Comments from TheaterBuff1

Showing 51 - 75 of 693 comments

TheaterBuff1 commented about Digital cinema widebreak on May 29, 2008 at 3:22 am

Simple logic tells us that motion pictures shot on film and then transferred to digital for editing, when transferred back to film following this editing process cannot be superior to digital. Your argument, however, seems to be — and please correct me if I’m misunderstanding you — that film PROJECTION is still much further along than digital projection is. And if that’s what you’re saying, it is a valid point to consider. For a theater does have to think what makes for a better projected image.

Most theatergoers when they go to a theater to see a movie, they are not looking to be part of an experiment. And at the same time, from the theater operator’s perspective, if the experiment fails, not only could it result in customers demanding their money back, but could cost that theater’s good reputation. And that’s a big risk to expect any theater operator to take.

I’m currently involved in launching a project that hopefully will include its own in-house movie theater. What it is is a seaside hotel operation where every aspect is experimental and that is specifically geared to guests who are either creatively-minded in their own right, or that would like to partake in the influencing of new products (as well as new services) prior to their being mass-marketed. If while staying at this seaside operation they don’t like what they experience, they understand that that’s all part of the creative process taking place.

Needless to say, the average everyday consumer is simply not cut out for this. They want everything to be just right, and if it isn’t they want their money back. Such consumers are looking for the finished product. And that’s understandable. But what I’m looking to market to is a specialized clientele, as I say, those who are either creative-minded in their own right, or who would like to partake in the creativity process of others. And with such an operation, if it is also to get a movie theater, and that I am very much pushing for, I will indeed be calling much of the shots. And so, too, will be the guests, as I say, to be a specialized clientele.

For right now I don’t understand how companies trying to launch new technologies are able to make much progress without the existence of operations such as I’m proposing. In our case, when somebody has a new product that they can’t get a conventional consumer business to take an interest in — too risky — bring it to us, as it’s just what we’re here for, the riskier the better. Your thoughts on this?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Broadway Theatre on May 29, 2008 at 12:27 am


“The greatest way to ensure classic theaters such as these don’t encounter the wrecking ball is to make sure the movies they present are in alignment with what the community surrounding them is feeling in general and most would like to see. Too often recently the type of movies Hollywood has been turning out are not particularly attuned to what the current mood of the people happens to be, with rare few exceptions — such as James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’ several years back, and Michael Moore’s ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ released just last year. But at the same time it’s not only all up to Hollywood to determine what is best, but it’s also important that community theaters themselves establish a strong rapport with those in the community and base what they present on that rather than indifferently show whatever Hollywood sends their way. Just as filmmaking is an art form that requires getting a deeper understanding of what audiences want to see so as to be successful, so, too, is this true of running successful movie theaters.”

Originally posted by me at this webpage on Oct 25, 2005 at 7:54pm

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on May 28, 2008 at 1:52 am

I agree with all you’ve said as I’m sure many others do as well. But that said, I don’t think you understand how at the present time this city where the Boyd movie palace is located is at war, or that is to say, the suburban communities outside it, which have formed a formidable megalopolis, are at war with it. Study such things as the current way in which the Pennsylvania Convention Center is expanding, violating agreements left and right in the process, the way the two casinos proposed for Philadelphia have been planned out (look at how the tax relief from it has been rigged to solely favor the suburbs at Philadelphia’s expense), the sabotage of the East Coast Greenway that originally was going to come through Philadelphia to run alongside the city’s Delaware River waterfront but then mysteriously got scrapped, the 100% illegal expansion of the Fox Chase Cancer Center onto historic Burholme Park up in Philadelphia’s northeast section, destroying the historic, well-loved park in the process, and no matter the huge public outcry that was against it, and so forth and so on and so forth, and you’ll see how ALL these assaults on Philadelphia are originating from outside the city in its suburbs.

Though we began to see early signs of such assaults while Ed Rendell was still the mayor of Philadelphia, they greatly stepped up after he went from being the city’s mayor to being the state’s governor. And as for Philadelphia’s current mayor, Michael Nutter, if you study him closely you’ll see how he fully ignores anything Philadelphia has to tell him and only listens to the suburbs. The only exception so far has been with regard to his handling of the two proposed casinos. But even there it’s obvious he’s muscling for the right sell-out-Philadelphia deal, nothing more.

