t recall any other theaters right around there that were right across Market St. from Wannamakers, I presume the Palace and Apollo were one and the same.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Dec 19, 2005 at 1:30 am

Great review on the Orleans Theatre, Hughie! I saw several films there back when it was single-screen, Oliver!, The Charge of the Light Brigade, and my favorite one of all, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines! I never saw any films there after they began splitting it up into smaller theaters, but from the way you describe it, I consider myself lucky for that!

One point of curiosity, my distinctly recalling that its stage had curtains – and light brown ones if my memory serves me correctly – when they showed Gone With the Wind there in its original 4:3 format, why couldn’t they have done it so the curtains were only opened up as much as necessary?

Now as for what you say about digital cinema projection systems, which I’m a firm believer in, it’s not too expensive for a theater to switch over to if making money is not that theater’s bottom line. Keep in mind that for expensive as it is that it’s a onetime expense. So that allows for a lot flexibility.

As for the disappearing of movie theaters, I regard that as wishful thinking on Hollywood’s part. And the reason why has to do with how unstoppable piracy threatens Hollywood’s whole fiscal future if it’s banking everything on that. It has absolutely got to get behind the theaters again if it hopes to survive, it has no other choice. And while that’s wishful thinking on theater operators' parts, the big difference is it’s wishful thinking with a whole lot of substance behind it. For if Hollywood can’t make money, Hollywood can’t produce movies. And if Hollywood can’t produce movies, where does that leave home theater? The only exception is network television because it can run commercials. But you see how quality suffers with network television given the restrictive and dictatorial powers advertisers have. Which may enable Hollywood to survive, but at the same time it will make home theater a lot less attractive than you describe it. And keep in mind that computer games are a major threat to home theater…

TheaterBuff1 commented about GCC Northeast 4 on Dec 18, 2005 at 3:28 am

The last I heard, Social Security plans to move its Branch Office from Bustleton Avenue to there. Meantime, so far as theater designs go, it has got to be the most stripped down, unimaginative, blandest, least creative theater design in the world! I know that I saw a lot of movies there back through the 1970s, but have no distinct memories of the theater itself as it appears there was nothing to remember. I remember the movies themselves distinctly well, however. As for the year they’re saying it was built – 1955 – that sounds all wrong to me, and 1965 sounds far more like it. In fact I’m pretty sure of that, and here’s why: When this theater was built it was an expansion of the E.J. Korvettes Shopping Center. And since “E.J. Korvettes” was not a person’s name, but rather, stood for “eight Jewish Korean War veterans” – that is, eight Jewish Army buddies who founded the shopping complex after their returning back home from the Korean War – the year 1955 simply doesn’t fit the time line of that. I remember E.J. Korvettes when it was all new, and that was around 1960 or so. And there was definitely no theater there at that time, I’m absolutely sure of it. Maybe it existed in the planning phases, but that’s about it.

Anyway, I went and looked at this theater building about a month ago and took digital photos of it from all angles, but aside from its having plenty of parking space it had so much working against it that I returned home thinking there’s no way it could ever positively be reworked to become a theater once more. It would have to be so reworked that it would be no different than building a theater from scratch. And I’d say a thousand times less costly if that were the case. So I would suggest that Social Security should be allowed to fully move its Northeast Philadelphia Branch Headuarters into that building, and once they’re fully moved into it, at that point bring out the wrecking ball and demolish the whole thing to the ground.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Regal UA Midway on Dec 17, 2005 at 3:36 am

I would be more apt to say that it was one of the rare few times that Reagan MERELY played a bad guy. And when I saw the film, which was after he had been president, I remember thinking as I watched him that he must have been thinking to himself while he was making this movie, “I wonder what luck I’d have if I tried becoming this character for real?” Alas, he should’ve stuck to “Bedtime for Bonzo”…!

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Dec 17, 2005 at 12:46 am

Happy to oblige, and looking forward to your comments and the picture!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Penypak Theatre on Dec 16, 2005 at 4:16 am

Er actually it’s to be a Cold Stone Creamery, hdtv. And you don’t think I sort of fully knew that when I posted that commentary?

