Comments from TheaterBuff1

Showing 151 - 175 of 693 comments

TheaterBuff1 commented about Five Points Theater on Feb 27, 2008 at 7:59 am

So the twinning did it in, in other words. I’ve seen that happen time and time again throughout my lifetime. For no matter how expert the twinning conversion, from a theatergoer perspective there’s just something unnerving about going to half of what had been a full theater before. So a great single screen theater gets twinned, people get turned off by it, and next thing you know it’s up for demolition. As in, hmmmm, I wonder why…?!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Threats to future of Philadelphia's Boyd and Royal theaters on Feb 21, 2008 at 7:07 am

It is truly amazing that the Boyd has remained in existence for as long as it has in light of how all of Philadelphia’s other classic movie theaters are now gone. And Howard Haas, the author of this thread, and the head of Friends of the Boyd, deserves much credit for that. After all, it was he who saved the Boyd from the wrecking ball approximately 6 years ago.

Meantime, if you were to see the Boyd you would quickly realize it has the potential to be far more than simply a local attraction. With its Art Deco magnificence combined with ideal location it stands out as a destination theater. Conveniently close to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Amtrak Station as well as to Philadelphia’s 15th Street Amtrak Station, on a dime’s notice it can easily be reached from Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., etc. And so far as Center City Philadelphia goes it’s in an especially nice area, near to Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, a sizeable and gorgeous Center City park.

So given all that it is indeed a mystery why it’s been kept on hold, boarded up for so long. For clearly it is just begging to come back to life once more. And the market for this is obviously there for it to.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 20, 2008 at 8:01 am

You’re lucky they let you scavenge those backlit celebrity photos, Jim L, because here in Pennsylvania of late, or at least here in Philadelphia where I’m currently residing, when an historic building gets condemned for demolition, no one, not even the historic societies, is permitted to scavenge anything of important historic significance or value beforehand first. It seems to be some sort of a new policy. Several weeks ago I went down to Center City Philadelphia to see those two historic buildings on north Broad Street that were getting torn down to make way for the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s expansion. When I took note of several architectural features on the buildings' front facades that I believed could be removed and made use of elsewhere, I walked over and asked a hardhat if there was any way they could be scavenged before the wrecking ball had its final say. “Nope, everything goes!” he told me flat outright, and that was it. End of conversation. It was straight to the point and very cold. But, as I say, it appears to be the new policy. At least here. Out with the old, in with the new.

As for Adventure Village, I don’t know if it was the same thing, but I rembember when commuting between Pennsylvania and Ocean City seeing an array of small Disneyland-like buildings comprising what either was a miniature golf course or small amusement park for kids, so I’m now wondering if that’s what you’re referring to. It looked really interesting, and I’m now kicking myself for never stopping there to check it out firsthand. If it was the same thing you’re referring to, perhaps my memory distorts, for what I remember looked like a tiny medieval village straight out of the Brothers Grimm. As I recall, though, the last few times I saw it it looked like it was no longer open — one of several tried-and-failed enterprises along the Black Horse Pike route. In fact, it looked that way to me as far back as I can remember, as if it was something left over from the 1950s.

Anyway, getting back to the here and now, I hear that Ocean City today is in the process of getting an all-new 9th Street causeway and that some of the movers and shakers there are predicting it will become the next big new attraction in their ever ongoing effort to displace the Ocean City seashore environment as being the main one. As in, “Forget coming to Ocean City for the beach; come see this all-new bridge we’re building!”

One thing I always loved about the STRAND is that it never tried to override the main reason why people came to Ocean City. Rather, it was always tastefully run in a way that was complementary to the shoregoing experience. On many a rainy night when we couldn’t do anything else we were always grateful for the STRAND. And looking at those images you posted, Jim L, I’m amazed how the beauty of Ocean City’s own Grace Kelly is so ongoingly timeless! Even to this day we can look at that photo of her and just say “Wow!” As for the other celebrities in the backlit photos, did they all have ties to Ocean City as well? From what I’ve heard, many used to come stay at the Flanders. If so, what a truly classy era it must’ve been!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Threats to future of Philadelphia's Boyd and Royal theaters on Feb 19, 2008 at 8:06 am

When it comes to Center City Philadelphia with its ongoingly successful real estate market, it really is a miracle that the Boyd Theatre in its boarded-up state has survived for as long as it has — approximately 6 years now. And I truly hope that 6 years won’t all have been in vain, for it is Philly’s last still-standing movie palace after all.