As for nefarious forces out in Philadelphia’s suburbs making such assaults, look very closely at who they are. They are extremely crooked people who became very wealthy and likewise politically influential through the full sacrifice and misdevelopment of all the rich farmland that once existed all throughout there. And now they’re to the point of calling all shots, even to the degree that the U.S. Constitution, which was created in this city (1787), doesn’t even mean anything anymore, other than one big “yeah, yeah, yeah, now get the hell out of the way and let us reshape the city to our liking completely.”

And the challenge is to bring the Boyd back to life against that backdrop. That is, are you starting to get the picture now? Anything more you need to be brought up to date on?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Save The Boyd Rally Coverage on May 25, 2008 at 3:08 am

I, and I’m sure others would as well, would like to see the full written transcript of the Fox29 news report on the Boyd that aired on the night of Thursday, May 22, 2008, while meantime let me, too, say thank you to Cinema Treasures for its steadfast coverage on this!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on May 25, 2008 at 12:58 am

4Hope, regarding your search for a theater that has a recording studio connected to it, please get in touch with me via private e-mail — — as I have a pending project that might be of great interest to you.

Meantime, regarding the Boyd, if a convincing case can be made that the city of Philadelphia is on solid ground, there are no doubt many many parties who will show a strong interest in it. It is in a great location, after all, in terms of becoming a destination operation. And to be sure, they don’t build theaters like the Boyd anymore. I myself cannot think the term “movie palace” without the Boyd instantly coming to mind. But how much will is there on the part of Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter and Pennsylvania’s Governor Rendell to do what it takes to convince potentially interested parties that Philadelphia is on solid ground? Right now it does not appear they have any will in that direction at all, while let it be said there’s an awful lot of things they would have to reverse to make that case. And right now I don’t see any willingness on their part to do that. And that to me is the number one thing making the Boyd Theatre such a tough sell.

TheaterBuff1 commented about GCC Northeast 4 on May 24, 2008 at 1:54 am

Eddie Jacobs, if you can make sense of the current politics governing Northeast Philadelphia, enough so as to bypass its corruption, raising the money needed to restore that available space as a neighborhood theater once more shouldn’t be a problem. Er, unless in addition to that money you’d also have to come up with other money to pay off certain shady people regularly, in which case no matter how much money you raise would be sufficient. But if you know how to cut through all that crap, you certainly would grab the market of what right now is a huge void — most especially now that the AMC Orleans is [ahem] gone.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on May 24, 2008 at 1:22 am

4Hope, right now from what I can determine, though not a single word is currently being said about it, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts located at Broad and Cherry Streets — which at one time I suggested would make for a great entity for taking over and restoring the Boyd — is directly in the firing line of what great Philadelphia thing is to go next. The Academy of Fine Arts is directly across the street from the in-the-process-of-expanding Pennsylvania Convention Center, or directly in its sights, I should say, and I kind of sensed this was coming on when I visited the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts' beautiful gallery — designed by Frank Furness — back in February of this year, which was right at the same time those historic buildings almost directly across the street from the Academy were getting torn down, even though an “agreement” was made that that wouldn’t happen. Historic Philadelphia at the present time is dealing with an enemy that cannot be trusted, that cannot be taken at its word, and that will stop at nothing to destroy all that shows it up for what it really is. I don’t know if you’ve been to see the Pennsylvania Convention Center yet or not, but it is really one of the worst, most awfullest new buildings I have ever seen. But of course I would see it that way when I’m seeing it in contrast to some of Philadelphia’s finest architecture. As in, do you understand where this enemy coming at historic Philadelphia is coming from now? If it can, it will bring down everything that Philadelphia can rightfully claim as a thing of beauty and that shows up the opposition for what it really is. And right now in that regard it is on a super roll. With it already having claimed Burholme Park, Eden Hall and so on, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts next on the list to go from what I can determine. That’s what that whole thing about that section of north Broad Street currently being blocked off is all about from what I can surmise. Take a look for yourself. Here’s the map that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer for Friday, May 23, 2008:
View link

TheaterBuff1 commented about Avalon Theatre on May 24, 2008 at 12:15 am

Given how the average movie length is 90 minutes, if a vacation is planned out right, what does it take to squeeze that 90 minutes into the course of a day? That is, if the resort that one goes to vacation at is planned out right. Isn’t the ideal vacation one where you get to spend quality time getting back with nature each day but it’s also such that you get to take in a great movie in a great theater each day? That just seems like such a great combination to me, provided the movies in question are excellent to great, and the theater in question is along the same lines as the Avalon Theater on Catalina Island, California.