Now as for photographs of what the theater looked like before, its original facade in this case, the only one I’ve been able to find so far was at some Philadelphia architectural website which I lost track of the URL address for. The photo is very tiny, in black & white, and other than its having a totally different marquee, it looks not all that different from what it does today. Upper portion-wise at least. What is important to me about this building architecturally has far more to do with its “function” rather than “form” aspect. Function-wise it’s laid out very very well, and could easily be updated to be very very modern inside. It’s front lobby portion is quite sizeable and could be reworked so that patrons could stand inside there when awaiting to buy tickets rather than out at curbside — just as how lobbies are with banks, four star hotels and so on. And its auditorium portion, which is quite huge, is such that it could be reworked to have far less seats than it did originally, and spread out and stadium style at that. And it allows enough room to introduce both a crying room and a smokers viewing area.

And then there’s the very sizeable stage house the theater has in back. It’s such that when a totally new Cinerama style wide-screen is put in it could be retractable up into the stage house’s upper loft portion to allow for the stage to be used for live performances as well. I mean, the potential for this theater building to be made 21st century style state-of-the-art is tremendous. And that much of it which William Harold Lee gave our Holmesburg community has not been lost. And the theater even has a parking area it didn’t have originally. Though it’s not real huge, it could be reworked so as to provide specially reserved valet style parking. So in terms of it being made a classy theater, it is just ripe for it.

At this moment the building is being restored by the Highland Development Group of Elkins Park to become what I said in my comment earlier, and that’s pretty much the best we can hope for for now until we can convince Hollywood to get behind restoring it to a movie theater once more. And it wouldn’t be a case of Hollywood’s getting behind restoring this building as a theater as an act of charity, mind you, but rather, in full recognition of its tremendous money-making potential, and in terms of creating the perfect prototype of the neighborhood theater of the future. For its location is very good, plus it does have that special aura of having been laid out originally by W.H. Lee. And in the very community where actress Ethel Barrymore spent her girlhood and had attended private school.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Dec 15, 2005 at 12:46 am


Just type your comments in the “Comment*” box below and when you do be sure to include a link to a website containing the photograph you’d like everyone to see.

When you get done, press “Submit” and there ya go!

TheaterBuff1 commented about (Movie) Houses of God on Dec 14, 2005 at 1:18 am

At this moment I have to fully agree with you, I see no other choice……yet. But I’m a strong believer in the “we the people” concept, and what it is the people ultimately want.

I know that here in Philadelphia, PA where I reside, back when Beatlemania first broke, all the powers-that-be that dominated the Philadelphia airwaves had very much had their minds fully made up that Bobby Vinton was to be the new hot teen idol, so sorry Beatles, but that was just the way it was to be. But boy, were those who dominated the Philadelphia music industry at that time — keeping in mind that Philadelphia was at the vanguard of the rock & roll scene (ABC’s “American Bandstand” was being broadcasting from here) — in for one rude awakening!!! As Bobby Vinton puts it today as he looks back, it was like a freight train coming through. In brief, “we the people” spoke.

“We the people” doesn’t raise its voice very often. But when it does, there are no forces in Hollywood, or government, or any other oligarchy we can think of that’s going to tell “we the people” no and make that no stick.

And it’s interesting you should mention “antitrust legislation,” for in a sense the Beatles were in full violation of this in that they both wrote and performed their own material. And they later expanded on this even further when they created Apple Corp so as to have full control over the recording process as well. So why would the idea of Hollywood owning theaters be any different? Keep in mind that legislation is not written in stone. And that this is America, not a dictatorship. Our laws are flexible. We put Prohibition in place for a time, and we later got rid of it. And that’s what makes America so great is that we can change our legislation when it proves bad. And I see no conflict of interest whatsoever, or anything that can be described as “monopolistically unfair,” when movie studios are able to have ownership and control over theaters as well. Rather, right now what I’m seeing is conflict of interest and monopolistically unfair. For if I’m a Hollywood director, I want audiences to see my work at its absolute best. And if the only way I can do that is by owning the theater so as to be able to control that end of things, but the government is saying no, I can’t, due to antitrust whatever, then let it be said that my First Amendment right is being violated.

So often nowadays we tend to forget that the U.S. Constitution is the highest set of laws we have. And that any lower court rulings that conflict or interfere with it are invalid. Meaning that today, this very minute, the Hollywood studios could start buying up theaters if they wanted to, and all antitrust legislation be damned.