Out in the Midwest, specifically, Saint Louis, Missouri, two minority St. Louis businessmen — Mike and Steve Roberts — have done a truly remarkable job in bringing St. Louis' Historic American Theater back to life once more and then some. Today it’s renamed the Roberts Orpheum Theater (Orpheum being what it was called originally) — a live performance venue — and got a great mention on PBS' Nightly Business Report several weeks back. More can be learned on it by visiting its website,

The moment I saw the Roberts Orpheum Theater I instantly thought, that could be the Boyd, albeit in the Boyd’s case it would have to lean toward featuring films more, given the steep competition it would face with Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the all new Suzanne Roberts Theatre, the Academy of Music, etc., etc., etc., all within easy walking distance from there.

However, with 3-D digital cinema now starting to take hold in various theaters throughout the U.S., THAT’S what those who want to see the Boyd saved should be looking at, breakthrough technology of that nature. I have no doubt the recent Hannah Montana movie would’ve done exceptionally well there…if only it had been prepared for it by being up and running rather than all boarded up.

It should also be noted that director James Cameron (THE TITANIC) is spearheading a campaign to bring America’s movie palaces back to life once more, saying he doesn’t make films to be watched on cellphones. So with the right pitch, what would it take to get Mr. Cameron to take a special keen interest in Philadelphia’s Boyd? Not that much I wouldn’t think, given how much the Boyd, particularly once you step inside it, speaks for itself.

For after 6 long years of uncertainties, highly questionable excuses, etc., everything’s clearly come down to the wire now. No more long and mysterious delays regarding what comes next, it’s obviously make or break time at this point.

And it would be a huuuuuuge loss to Philadelphia if the Boyd failed to survive the next coming breaker.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Feb 19, 2008 at 7:01 am

I’d completely forgotten till now, but you’re absolutely right, there was a canoe scene in the first FRIDAY THE 13TH as well. And it, too, was preceded by an after-dark skinny dip scene. as I recall. Since I saw both films on cable and not at a theater, also FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART III, and it was so very long ago, it’s easy to forget a lot. So I guess it’s to the credit of the makers of the second one that all these many years later I still remember the great skinny dip scene with Norwegian beauty Kirsten Baker. And even with my not having seen it at an actual theater at that!

As for DEAD & BURIED, there were brutal scenes in it which clearly were intended to appeal to the most criminal-minded, and that was their ONLY intent. For the most part it was a snuff film through and through, with the filmmakers going all out to ensure the highest degree of medical accuracy — such as to show what it would actually look like if a person is unwillingly pinned to the floor and acid is passed through tubes shoved deep up into their nostrils. While certainly its filmmakers achieved their minor goal of horrifying some with that scene and others, their major goal of making happy the most perverse among us is what stands out most about that particular film. For rather than horrifying such people, you could see how certain audience members in the theater that night were totally feeding on it; it was their own special brand of pornography. They didn’t come to that theater to be shocked and entertainingly horrified, but rather, titilated. And totally fairly, I feel, the film’s two biggest stars — Farentino and Albertson — got harshly criticized for it. Did they know what they were signing up for when they made that film? Who knows? In Albertson’s case he passed away soon afterward, so in his case the fact that he made DEAD & BURIED could be greatly downplayed and the highpoints of his vareer played up in his obituary. Farentino wasn’t quite as lucky. Pity, too, because he had such a great career leading up to then and with a lot of shelf-life still left…only for it all to fizzle out with his being brought up on cocaine charges and arrested for stalking Tina Sinatra not long after that. And who today remembers he also did great films such as EL CID and THE PAD AND HOW TO USE IT?