TheaterBuff1 commented about $35 tickets for luxury movie theater on May 23, 2008 at 1:47 am

Just to update you, Eve, the U.S. really doesn’t have a middle class right now, at least not in the real sense. For our economy is much different than yours is at the present time, though that wasn’t always the case. In order to have a middle class you have to have fair laws that are strictly enforced, that is, laws regarding fair housing, fairness in employment, actual rather than rigged elections, taxation WITH representation as opposed to taxation without, and all that. And to have a middle class, you also cannot have a case where all things vital for a nation’s sustenance have been outsourced to foreign countries, in turn creating an extremely wealthy but very small upper class, and an extremely impoverished while at the same time massive in size lower class, which is what the United States has right now. Between the two, there really is no middle class in the United States at the present time, only those who heavily rely on credit so as to appear to be this. We lost our actual middle class quite some time ago, starting as far back as when TV’s Leave It To Beaver went off the air, in fact. That is, when that show was all new.

So anyway, I just wanted to bring you up to date on that. With that, back to what you were saying?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Reminder: Rally In Support of Boyd Theatre Today! on May 23, 2008 at 1:00 am

I’m happy to report from Philadelphia that the rally to save the Boyd May 22, 2008 got an enormous turnout as well as very good media coverage all around. But given the current state of politics great caution must be used in being too smug about that, as the Boyd’s future is up against foes who are not phased by such things in the least. According to the Fox news report that aired in Philadelphia, many believe the sizeable Kimmel Center — an enormous live performance venue located not far from the Boyd — and which is heavily connected with Pennsylvania’s current Governor Ed Rendell, is pushing very hard to get the Boyd demolished to eliminate any possible competition from it. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that or not, while the Kimmel Center spokespeople fully deny it.

I have argued for a long time though that if the Boyd were to seek to be other than a movie palace — which is the one thing that Philadelphia does not have at all right now — it would come into steep competition with all of Philadelphia’s many live performance venues at the present time, not just the Kimmel, but also the all new Suzanne Roberts Theatre, the Academy of Music, the Merriam Theater, the Wachovia Center, the Tower Theater and so forth and so on. On the other hand, if it were to distinguish itself from these live performance venues by strictly returning to being a world class movie palace, that is, a place where ONLY movies are presented, it would target an audience other than that which the live performance venues so heavily rely on.

Add to this that to date Philadelphia has no digital cinema theaters at all, while I’ve been arguing for the longest time now that the Boyd should be the first to go this direction, and in the Boyd’s case, one that combines digital cinema technology with Cinerama.

But that said, I don’t think that anybody could fault me for saying that Philadelphia is under the governance of some of the worst politicians in the world right now. And that, sadly, is an unavoidable factor here in Philadelphia right now. And one which those wanting to save the Boyd cannot overlook. In the truest sense, as reluctant as I am to say it, we are at war. For certainly it’s war when all elections are rigged, and “law” is only the mindless whims and prejudices of those who govern and whatever great forces of evil who obviously are behind them.

In light of that, God save the Boyd!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on May 22, 2008 at 11:37 pm

4Hope, when we’re talking about a movie palace like the Boyd, cost is not really relevant. For instance, if we were talking about Philadelphia’s Independence Hall being in danger of facing the wrecking ball due to bad politics, bad economic decision-making, etc., and you thought in terms of how much does Independence Hall cost in efforts to save it, people would look at you funny — or at least I hope they would — as that’s really not a moot point in a case such as this. What is now coming under attack in Philadelphia are things that are way over the line in terms of humanity’s continued existence. In this regard, though I consider it highly important, the Boyd Theatre is not the biggest story; the biggest story is Philadelphia’s Burholme Park, currently in the process of getting slaughtered, but not getting reported on ay all due to Philadelphia’s really bad politics. Burholme Park is an international story, but is not getting reported on at all right now, not even at the most local level. That doesn’t mean what’s happening with the Boyd isn’t important, for it is. It’s all part of the same war, so to speak.

