Regency I & II

1601 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Showing 1 - 25 of 44 comments

RickB on March 17, 2020 at 4:44 am

According to at least two Inquirer stories in 1966-67, this theater was going to be called the Ambassador. I didn’t find an explanation of why the name was changed before the opening.

One of those articles contains a tantalizing mention of a proposed Philly theater that was never built: a 600-seat first run house at Front and Delancey, to be called either the Mariner or the Society Hill and operated by “Walter Reade-Sterling”. The same piece reports the imminent openings of Theatre 1812 and the Eric-Rittenhouse, as well as a rumored reopening of the Viking (which did come back, as Cinema 19). Busy times!

rivest266 on October 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm

The Regency’s opening was delayed until June 30th, 1967. Two grand opening ads in the photo section.

HowardBHaas on June 15, 2016 at 10:06 am

Blog with 1983 photo

SethLewis on December 26, 2014 at 10:21 am

This may have been explained before but appreciate it being answered again…how did the opening day preview practice get put into place in Philadelphia…the first day of the new attraction sharing the billing with the outgoing attraction…so a double or sometimes triple feature

A memory of my days at Penn…sneaking off and seeing two for the price of one…and often some very incongruous double bills

HowardBHaas on January 5, 2014 at 4:57 am

Vince Young informs me that Love Story, which bigger box office grosser that opened in 1970, opened here in Philadelphia on Christmas Day 1970.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 25, 2012 at 11:27 am

Apparently American Classic Images which had tons of wonderful theater pictures is out os business. When you click on any of the links it says domain for sale. :(

CABH on October 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm

My Grandfather managed the Regency in the late sixties/early seventies. I have wonderful childhood memories of going there some Saturday afternoons to see the Pink Panther cartoons they showed before the features and free runs at the candy counter.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 7, 2010 at 7:58 pm

That stupid street lamp ruined a great looking marquee,something you don’t see anymore at these 20plexes , so many of you seem to love.Ken mc thanks for the picture of a great theatre and McQueen Flick.

kencmcintyre on February 2, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Here is a June 1967 photo from Temple U:

kencmcintyre on September 11, 2006 at 3:42 pm

Here’s a photo of the Regency from November 1975. You may get a message about expired certificates before the picture loads, so download at your own risk:

veyoung52 on September 6, 2005 at 6:00 am

Yes, Mike, I did have Cinerama on the brain when I wrote that post about the Midtown. Sorry.

Coate on September 4, 2005 at 2:03 am

Elaborating on my previous post…I suspect you were thinking of the Cinerama format, rather than Todd-AO, when you mentioned Philadelphia having the world’s fifth install. Philly was indeed the fifth city to get Cinerama (at the Boyd in Oct. 1953, although it was actually the sixth theatre to have Cinerama installed as by that time New York City had two).

Coate on September 3, 2005 at 7:14 am

“Pablo mentioned that ‘[the Midtown] was once a Todd-AO house.’ This was, in fact, the 5th Todd-AO installation on the planet.” (veyoung, Nov 25, 2004)

The fifth Todd-AO installation? Are you sure? My research would suggest the Midtown was around the 20th or 21st. Check out the following list and note that Philadelphia is quite a ways down the list.

View link

kencmcintyre on September 2, 2005 at 2:28 pm

I guess we all saw Altered States when it played at the Regency in 1980. I know I was there. I don’t remember much about the theaters except that they were near the Duke and Duchess.

yvgtspike on May 2, 2005 at 3:28 pm

My thoughts on Budco. I saw all the presentations that were previously mentioned, including Altered States, Apolgolis Now The Goldman had rockin seats and rockin rows, but the balcony was good). But think PORN Budco showed a porn @ the Orleans. And who could forget this wondeful double feature @ the Olde City… the advance showing of E.T. with The Story of O!!!!

savingtheboyd on April 18, 2005 at 7:55 pm

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

veyoung52 on March 10, 2005 at 6:09 pm

Re Midtown: Interesting that the theatre that was the 5th theatre on the planet to install 70mm (Todd-AO) process no longer has 70mm capability, and presumably doesn’t care. But it has video, rah!, rah!, rah!. No one seems to mention that its lack of wide-gauge projection lost it a high-class booking as it reopened. A travelling Philip Glass opera with 3-D 70mm projection had been scheduled to open at the Prince, but had to be moved to a more suitable location, a portable exhibition at an auditorium on the U. of Pennsylvania campus. I can talk for days about the Midtown, but don’t intend to mention the Prince while sober ever again.

dennisczimmerman on March 10, 2005 at 5:46 pm

TJ; The Midtown Theatre is listed under the name Prince Music Theatre on this web site. The Midtown was originally called the Karlton before it was purchased by William Goldman Theatres. Then the name was changed to Midtown. However, it is currently operating as a live performance and film festival location under the name Prince Music Theatre. Check it out on this site and it also has its own website.