Getting back to the Mayfair, I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS there back in the mid ‘60s, and I’ll always remember the calm of my friends and I as we were walking back home up Frankford Avenue right afterwards —– “calm” that is, until the most innocent looking little tiny sparrow swooped in close across our path. With our minds still back at the theater watching that film, on cue, all of us jumped back away from that tiny little bird in shear terror — only to then just as quickly catch ourselves, at which point all of us laughed, the transition of coming back from fantasy to reality….and a great tribute to the power of Hitchcock and the Mayfair Theatre combined!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Feb 18, 2008 at 6:12 am

Assuming you’re referring to FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART II, I believe the scene you’re describing is preceded by that great scene where Kirsten Baker decides to go for a bit of after-dark skinny dipping. It was very good — and tasteful — direction involved in the filming of that I have to say. But then I feel they totally ruined that great film work when suddenly stupid Jason is introduced to the scene.

Which got me to thinking…..

Going back to Mayfair and how it was in that early ‘80s era, just suppose they took that same movie, fully removed Jason and all the slasher scenes all throughout it, so that it just became a film about young people enjoying a really great stay out at Crystal Lake, and retitled the movie “Fun Times at Crystal Lake,” or whatever. How would the community standards at that time have reacted? My hunch is there would’ve been communuty outrage from here to Kingdom Come, no end to it, and the Philadelphia vice squad would’ve rushed in and shut the Mayfair Theatre down immediately.

But by its being a slasher film it was, oh, no problem; all such “promiscuity out in nature” scenes were fine just so long as you added Jason or whatever to the mix. Making it, “Nothing to get upset with, folks.” Or at least that’s how it all seems to me as I now look back. I wasn’t much around Northeast Philadelphia during those years, and it’s only dawning on me now that that was probably a major reason why.

In contrast to the slasher flicks of the ‘80s, as a child growing up in Northeast Philly, I, too, remember really loving the monster movies, quite a few which I saw at the Mayfair, Merben and so on. But they were a lot different than the '80s slasher films, for not only did they know where to draw the line when it came to showing gore, but they also didn’t try to twist around what was good and evil. Though it wasn’t exactly a slasher flick, on one of my stops back to Northeast Philadelphia during that era I saw DEAD AND BURIED (at the Tyson, I believe, or maybe it was the Crest), and the whole entire film, with its ultra-graphic scenes, was just pointlessly sick. Yet there were some really weird people in the audience that night just hanging on every scene. And I think that might’ve marked the turning point for the popularity of horror flicks in NE Philly, I’m not sure. I know that one film certainly ruined the career of its star, James Farentino, and was an embarrassing last film for Jack Albertson right before his death. But then things turned for the better. On another visit back I saw RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK at the Devon, and it was mobbed, huge long lines to see it — as if to say Northeast Philadelphia audiences were starved for great movies once more. And that was very reassuring. But then what happened to Northeast Philadelphia theaters after that I don’t know because I wasn’t around. On my next return, all the great theaters — the Mayfair most notably — were shut down…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Feb 17, 2008 at 5:17 am

Though I didn’t, my younger brother went to see PHANTASM at the Mayfair, and if I recall correctly, that was the horror flick made by a 15 year old who somehow convinced his parents to give him the money they’d put away for his college for the making of that movie instead. I think the deal was, if the movie flopped he promised his parents he’d foot his own way through college, working at McDonald’s or wherever else if he had to.

As for me, I feel rather lucky I missed out on all the years when the Mayfair was showing that God-awful, never-ending stream of slasher flicks so popular in the early 1980s. Meantime, just to be real about it, was it the slashing scenes of those films that was the big lure? Or the in-between scenes of a….hmmmm, how should I say it?..nature? My hunch is it was the latter, but in those days no one dared ever admit to that.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 15, 2008 at 4:59 am

That sounds familiar. But again, no specific recollections as to why. And again if I saw a photo it would probably all come rushing nack to me.

Mesntime, just to go way back (though given how fondly I remember it it doesn’t seem all that long ago to me), does everybody remember Chris' Restaurant in Ocean City? It was right there on the bay south of 9th Street Bridge, and of all the restaurants I ever ate at while at the Jersey Shore, it was by far my favorite! At that restaurant they had tables and chairs set up outside on the back deck overlooking the bay, and seriously, if you’re going to eat seafood and really want it to be meaningful, nothing short of that will do. In that sense Chris’s really spoiled me. If I recall correctly, it shut down immediately following the summer of 1972, and I could never quite understand why. For EVERYBODY loved Chris’s it seems! But alas, it left us too soon.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Devon Theater for the Performing Arts on Feb 14, 2008 at 9:17 am

Just to come straight to the point, that’s ridiculous, you guys. We have a serious problem here in Northeast Philadelphia that has got to be gotten to the other side, of while your outlook is, “No, just let the creeps walk free.” The other day I had a visitor to here, and you know, it was outright embarrassing to point out to that visitor this old theater building and that in passing, saying how great these theaters we had around here used to be, but now look at it.