Meantime, this is very unusual; I’ve never seen her do this before. Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic Inga Saffron wrote a second article for the Philadelphia Inquirer that appeared in it today (May 22, 2008) regarding the Boyd, that is, her writing two articles on the same topic in a period of less than three days. Because of its much longer length I won’t print it here, but here’s the link for it:

View link

TheaterBuff1 commented about BREAKING NEWS: Boyd Named One of America's Most Endangered / Rally This Thursday, May 22 @ 11:30am on May 22, 2008 at 12:52 am

Philadelphia is going through extremely tough times right now when it comes to any sort of historic preservation. And it’s now to the point that you could accurately call what’s happening here war. For all kinds of laws are being broken to carry on this tremendous historic onslaught, ranging from the U.S. Constitution on down to the city of Philadelphia’s Home Rule Charter, by city and state government officials. And it’s gotten to the point that one has to wonder if “treason” is even still a word anymore. Hard to believe this is happening in what happens to be the most historic city in the U.S. Or — as this pattern continues — at least it was.

With each new onslaught, and the casualty list has now gotten quite long — with Northeast Philadelphia’s historic Burholme Park currently in the process of being slaughtered — it is wondered which one will finally mark the turning point for the better. Burholme Park, for those of you who don’t know, is the highest point in Northeast Philadelphia overlooking Center City, and is where Union troops had stationed back when it became known the Confederate Army was planning to attack Pennsylvania but it wasn’t known where they were planning to strike. With Burholme Park playing a major role in protecting Philadelphia, the Confederates attacked York and Gettysburg instead. Sadly, Philadelphia is not so lucky this time.

And with so much having been lost already, and with Burholme Park currently in the process of being lost — and 100% ILLEGALLY, please note — it’s now come down to the Boyd. Will the Boyd be the turning point we’re looking for? For historic Valley Forge Battlefield just outside the city at this moment is being groomed for a big attack, and there’s not even so much as a whimper there.

Still, it is hoped that the May 22, 2008 rally to be held in front of the Boyd will be the “Finest Hour” moment that Philadelphia so badly needs right now. I sure hope so! Stay tuned…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on May 21, 2008 at 11:57 pm

4Hope, the city’s usual policy when it comes to endangered historic properties is to rush in and tear them down as quickly as possible before any possible alternative solutions can be found. You wouldn’t think would be the case in the most historic city in the nation, but, welcome to Philadelphia. I will say, though, that on that front the city is very innovative, and will not allow itself to be a no-can-do type of place when it comes to doing the wrong thing. Last year, for instance, up in the northeast part of the city where I live, we had an historic chapel that had been designed by 19th century world renowned British architect Frank Wils and had been built in 1859. Called Eden Hall, it had been the centerpiece of Northeast Philadelphia’s Fluehr Park. You can see excellent photos of it at this link:

Its one saving grace as residents and historians scrambled to try to find ways to save it following a suspicious arson was that Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park officials, who have jurisdiction over that park, said they didn’t have the funds needed to demolish it. Interesting to note, and as the photos at that link should attest to, even following the arson it still remained a building of tremendous beauty, and its brownstone walls held very solid. But when word got back to Philadelphia’s politicians that there wasn’t the money needed to tear it down, and that such delay could — horrors! — result in residents and historians coming up with a way to save and restore it, they would not stand for it, and made sure to come forth with the money needed to tear it down as quickly as possible. For Philadelphia government is a master at delivering when it comes to doing the wrong thing, and let it not be said otherwise. When it comes to that, those stooges are the absolute best. And it’s very proud of this outstanding record it holds. Soooo, maybe that answers your question?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on May 21, 2008 at 1:19 am

And here’s a link to the small photo that went hand-in-hand with her article, showing the Boyd’s grand Art Deco interior from balcony level:

View link

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on May 21, 2008 at 1:04 am

The rally hasn’t happened yet but will be on Thursday, May 22, 2008, starting at 11:30 A.M. Meantime, here is the article by Pulitzer prize winning architectural critic Inga Saffron that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer for Tuesday, May 20, 2008:

Boyd Theater makes endangered list

By Inga Saffron

Inquirer Architecture Critic
With the celebrated Boyd Theater once again for sale, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has placed the art deco movie palace on its annual list of the 11 most endangered historic sites in America.

