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I only visited once, in 1998, in my quest to enjoy almost all of LA single screen movie houses. I recall this being a wonderful theater, not huge, that had a neat interior and a TERRIFIC movie presentation. For those of us who like old fashioned moviehouses and presentations, complete with curtain before screen, the Cecchi Gori will be missed. From Philadelphia, Howard B. Haas
Ours in Philadelphia became a Bridge Deluxe, by National Amusements, featured in the Cinema Treasures book.
Howard B. Haas
We hope not. Howard B. Haas
The Friends of the Boyd, Inc are working on film equipment issues, and certainly want the best movie experience in the area. Our aim is to have a huge movie screen within the prosecenium arch. Like the Prince’s it will need to fly to get out of the way for live shows, but the arch as you know is much bigger than the Prince’s. We also wish to have 70 MM in addition to scope, flat, and pre-1953 dimension classic films, and of course, excellent sound. The auditorium is indeed very wide. When restored with its original decorations, paint colors, plaster, etc. there will be no other movie experience like this in our region, considering the huge screen, huge auditorium, glorious lobbies, lounges, and foyers, and ornate features.
The Boyd’s balcony is quite nice, too. Currently, the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, and the Newtown are the only 2 area theaters where you can experience a movie from the balcony.
Howard B. Haas, President, Friends of the Boyd, Inc.
Hey, Gustavelifting, who you calling a crybaby? You speaking to me?
It is perfectly ok to mourn the passing of the Beekman.
YOU are not picketing, are you? I didn’t see you doing so on Saturday afternoonn. For 3 years, I have led the succesful project to save & restore Philadelphia’s last movie palace, the Boyd. For 7 months in 2002, every Saturday, we picketed. And, we’ve put tons of time into saving the Boyd & ensuring its restoration. But, the Boyd is a 2400 seat ornate movie palace, and can be reused for live shows. How many years would there be films at the Beekman in the era of the megaplex? In case you haven’t noticed, megaplexes are crawling all over Manhattan, destroying the single screens, just as they have nationwide. Also, my group faced a developer whose other downtown project had been to “build” an embarrasing hole in the
ground. Here, the owner proposes a cancer center, and that’s harder to fight. And, as I said, what’s the long term future of a modestly sized single screen theater in Manhattan? Let’s hope the Paris survives, if the landlord likes it & enough people patronize it. And, yes, let people visit the Beekman one last time to enjoy it.
I saw movies in both the Regency and the Midtown, only after they had been twinned by Budco, and agree with Vince that they were inappropriate divisions. They were very long wind tunnels. Howard
The Paris is a very elegant movie house, well kept, and with a great art house program.
2 screens were carved out of the seating on each side of the original screen. The proscenium arch, huge screen, and glorious Egyptian ceiling survive in the middle auditorium. There is a decent sound system.
Upstairs, there is still a furnished lounge before the Men’s Room, though Rob Bender (photos above, he’s our Boyd volunteer webmaster, too) tells me the lounge before the Ladies Room is not there anymore)
This is a surviving 1920’s movie house that shouldn’t be missed!
Howard B. Haas
I attended “closing” weekend which was announced in the press, in August 1994 having seen many movies from 1988 in both houses. Sam’s Place no longer looked like the movie palace it once was. When it appeared in 2002 that its neighbor, the Boyd (Sameric) might be demolished, I viewed that as intolerable. After closing, Sam’s Place was immediately converted to a CVS.
Fantasia (think Phila. Orchestra) had its local run at the Aldine.
Howard B. Haas
It had been divided into 2 screens before the present configuration of 5 screens. William H. Lee was the original architect. Howard
I think it probably opened 1946 or 1947, with fewer seats but still more than 1000 seats. It closed about 1990 and has since been a TJ Max store. I lived half a block away in the 1960s as a child, and it inspired my love of movies in theaters. It twinned in the mid 1970’s. Howard
In late 2004, the Narberth was twinned. Howard Haas
As of Saturday, the employees told me last day of operation is scheduled for May 31. How sad!
Thank you. There are NO obstructed views at the Boyd. Each seat has a perfect sightline. No pillars like at the Academy of Music, which is great place for opera or ballet. Many wonderful Broadway shows will be at the Boyd.
Howard B. Haas, President, Friends of the Boyd, Inc.
As to 1953 glamour and glitz, I am puzzled. The exterior lost its gorgeous Art Deco marquee & ticket lobby. The round marquee is big but most people don’t think it very handsome or lavish, and we’ve heard from many people.