Hibi on March 10, 2005 at 11:13 am

Why is there no listing here for the Midtown? Is it listed under another name?

RobertR on March 8, 2005 at 6:34 pm

That has to be a first a lobby painted BLACK? Why on earth?????

veyoung52 on March 8, 2005 at 5:59 pm

Rg, I certain respect your opinion. Let me just state that I am talking here solely as an Audience Member. I am not a projectionist, or lab technician, or sound engineer, or directory of photographer…simply a revenue-producing audience member. And as such I can certainly relate to cost factors, but at the same time, I felt at many operations, but most particularly with the Budco people, a complete disdain, a total non-caring attitude towards people like me….the audience. To have utterly no concern whatsoever for the public’s intelligence, and to take the stand, “well, they don’t know what they’re talking about, they don’t care.” During the “Apoc. Now” commotion, I recall reading a statement from a Budco spokesperson who proudly claimed that the Goldman had the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art equipment available. Huh? Woefully incorrect aspect ratio for ‘scope….no magnetic soundheads….no optical Dolby. They might as well have run machinery built in 1930! This, to me, is the ultimate insult to the audience…to state, presumably with a straight face, that this particular theatre was second-to-none in terms of technology is a crime punishable by banishment out of the exhibition industry. OK, so maybe they didn’t have the money to achieve a better screen/masking ratio, or to install Dolby, or just to upgrade everything. This, however, doesn’t explain the laughable lapses in just plain taste which was a hallmark of Budco indoor theatres. To pick on the Goldman again, please explain then during the twinning why on earth take a perfectly decent and pleasant-looking lobby, and paint The Whole Damn Thing Black!!! Has anybody ever experienced a totally black lobby? It’s horrifying! I’ve been in dingy subway entrances which were more inviting. I understand fully that, particularly with family-run enterprises, the personality of the owner (or a close family member) impacts to a large degree the look, the feel of business. I understand that Mrs. Shapiro, wife of the SamErich chain head, was responsible for that chain’s interior decorations. So, she must have liked pale pastel, non-dramatic colors, and she had a thing for statues of greyhounds. But she never painted a lobby jet black! Rg, I am certainly glad you’re not taking this personally, but, there is no power or principality on Heaven or Earth that will change my absolute and utter immovable Disdain for All Things Budco. On the other hand, Budco probably did more to convert Delaware Valley folks to VCRs and cable television in the 1970s than any amount of advertising or promotions from RCA, Magnavox, and Zenith. OK, rant over. Phew!

raymondgordonsears on March 8, 2005 at 3:20 pm

veyoung, I grew up going to these center city theatres including the one and only Mastbaum. Inthe 60,s budco ran a tight ship. Indoor theatres (hardtops) the was trained to check the following ever day and night. All signage,lighting (inside and out)glass,carpet,seating screen face and the projectors pre show mucis. When the show started sound, focus, picture and print status. Unfortunately when the trend to twin theatres cost was more important than what the theatre looked like. Many theatre operators not just Budco did the same bad
job. I agree with you about how the theatres turned out. Many of the twins only had a single cinder block wall going down the middle.
Tear up some seats and put up the wall. Seats were never replaced properly and in some cases the new screens were put in front of the stage. Let me know what you think. rg

veyoung52 on March 8, 2005 at 2:56 pm

Rg, do you remember the “Apocalypse Now” disaster at the split Goldman?Had you seen the Midtown BEFORE the twinning? Did you experience “Alternate States” in 70mm with “baby boom” Dolby at the Regency? How about the advertised “snuff” film booked at a downtown Budco before the police confiscated the prints? Not to say that you, personally, were (are still) not an excellent manager and district manager, but in terms of indoor projection and sound, not to mention showmanship, they were worse than abysmal. The “Apocalypse Now” disaster I refer to concerns a lawsuit that Budco tried to bring against Philadelphia film reviewers who were outraged that that particular United Artists jewel was being booked into a theatre that was not only plug-ugly, but could barely show “scope”, and was not equipped for either 70mm, or 35mm Dolby stereo, or 4-channel magnetic. The critics prevailed, and audiences stayed away from the Goldman in droves, as Samuel Goldwyn would have said. Sorry, rg, but as a friend of mine told me at the time, “I wouldn’t set foot into the Goldman if it was the last building on earth with oxygen!”