The sad, yet coveted, designation comes at a low moment for the shuttered 2,350-seat Chestnut Street theater, also known as the Sameric before closing in 2002. Only three years ago, Live Nation, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, bought the run-down Boyd with the intention of turning it into a sumptuous venue for music shows. But the company, which has been consolidating operations, decided to get out of that business and put the property back on the market.

Live Nation has invited interested parties to submit bids by Friday. But there is no guarantee that a buyer would be committed to restoring the ornate interior for live theater performances or film. The building at 1908 Chestnut St., which was constructed in 1928 and is the last intact movie palace left in Center City, does not have historic protection in Philadelphia because of its entanglement in a legal battle dating from the 1980s.

That’s why the National Trust decided to single out the Boyd this year, trust president Richard Moe said, along with such other threatened locales as New Orleans' Charity Hospital and Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood.

“The nomination helps bring real attention to these sites, both locally and nationally,” Moe explained. “We hope it will bring the theater to the attention of a potential developer.”

When Live Nation acquired the Boyd from Goldenberg Group in 2003 for roughly $13 million, the company was seen as the theater’s savior.

It promised to invest about $17 million to expand the small stage for live shows and to buff up its elaborate art deco detailing, which includes a series of etched mirrors and murals depicting the history of women, and an intact marquee and ticket kiosk, all designed by the noted theater architects Hoffman & Henon.

But costs escalated, and public support from the city and state never materialized.

Live Nation did manage to stabilize the building, sealing it from water infiltration, and obtained rights to an adjacent parking lot before giving up on the project, said Adrian Scott Fine, the trust’s Philadelphia-based program officer and a member of Friends of the Boyd, a nonprofit devoted to finding a sympathetic reuse for the theater.

Fine said the group wasn’t “sure what to expect” from potential buyers. Although Friends of the Boyd have been contacted for information by several preservation-minded investors, it’s not clear that they will be able to put together a winning bid.

“It’s a highly challenging building,” Fine acknowledged. “It’s why we lobbied to have it listed. More than ever, the Boyd is at a crossroads.”

One factor that might help the Boyd is a no-competition clause in Live Nation’s sale invitation. It precludes the future owner from converting the theater into a venue for rock concerts, a business Live Nation still pursues.

At the same time, the clause could encourage some buyers to eye the site for a high-rise and retail development. Last year, the Irish firm Castleway Developments paid $36.7 million to acquire the parcel immediately to the south, on the 1900 block of Walnut Street, for a proposed luxury condo and hotel development on Rittenhouse Square.

In the hope of drumming up support for preservation, Friends of the Boyd plan a rally in front of the theater from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, said Howard Haas, the group’s president.

The Boyd’s expansive auditorium, with its curving balcony, is considered too large for today’s movie industry, which prefers to market films to niche audiences. Three small screening rooms that were once part of the Boyd have already been turned into shops.

As a live theater, the Boyd would have to compete with the state-supported powerhouses along Broad Street’s Avenue of the Arts, including the Academy of Music and the Kimmel Center.

Still, cities around the country have found creative strategies to preserve their historic movie palaces. In New York, AMC Entertainment Inc. moved the historic Empire Theater 168 feet down 42d Street, then built a 25-screen multiplex onto the top of the façade.

The National Trust’s Moe said he remained optimistic about the Boyd, noting that of the roughly 200 places listed by the trust in the last 20 years, only seven have been lost.

The Boyd was chosen for this year’s list from among 100 nominees. Among the other endangered properties listed are: California’s state parks; the Great Falls Portage on the Lewis and Clark trail in Montana; Hangar One at Moffett Field in Santa Clara County, Calif.; Chicago’s Michigan Avenue streetwall; Buffalo’s Peace Bridge neighborhood; Dallas' Statler Hilton Hotel; Sumner Elementary School in Topeka, Kan.; and the Vizcaya and the Bonnet House in Florida.