The Grand Lobby of the Boyd lost its main Art Deco chandelier & 2 adjoining pendant chandeliers, as well as four marble pedestals with Art Deco vase light fixtures and ornate metal railing on the Lobby Mezzanine.
Art Deco ceiling fixtures in the Foyer and Auditorium were replaced by a more modern metal fixture, which though interesting, doesn’t fit quite well with the French Art Deco decor.
In the Auditorium, the huge screen covered much of the ornate decoration. The Monel figures of 6 ladies around the world, and other figures, were overpainted or covered over. The original paint
colors were overpainted in much of the theater. And, yes, that big ugly box intruded into the orchestra seating.
Philadelphia should be proud to have entertained many with Cinerama at the Boyd & to have kept the movie palace due to the innovative film process. We should celebrate the Cinerama history in writing, and on exhibits in the theater with programs, ticket stubs, posters, etc.
But, if you want to see a movie on a really giant screen, Imaxes do that. The Boyd can’t function that way on a daily basis. What the Boyd can do is return fully to its Art Deco beauty, and be one of the few most impressive Art Deco movie palaces in the nation. With its fantastic Mural, Monel figures, glass & metalwork, Art Deco fabrics, and a restored exterior, it will be faithful to the intent of its original builders, architects, and decorators, and “knock the socks off” of everybody who enters.
And, yes, we will work to return film to the Boyd.
This isn’t realistic. Built for 2400 seats, there are enormous costs such as heat and air conditioning. The Hollywood Dome is very small compared to the Boyd & survives with a megaplex attached to it. Single screen houses like the DC Cinema, the New York Astor Plaza & Beekman are closing, and others like the Ziefeld are struggling. The Boyd prospered with first run exclusives, but there are no more 1st run exclusive mainstream films! They open nationwide, and throughout the Philadelphia area on many screens.
Fortunately, movie exhibition has improved from multiplexes with small screens, small rooms, lousy sound, lousy chairs, and no decor. Philadelphia’s Bridge has 2 decent sized screens, decent sound, plush seats. The screens are not huge like the Boyd’s and they don’t use a curtain, but those 2 are more than tolerable, and the theater has pleasant decorin the common areas.
Many movie palaces were built by Hollywood studios, or in the case of the Boyd, sold to them shortly after being built, to showcase product. The studios were forced to divest of their movie palaces, one reason for the decline in the movie palaces. The distibutors- studios- today care about a return on their investment in movies. The theaters make their profit from concessions. The wonderful new book with the same title as this website tells the story quite well, and one of its co-authors, Andreas Fuchs, will be our Guest Speaker on May 5 at International House at our VIP Reception before our
1970’s Philadelphia themed film, Rocky. Our Guest Speakers take Q & A.
Unlike the Hollywood Dome’s main auditorium or the Seattle one, the Boyd is a 2400 seat theater in downtown real estate. It is TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to operate the historic theater with a single screen on a daily basis for movies, as downtown exclusives are over, and suburbs & megaplexes are in. I have spent 3 years now volunteering to save the Boyd, seeking authentic restoration, permanent preservation, and a program to include classic films, film festivals, film premieres, organ concerts, public tours, and exhibits of the Boyd’s history. But, it can’t return to being a daily moviehouse anymore than Radio City Music Hall could, and for the same reasons.
As to the current marquee, it looks appropriate for a midcentury building, not a French Art Deco movie palace. The original Boyd marquee was beautiful, just as the original ticket booth was beautiful.
I could only be aware of any use of the upstairs projection booth from historical accounts, in this instance Irv Glazer. Vince says otherwise, and that was informative. As to his apparently being upset with the demolition of the orchestra projection booth, well, we hope to return film including 70 MM to a decent standard from the upstairs booth that he tells us was used after 1953.
Broadway musicals will be the primary use of the theater. That’s a respectible use. The Boyd will be gorgeously restored, unlike the fixer upper that Vince saw on his visit with me. If Broadway musicals or other live events were not interested, then Philadelphia would have lost its last premiere movie palace forever. The building
would have been demolished. Instead, the movie palace will be returned to its original glory as built.
Howard B. Haas, Esq. President, Friends of the Boyd, Inc. www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.Inc next film fundraiser to restore the Boyd, and film to the Boyd, May 6, the original Rocky, at International House, see our website for details