So listen up. When things go wrong, when we get morons in power instead of intelligent people, resulting in the vanishing of our theaters in this instance, that’s the time to speak up, not shut up, so in that regard you guys aren’t helping things any.

I would like to know what really happened here theater-wise. And how am I supposed to find that out if I just go quiet? You criticize me for making “personal attacks,” but just to set the record straight, when a bunch of morons take over a community in which I have very deep roots, and put crap in place of what had been classy before, well it doesn’t get any more personal than that. John Perzel, who has a great deal of influence here in Northeast Philadelphia right now, is a moron. So, too, is single-bullet-theory Arlen Spector. That’s why we’re getting crap here instead of great things happening. Ask Reese Hatley, the one currently in charge of restoring the Devon, or at least he’s trying to, he’ll tell you. Anyone around here who’s honest will tell you what I’m telling you. You guys are lashing out at me blind to the fact that I’m one of the good guys. I say if you’re going to lash out, do so where it’s warranted. And John Perzel definitely needs some serious lashing out against right now. So if you’re going to be harshly critical, direct your harsh criticisms at him, not me.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 14, 2008 at 8:35 am

As I recall, there was a “Zabererville” when you traveled from Ocean City down to Wildwood — not the name of an actual town, mind you, but simply another Zaberer’s Restaurant located down that way. I assume the two restaurants were linked somehow. In trying to Google more info on the one located on the Black Horse Pike, and perhaps bring up a photo or two, all the links seemed to have to do with the one enroute to Wildwood, which I’m guessing was not wiped out by the casino tsunami, or at least not as immediately. Looking back now, that was really weird how all these things of such seeming permanence were wiped out so quickly. Zaberer’s. Tony Mart’s. Watson’s Restaurant in Ocean City. The Smuggler’s Shop on the Ocean City boardwalk.

As for the polar bear on the roof of Zaberer’s, I honestly don’t remember it. But I’m sure that detail will come back to me the moment I see a photo of it…if there’s any around. And just out of curiosity, what was the story behind Zaberer’s anyway? Surely there had to be an interesting story behind all that outlandish exterior decor it had. In looking back now, it reminds me of that scene in EDDIE & THE CRUISERS when Eddie goes to that special private place he has set up in that junkyard.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Strand Theatre on Feb 13, 2008 at 7:50 am

I remember Zaberer’s! Sadly, one of the first casualties when casinos quickly took hold in Atlantic City. I never went to eat there — regretfully — because I just assumed it was a thing of permanence and would still be around when I got older. I think we all felt that way. But when that time came, there was just this big huge empty void so to speak. At least I got to see it from the outside on many occasions passing by, it being one of the most eccentric buildings I think I’d ever seen in my life. I assume, though, that the food served inside was not quite as eccentric. When I vacationed regularly each year in Ocean City, I had an older friend I’d meet up with each summer who went there regularly. And upon his return from Zaberer’s he always boasted of the lobster Neuburg and blueberry cheesecake he had. So much so that I got to wondering if they ever served anything else!

And only in South Jersey at that time could they pull off having a restaurant look so whacky and outlandish yet be so extremely formal when you went in. Nonetheless, what a crazy but wonderful era it was!

What’s there in place of Zaberer’s today I wonder?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Devon Theater for the Performing Arts on Feb 13, 2008 at 7:14 am

Yes it is, John, but doesn’t the nature of that photo strike you as a bit peculiar? To the average person, I being one at the time when that photo was taken, no one was aware that Northeast Philadelphia’s long-existing single-screen theaters were an endangered species in any way. And it does not seem that that photo was shot for any artistic reasons. There’s nothing artistic about it — except that in hindsight it now serves as view back into the past. But who among average Northeast Philadelphia citizens had that hindsight at that time? I sure didn’t.

As a photographer myself, I take pictures of things I believe to be things of permanence, but only for artistic reasons. But this photo looks like a “hit” photo. For what transpired after that photo was taken? One minute the theater was successful, the next, all this craziness. And is there a link between this photo that was taken when it was successful and all that craziness that followed?