Contact architecture critic Inga Saffron at 215-854-2213 or

TheaterBuff1 commented about GCC Northeast 4 on May 21, 2008 at 1:00 am

Eddie Jacobs, are we to understand that you might have interests in acquiring that available space that was part of the GCC Northeast and remake it a movie theater once more? If so, I think that’s great news, and I wish you all the best with you’re endeavor! Let us know how it progresses!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on May 20, 2008 at 2:24 am

DennisZ, if the laws on the books were upheld as they’re meant to be upheld, not only could the Boyd be brought back to life in no time, but it would’ve never shut down in the first place. And that’s the big problem in much of Philadelphia right now. A long list of laws are not being enforced as they’re meant to be.

While admittedly some laws are very tricky to understand (you should see how the city worded two Charter change questions on the recent Primary ballot, for example), others are in plain English, they could not possibly be clearer. They do not require any special Supreme Court interpretation or what have you. But if you’re living in a city where all local elections now appear to be fully rigged, where the total basis for Philadelphia’s entire economy is totally questionable, where facts gets reduced to “mere opinions” when any fact contradicts what the powers-that-be want to believe and impose, laws that are perfectly clear do not seem to mean very much, if anything at all.

To run the Boyd the right way, it should not have to call for any special political connections and illegal payoffs to this or that shady entity so long as there’s an assured market for it and it plans to operate in accordance with actual laws. But if anybody tries to go in that direction in Philadelphia at the present time they can expect to be told — or ordered, I should say — “That’s not the way we do things around here.” We have something here in Philadelphia at the present time called “councilmanic prerogative,” which states that no city councilperson can go against another when matters are voted on collectively by Philadelphia’s City Council. This “rule” is not in the city’s Charter anywhere, it has no U.S. Constitutional or State Constitutional support, it’s not even a law at all. But as such, it’s being allowed to override all existing laws, from the U.S. Constitution on down to Philadelphia’s Home Rule Charter. And it’s not a “rule” that the people of Philadelphia have a right to vote to abolish. Besides, even if they did, with the way that the Philadelphia elections are clearly rigged, it wouldn’t do any good anyhow. In case you don’t know, we’re using the Diebold electronic voting machines here. Banned in many states because they’ve not been developed to the point of being tamper free, in Philadelphia they are just par for the course. Add to this that if anyone sidesteps them by voting by absentee or provisional ballot, paper ballots such as that get “handled” by the incumbent politicians who are running in the elections. And if these paper ballots are “filled out incorrectly” they tend to “mysteriously disappear” right before it’s time for them to be handed over.

Is this to say that under present conditions there’s no way the Boyd can be brought back up to what it’s meant to be? No. It can be. But the present conditions are such that it cannot be done just in the framework of existing laws. It shouldn’t have to be that way. There’s absolutely no good reason why it’s that way. But it does speak to the way Philadelphia is right now.

The Boyd was at its best back when this was a legitimate city, that is, one with a legitimate economy, rather than a money laundering front, or whatever it is now. We have huge highrises in Center City at the present time and more going up with condo units starting at $1.5 million. And of those who can afford this, it’s one of those situations where nobody knows — and nobody’s telling — where the kind of money that can afford those types of prices is coming from. Rather, the outlook is one of, “There’s no need for us to know.” That said, I still hope the best for this coming Thursday’s Save the Boyd rally. But beyond that, and even if it does result in the Boyd getting saved, this city has a lot of work that needs to be done beyond just that. And I see absolutely no signs right now that that work is getting done.

TheaterBuff1 commented about My movie memories of summer 1978 on May 19, 2008 at 5:32 am

The two standout movies I remember seeing in theaters that year were SUPERMAN and ANIMAL HOUSE, though I’m sure there were countless others I saw as well. At that time movie theaters were such a solid thing in our lives, as much as the air we breathe itself, and who knew that this wouldn’t always be? In that era there was always the great array of theaters to choose from, and we attended them regularly just as a matter of habit. Think of things we think of today in that same way and imagine those things come tomorrow all suddenly gone. And with no one asking us first, their just going ahead and deciding this for us that those things should no longer be. To a huge extent that seems to be what happened with theaters.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on May 19, 2008 at 1:18 am