For looking to the other side of the equation, the “we the people” side, how many everyday Ameicans do you know right now who are saying, “No, we don’t want well-run single screen theaters back in our neighborhoods again”? Right now, in addition to this Cinema Treasures website, there’s many more where people can also sing praises of the classic theaters of yore. But how many websites are you aware of where Americans rant and rave about how much they hate the old style theater? And furthermore, staying on the topic of this particular Cinema Treasures' web page, how many Americans do you know of who are saying, “Oh thank God they old movie palace everyone used to love so much is now a church”?

For what I’m saying is that we have to focus on what it is that we the people want once more. And what I’m hearing right now, and with a voice getting louder with every passing day, is that we the people want to have the great movie theaters back again. This is not to say we don’t want houses of worship around, mind you, as that’s protected by the First Amendment, too. And nobody’s disputing that. But if it takes trashing the antitrust legislation you refer to to get great theaters back in top form once again, I say why not? And let it be like a freight train coming through if need be.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Gas vs Oil For Heating A Movie Theater??? on Dec 13, 2005 at 5:07 am

According to my own research on this topic, both oil and gas heating systems should be ruled out completely at this stage and all favoritism shown toward geothermal on the road ahead — which provides both for heating and cooling. And the beauty of geothermal is that not only is it fully environmentally friendly, but, even though it might be costlier to initially install than oil or gas heating systems, it is for the most part a onetime expense only. Routine maintenance check-ups every few years thereafter is all. For geothermal energy itself is totally free. So if you’re getting ready to install a new heating system in your theater, forget about gas and oil and just go with geothermal, and you, and your patrons, will be happy thereafter, not to mention your theater promoting a cleaner and healthier and much less expensive energy future!

TheaterBuff1 commented about AED Globe Theatre on Dec 11, 2005 at 4:51 am

When you study another of architect John J. McNamara’s creations, the late Beekman Theatre in upper Manhattan, NY, and see how remarkably brilliant that design was, the Loews Embassy, which he also designed, really needs to have a second serious look. I’d love to be able to see some photos so as to judge for myself. So if anyone has any, it would be greatly appreciated if they could be posted here. Thanks!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Parkway Theatre on Dec 11, 2005 at 4:42 am

Er, today it’s a funeral home/restaurant? Is this a case of life imitating art, ala “Soylent Green”?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Beekman Theatre on Dec 11, 2005 at 2:46 am

So the quest to treat cancer strikes again as the big excuse why things people clearly love must be gotten rid of. And to the point in some cases that the Constitution of the United States is getting cast aside and fully trashed in the process. So in New York City it’s the Beekman Theatre that got targeted. And here in Philadelphia, PA, where I reside, for the past year and a half the Fox Chase Cancer Center has been trying its damndest to bring down historic and much loved Burholme Park just adjacent to it in its claim that it must expand and can only do so at its current location. Which, of course, is a total crock. So going by how cancer treatment was successfully used to bring down the Beekman, I’d say we’re seeing a most definite pattern going on here. Alas, I only wish I had learned about the Beekman Theatre sooner, so that I could’ve joined you all in the campaign to help save it.

I’m currently involved in a struggle to restore an historic theater here in Philly, and if the effort ever does prove successful, I’m seeing all kinds of things in the Beekman Theatre’s design that could be incorporated into this theater here, and that I feel this theater’s designer, William Harold Lee, would’ve fully approved of. For the design of the Beekman was brilliant, it truly was! Every aspect of it screamed class, and what the heck is wrong with a little class I ask!?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Beekman Theatre on Dec 10, 2005 at 4:53 am

As I look at every one of the many photos you’ve posted, seeing this theater’s design from so many different angles, it just breathes this intelligence through and through — clearly the work of a master hand. Almost superhuman in its utter perfection. The design seems to be such, that even if you tried, you couldn’t get a photograph of it in a way that would make it look bad, this being the very thing I look for in architecture, and which is oh so rare! So something went terribly wrong when whoever it was decided to tear this priceless gem down. As theaters go, it is a perfect gestalt, everything balanced so perfectly. And though parts might be salvaged, the point of its all having been a perfect gestalt will be lost. So of its demolishers, forgive them Father, they knoweth not what they do. For this was a theater that a hundred years from now, three-hundred years from now, would still be classifiable as “contemporary.” So what is going on!? Anyone have the foggiest idea?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Penypak Theatre on Dec 10, 2005 at 2:21 am