It’s clearly not an owner taken photo. Rather, it was shot from a car that stopped briefly, took the photo, and then headed on. As if to say whoever took it was assigned to take it. Assigned by Pennsylvania State Representative John Perzel perhaps? Based on what followed next, that’s what I’m guessing…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Devon Theater for the Performing Arts on Feb 12, 2008 at 6:45 am

Point of curiosity: Did the taker of this photo — showing the Devon during its successful swing as a great neighborhood movie theater — know what was awaiting ahead? What motivated them to take this photo, I wonder?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Feb 10, 2008 at 6:06 am

Well Jack, I’d just be curious to know if the dirty old man who worked the Mayfair Theatre’s ticket booth during that time period got to serve as your best man. Yes or no? If so, no doubt you had to keep all the flower girls under lock and key! Meantime, assuming the wedding wasn’t held there at the movie theater itself — even though, as I’ve said, the church I was baptised in used to hold its Easter services there back in the late ‘50s — did you by any chance seek to hold your wedding there at the Mayfair? If not, taking after that e-Bay guy, you could always make up that you and your wife were married there. In fact, taking things further, I think we have the makings of a movie script here! Would it matter if it’s true or not? Naw! If it’s a great story people don’t care about that! So by all means go for it, Jack!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Feb 9, 2008 at 5:17 am

These photos showing the Mayfair Theatre being converted into a bank expose the huge mistake of looking upon the northeast section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — where the Mayfair Theatre building is located — as a source of revenue generation. Some places are suitable for revenue generation, but all efforts to transform Northeast Philadelphia into that have resulted in nothing other than one huge, bland mess — which is exactly what I saw as I passed the Mayfair today. In it’s being re-made over into a bank it really looks awful, folks. And as such it’s certainly not doing Northeast Philadelphia any good. And when you see it as it is now the obvious thought that quickly crosses your mind is, no wonder Philadelphia’s population is waaaaaay down now!

In other words, my now speaking after the fact, unlike my previous posts here where I spoke before the fact, I’m basically saying: I told you sooooo….

TheaterBuff1 commented about The WGA strike: When will it end and do we really care anymore? on Jan 27, 2008 at 7:17 am

No, Schmadrian, there’s something higher about the annual Academy Awards Presentations that you’re obviously missing, and that always has been. Perhaps it’s due to the “whole world is watching” factor, I don’t know. But there’s something very special about the Oscars that consistently makes it stand out from all other award-giving ceremonies.

Everything you’ve said about the Oscars I don’t deny for a second. But I’ll tell you this, above and beyond all that, in all the different award ceremonies I’ve seen I have never seen a case where the awards given were farer than the Oscars. The Emmies, Grammies, Golden Globe, Peoples' Choice, Tonys, etc., etc., etc., all strike me as being rigged. And at the personal level I’m 100% sure they are. But to date I have yet to witness that ever being the case with the Oscars. If by chance any of the awards given at the Oscars are rigged, then I can only suggest they’re rigged to ensure that the most deserving receive them. Otherwise, I would’ve stopped watching the Oscars years ago, just as I did all the other awards shows I just named for that very feeling. In brief, the Oscars — unlike other awards presentations — consistently retains credibility year after year after year. And yes, I DO place a very high premium on that.

If we trash that truth that comes through despite the egos, we trash this country. It’s that simple.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Orpheum Theatre on Jan 27, 2008 at 6:42 am

You’re right, RobbKCity. Since my last post, I did some online research, and the Orpheum Theater that was fully restored by that successful minority businessman profiled on The Nightly Business Report Friday night is to the other side of the state in St. Louis. I obviously misheard when I thought they said Kansas City.

Interesting to note, St. Louis' The Roberts Orpheum Theater, as it’s now called (though its marquee still bears the name “The American”) was designed by the same architect — G. Albert Lansburgh — was built right around that same era, and in comparing photos it looks almost identical to K.C.’s late Orpheum. It also should be noted that in previous years it, too, held the name “Orpheum.” And going by the webpage that Cinema Treasures has on that theater — /theaters/436/ — it appears to be doing fantastically well! It’s a shame that K.C.’s Orpheum could not have experienced the same fate, but at least one of the two has survived and is now doing well.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Orpheum Theatre on Jan 26, 2008 at 8:55 am

On PBS' Nightly Business Report for Friday, January 25, 2008 they ran a special feature story on a successful Midwestern minority businessman, and among his proud achievements, a freshly restored movie palace in Kansas City, MO called “The Orpheum.” They even showed a brief glimpse of it. Is that this theater? Or a new one that was recently built?