DennisZ, the glory days of the Boyd that you’re fondly remembering, and that I got a fleeting taste of in my earliest childhood years before everything was quickly changed, can only be superficially replicated in today’s economy at best because of the following reason. When the Boyd was at its height, and by that I mean very much on solid ground when it was, Philadelphia was where everything of a non-rural nature was concentrated. Though by the late 1950s there were the first phases of suburbia surrounding the city, there were not things as of yet such as super malls, megaplexes and suburban sprawl in general. There were small town movie theaters, and where I lived, Northeast Philadelphia, small neighborhood movie theaters, which served their purpose well if you just wanted to see a regular movie. But if you really wanted to see an epic in the right way, there was really only one place to go at that time, Center City Philadelphia. And when I say that I’m talking about the whole Delaware Valley region stretching from the Jersey Shore to small Pennsylvania towns as faraway as Lancaster. Downtown Philadelphia (in those days we called it “Downtown,” never “Center City”) was where ALL the big, most dynamic stuff was, whether it was Downtown Philadelphia’s movie palaces, or its department store palaces such as Wanamaker’s, Gimbel’s and Lit Brothers. But after the introduction of the interstate highway system by Dwight Eisenhower (and what a huuuuge blunder that was), and the demise of the railroads (another huuuuge mistake), and the wholesale displacement of the Delaware Valley’s abundance of farmland — said to have been some of the best in the world — with runaway development, everything just leveled off as a result of that, and this leveling off process is continuing to this day. If this economic pattern could be reversed there’s no question the Boyd could come roaring back to what it once was and then some. And maybe with the continuing to skyrocket gas prices who knows? But until that happens, other than superficially, there’s no way you could revive the Boyd to what it once was.

Now to me, over the past several years (since my joining CT in fact), I viewed the revival of Philadelphia’s movie theaters and palaces as a way of luring people back to the city once more, reversing the trend of everything going the other way. But it is very much a which should come first, which can come first, the chicken or the egg, equation. But if we’re living in a world where all homage and political reverence is shown to those in suburbia — which, by the way, is the case with Philadelphia’s current mayor, Michael Nutter — with the accompanying outlook that we here in the city “don’t know anything,” good luck trying to do anything good in the city of Philadelphia right now. As I’m sure you know, we have a very high rate of crime in Philadelphia right now. Our prisons are filling up way beyond anything they were ever designed to handle. But of course we do, given the current type of economy we have. And this high rate of crime we have spurs those who fled this city to suburbia to look back to Philadelphia in terms of moving back and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

And come on, who wants to live in a city, or come to a city, where the Philadelphia politicians don’t hear you, they only hear those out in suburbia?

To me, I miss both when Philadelphia was the greatest thing around when it came to cinema, shopping, employment and so on, and when you traveled outside the city there was glorious countryside that went on forever, and the Jersey Shore really was the shore at its wide open and free finest. Of course the Boyd did very well when it was like that. Of course it did.

But now if money’s going to come from somewhere to bring it back, it will have to come from the people who profitted immensely from transforming the Delaware Valley from the glorious way it once was laid out economically to the bland way it is now. But if that happens, be advised it will be a very superficial way of bringing the Boyd back. Interesting to note, if we locked those people up in prison — starting with Mayor Nutter — instead of the people we’re locking up now, we could greatly reduce Philadelphia’s current prison population dramatically. Hey, one can dream, can’t he?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on May 18, 2008 at 2:03 am

DennisZ, this upcoming Thursday — May 22, 2008, starting at 11:30 A.M. — they’re planning to have a huge save the Boyd rally in front of the Boyd Theatre. Speakers will include John Gallery of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania State Representative Babette Josephs, Adrian Fine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and, of course, Howard B. Haas, Esq., president of Friends of the Boyd.

Also this coming Thursday, from 5:30 PM to 7 PM, at the AIA Center for Architecture at 1218 Arch Street, Adrian Fine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Shawn Evans, AIA of Atkin Olshin Schade Architects, will present an illustrated lecture on the significance and the plight of the Boyd Theatre and place it in the context of a national preservation struggle. The lecture is free. No reservations are needed.