The latest update on the Holme/Pennypack Theatre building, as per an article that appeared in the Northeast Times on Dec. 1, 2005, is that it will be re-opened in Feb. 2006 as “The Holmesburg Plaza.” As such, it will include a Dollar Tree Store, Pizza Hut Express, Stone Cold Crematory and possibly a laundromat, the last not fully clear yet. Highland Development Group, based in Elkins Park, is who’s doing the conversion.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Dec 10, 2005 at 1:45 am

Meantime, to you, Eddie, if you like being subjected to commercials while you’re at the movie theater, that’s fine, and the AMC Orleans 8 from the sounds of things is custom made for you. And it would indeed be a dictatorship we’re living under if you didn’t have that free choice. At the same time it still comes down to its being a dictatorship we’re living under if we have no choice other than that. And most people I feel quite certain prefer not seeing commercials when at the movies. But there’s no way of knowing that for sure right now with the AMC Orleans 8 being the only theater right in this area at the moment. And this not being the result of free enterprise or laissez faire from what I can see, or even deregulation for that matter, but through deliberate government action blocking that which is far better from coming to the surface. And my argument is, take that dictatorial governmental activity away, and the AMC Orleans 8 the way it’s now being run wouldn’t last another day.

So all told, it’s hard to believe, surreal actually, that Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where this theater is located, is where this country’s liberty once was born. For it’s hardly a free city now, when thousands upon thousands of Northeast Philadelphians have to choose between that crappily run theater or nothing when they’d just like to be able to go out and take in a nice movie nearby once in a while. and that’s the only monstrosity they can look to around here for such. And it really really is starting to get very embarrassing!

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Dec 10, 2005 at 12:58 am

In reply to Eddie Jacobs, I couldn’t have put it better than Gabby just did. Thanks, Gabby!

TheaterBuff1 commented about (Movie) Houses of God on Dec 9, 2005 at 3:10 am

In a “Schindler’s List” sort of way, I agree that it’s far better that a classic movie theater be converted to some other use for a time temporarily, such as a house of worship, than be chopped up, left to rot, demolished or turned to some other use that doesn’t involve a stage and an audience. And once in a blue moon, there do seem to be cases where buildings that didn’t start out as theaters — the State Theatre in Easton, PA being one excellent example — that work out so well as theaters that it’s hard if not impossible to imagine how they could’ve ever been anything else. And so, too, would this be true, I suppose, of buildings that started out as churches, but as churches go were never really best designed to serve in this way. Meantime, the fact that some theaters of the past became porno houses for a time I now find to be so hilarious, that classic one they showed in “Taxi Driver” being one excellent example. Alas, the ridiculous ‘70s. And all through the '60s they called them “art houses” in response to a totally misinterpreted Supreme Court ruling. So thank God home video finally came along to kill off that trend. For even for those who were into porno, such as Travis Bickle, classic theaters misused in that way never really worked out, as he abruptly found out the hard way.

As for which way things are heading in now, it seems that even the most staunchly religious would like to see classic movie theaters that for a time were put to other use become movie theaters again rather than churches if among the movies they show are such fare as “The Passion of the Christ” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.” To which I say, why not?

Over all, the trend towards well-run movie theaters — particularly restoring classic old movie theaters to again serve as such — appears to be very hot right now, but with Hollywood seemingly being the last to get it. And so some classic theaters are being forced to suffice as churches for a time until Hollywood finally wakes up to this it seems. And when Hollywood does finally wake up to it. I hope those churches that have made camp in the classic theaters won’t put up too much a fuss when told the temporary role they served is no longer needed.

TheaterBuff1 commented about (Movie) Houses of God on Dec 8, 2005 at 4:43 am

In my own experience, I felt far more inspired to “get with God” by seeing such films as “The Robe,” “King of Kings,” “The 10 Commandments,” “Ben Hur” and so on in regular movie theaters than I ever did by attending any church, the only possible exception being the sizeable Youth for Christ Auditorium in Kansas City, Kansas (where I went to every Saturday night in my youth). And that, of course, wasn’t a converted over movie theater, but designed specifically for that purpose. So for any movie theater to be converted into a house of worship really falls short in my opinion if “bringing people back to God” is the ultimate objective. For movie theaters themselves are designed specifically to be movie theaters, and from my viewpoint that is exactly what they should be, not a laundromat, shopping mall, church or any of the other obnoxious things they’ve been converted to. Let the movie theaters be movie theaters I say! And the houses of worship be only that specically designed for that.