TheaterBuff1 commented about The WGA strike: When will it end and do we really care anymore? on Jan 26, 2008 at 7:43 am

What comes to mind in cases like this is that movie SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION (also called NEVER GIVE AN INCH), and I truly hope somebody can find a way to put that principle to work in this instance. Otherwise, I truly do have to wonder where this country will go from here. For if the striking writers believe their personal grievances are so important that it should derail the Oscars, it will be blatantly clear to me that they have fully lost sight of what’s most important. For come on, the Oscars, nothing should upstage that in my views!

Looking to just a few years back, I remember how very much the Oscars meant to me right after President Bush sent our troops to Iraq. I truly needed something of assurance in that moment to let me know that our country hadn’t gone completely nuts, and the Oscars presentation that year did not let me down. Rather, it served as a very important anchor for me, something I’ll always remember.

So yes, given that, I would say that if the writer’s strike upstages the Oscars this year it will constitute a major bellwether that our country at this point is beyond all hope, and without the need of a successor nation to displace it, as traditionally had been the case when things like this happened.

To date, there has never been a year that after the annual Academy Awards Presentation was over I did not feel a strong sense that our country is still on a positive course. So if it does get preempted this year it will really ring home that all that has now swiftly changed.

First they came for the movie palaces, phasing them out one by one, and so many didn’t say anything. Now they’re coming for the Oscars. Putting it more accurately, can you draw a line from Point A through Point B to determine what Point C will be? That’s how major I consider this to be.

TheaterBuff1 commented about The WGA strike: When will it end and do we really care anymore? on Jan 25, 2008 at 9:23 am

Being as I reside in Philadelphia, PA, where the union stranglehold on this town I feel it’s totally fair to say has reached the Brownshirt level, and with no end in sight to this waxing vice-grip as of yet, it’s hard for me to feel real sympathetic towards the writers striking out in Hollywood — most particularly if it could end up preempting this year’s Oscars (2008)! I mean, talk about taking the “Rolling Darkness” movement to an all new low! But I’m to the point of conceding that anything such as that is possible now. For I believe that many Americans have crossed the line now from having their fair and reasonable demands met to wanting to see their jealous emotions placated. And that’s how the WGA strike looks to me.

To be sure, the role the writer plays is vital to all Hollywood productions. So most certainly those who fill this role should be compensated fairly. And if it requires collective bargaining to achieve this goal, so be it.

But is that what’s at the heart of this strike?

I think not.

Rather, I think it’s been discovered that collective bargaining makes it possible to get something for nothing, and that that is the way in which collective bargaining is being abused now. For yes, we all have cost-of-living expenses that we want to see met. But whatever happened to good old fashioned giving something worthwhile in exchange for this? That is what I so miss in this country now. For I feel here’s a classic case where if the demands being made get met, this country’s not going to be any better for it. It will only ratchet our once great nation down even darker. As I say, the “Rolling Darkness” movement… Now it’s come for the Oscars.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Penypak Theatre on Jan 19, 2008 at 7:08 am

Thanks for providing the two links, Ken MC, while I’d be curious to know if that was the spelling used on the actual marquee. With my only memories being of when it was all boarded up back in the late ‘50s, I don’t recall the name “Pennypack” being alternatively spelled that way. [but of course I wouldn’t, since it was before I’d learned to read yet.] Meantime, to date I have yet to uncover any photo showing it after it went from being the Holme. Local businessman/Holmesburg native Rudy Definis published a book of historic Holmesburg which went on sale in December 2007, but even there it shows the theater only when it was the Holme. I’d love to see how it looked during the post-WWII optimism phase and with the new name given.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Jan 2, 2008 at 6:13 am

Hughie, scroll back and you’ll see the photo links that Eddie Jacobs posted several weeks ago showing various stages of its demolition, or assassination perhaps I should say.