So if you could find a way to attend this rally and/or lecture afterwards and assert your views — which I fully agree with — I think that would be really cool!

TheaterBuff1 commented about GCC Northeast 4 on May 18, 2008 at 1:48 am

As “available space” goes, is it still a burnt out shell looking like it’s on the brink of collapse? Or did they clean it up some?

TheaterBuff1 commented about A car dealership with a movie theater? on May 14, 2008 at 1:44 am

With stand-alone movie theaters being such a political target these days, one way to ensure their continued existence is to package them in with something else, whether it be a casino, theme park, hotel or what have you. But this is certainly an all-new first! As part of an auto dealership? Who woulda ever thunk it?

A couple things disturbing about this particular case though is that I couldn’t imagine people feeling comfortable seeing movies in this theater unless they’re there to buy a car, too, and that what they get to see isn’t completely biased.

TheaterBuff1 commented about "Preserve Me a Seat" Screening in Sacramento, CA, Tonight! on May 10, 2008 at 4:19 am

Based on my own experiences and observations, the movement to save and restore single-screen movie thaters and movie palaces of yore — which really didn’t go into full swing until after the year 2000 — just happened to coincide with none other than an especially bad political timing for it. For in no way whatsoever is this movement in itself intrinsically impractical. Rather, it’s a clash in ideologies. And dare I say it, strong prejudices on the part of those who happened to be, quite unfortunately, in upper positions of political power from the year 2000 onwards. And to be sure, should Barack Obama become the next president of the U.S., this predjudice can be expected to dramatically increase further, given the role he played in the case of the DuPage, which is among the several theaters featured in this documentary. The DuPage was located in his district, while it should be clarified it was not in Chicago, but in the Chicagoan suburb of Lombard outside it. When efforts were being made to restore the DuPage but a band of thugs wanted it torn down, when Obama was called upon to intervene, which as a U.S. senator of that district he was obligated to, he totally refused, fully sharing the predjudicial views of those determined to see it demolished.

These days, though it wasn’t always the case, it is frequently overlooked that theaters are entitled to First Amendment protection, which all elected officials are sworn to enforce. This is not to guarantee that single-screen theaters and movie palaces can be operated as successful businesses, but it does indeed grant them special immunity from the wrecking ball that many other forms of businesses, and also other types of historic buildings, cannot necessarily look to as well. But that’s only when looking at things from within the framework of law. And to be sure, predjudice does not have much, if any, respect for laws.

There will, of course, come a time when the other side of the current political predjudicial trend will be reached. So in that regard, the movement to save historic cinema treasures — despite the bad political timing for it — will not have been in complete vain. This documentary for the most part is one of looking at merely the present and past, while offering no real glimpses of what the future holds. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If anything, by serving as a matter of record, aspects of it will be able to contribute to what is yet to come.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Philadelphia Mills 14 on May 10, 2008 at 1:46 am

Ken MC, with HDTV267’s help, it appears we’ve just solved the mystery of the phantom Northeast Philadelphia theater of old called the “Plaza.” The photo that ministry uses at its website isn’t located in Northeast Philadelphia at all but rather is at 1049 Ponce De Leon Avenue NE, in Atlanta, Georgia. The CT webpage for it is /theaters/4226/
And from what I can determine, it’s still in operation and appears to be doing well and still has that great marquee.

Meantime, it should be clarified the Northeast Philly theater the ministry took over isn’t the AMC Franklin Mills 14 that remains in fullscale operation today but is the former GCC Franklin Mills 10 that had been on the mall’s outskirts.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Legendary Hollywood Preservationist and Community Leader Robert Wood Nudelman passes away on May 9, 2008 at 3:25 am

My hearing his name only now, he sounds like he was one heck of a great guy, while it’s tragic to read how he left this world at such a still young age. My only becoming familiar with who he was now, already I’m greatly missing him! He sounds like he was a master of the one aspect of historic theater restoration and preservation that I find very difficult if not impossible to stomach, the political end of things. And boy, do we need people such as that now more than ever or what? At the same time it is inspiring, heartening, to read of all the great things that this man did, his proving that what we so often think is impossible can be done. May you rest in peace, Mr. Nudelman, and your legacy become one that others will surely try to emulate.