And with anti-movie theater presidential candidate Osama Bin Laden — OOPS! I mean, Barrack Obama — leading in the 2008 Iowa Caucus, if he does prevail in this year’s presidential elections it’s going to be bad news for movie theaters all across America, with what happened to the DuPage Theater which had been located in his Illinois senatorial district just a sampler. I call this trend the “rolling darkness” and count the Orleans' recent demolition as part of that sad sad movement.

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Dec 21, 2007 at 7:49 am

Well, that’s reassuring to hear from you, Eddie, for up until now I was going to say! In my case I feel priveleged in a way to remember when Roosevelt Mall was all fresh and new and the Orleans Theatre was accordingly, though even when at its height in the early ‘60s it was still no competition for the Mayfair.

In terms of saving the Orleans in terms of making it a single-screen theater once more I was thinking in terms of it becoming a single-screen digital cinema theater. Which would be much better than a multi-screen analog theater. Far more versatility. But Northeast Philly is real weird right now when it comes to anything innovative like that. The way it is around here right now, you could say, “Hey, let’s [fill in your own choice of something positive and exciting]!” and expect yourself to be kicked and cursed at from here to Kingdom Come. Just as the Orleans Theatre just was.

On the good news front in all this, the architecture of the Orleans Theatre wasn’t such that it couldn’t be easily replicated. Building-wise, every aspect of it strictly adhered to a very simplistic formula — namely the use of cinder-block — with any sort of artistry — other than the movies shown there — fully ironed out. Contrast that to the Mayfair, and also the Merben, which had some really great murals. And in the Mayfair’s case many other architectural features too countless to name.

The Orleans had none of that.

But it WAS nice when it was all new, and I fondly remember going there when it was. But now that area of the city, SCHWEW!… I think of how it is now, and hell on earth is the only thing that comes to mind. That is, a hell on earth with people actually sticking up for it. What could be worse?!

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Dec 20, 2007 at 5:39 am

Eddie Jacobs, how you can talk about the demolition of a movie theater in this fashion totally eludes me. Though in its last days the Orleans certainly was far from being at its best, there was a great deal of deliberation behind that way in which it went downhill.

Back in 2005, when I returned to have a look at the Orleans Theatre after my having been away from that area for many many years, when I saw how dreadfully awful it looked, my initial gut reaction was to blame its operators — AMC or whoever. You can see that reaction I had in some of the previous messages I posted at this page. But the more familiar I became with the matter the more I realized I was blaming the victim.

We have a major problem here in the city of Philadelphia in terms of its political leadership (some politicians, I’m not condemning all), plus a certain organized religion holding dominion here that should’ve been brought up on massive charges several years back but wasn’t. And the Orleans Theatre winding up the way it did most certainly is symptomatic of those two things combined. The Orleans could’ve gone in a different direction than it did. But that’s when looking at the matter objectively. With the opening of the Pearl @ Avenue of the Arts factor added to the mix, the Orleans could’ve been restored to being a classy single-screen theater once more. The stage was perfectly set for that. Such, however, would’ve been an intelligent move. But alas, intelligent moves are not permissable under Northeast Philadelphia’s current oppressive occupation. And here you are, as if your own fate is not in any way threatened by it, enjoying every moment of watching the old Orleans get knocked down. Weird!

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Orleans 8 on Dec 13, 2007 at 5:06 am

Eddie, when you consider what’s unfolding up the street from there, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it must be like trying to be a businessman with any sort of business operation in that area at this particular moment in time. It’s great for you to be able to look straight on at the Orleans getting demolished in a very detached sort of way. But I don’t think you and many others understand the magnitude of the new precedence the Fox Chase Cancer Center up the street from there is in the process of setting, while business operators in that area have no choice but to resign to this.

AMC knew just what it was doing bailing out when it did, while my heart goes all out to whoever bought what they sold — in this case the former AMC Orleans 8 property.

In your fascination with watching this matter unfold from a “safe” and “seemingly secure” distance, from my third party view — watching both you and this event unfold — it’s a bit like watching that scene in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK when the Ark of the Covenant is finally opened. Remember that one Nazi’s face, the one wearing glasses, when he proclaims, “It’s beautiful!”? It is often said that life imitates art. And that’s what I’m seeing here. What more can I say.