Comments from TheaterBuff1

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TheaterBuff1 commented about A look at the fire damaged Lebowsky Center on Mar 21, 2007 at 11:25 pm

That’s a great tribute, Gary! Meantime, with it now known that this theater’s fire was indeed an arson, any thoughts on who the arsonist might have been (or who they might have been linked to) and what the ultimate motivation might’ve been? In my asking that question I certainly don’t expect you to suggest people’s names, but just a general outline on what type of person would’ve done such a thing and why.

For to me, theaters are beautiful, all theaters, making it extremely difficult for me to understand why others sometimes feel the opposite. And though there certainly can never be justification for any theater being arsoned, nonetheless there can be valid reasons why some don’t feel quite the same about theaters the way I do.

And somebody clearly didn’t that night of February 13, 2007, while it would be very helpful to get to the bottom of why.

So that’s really what I’m asking: Why would somebody have done this? Any ideas?

TheaterBuff1 commented about AMC Neshaminy 24 Theatres on Mar 21, 2007 at 10:38 pm

That’s great news! At the same time, er, with my having gotten so used to how things have been around here in the Philadelphia area in more recent times, this is going to take me a few days for it to fully register. But as a preliminary to that let me just say CONGRATULATIONS!!! Hats off to the AMC Neshaminy 24!!!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Joseph H. Lebowsky Center on Mar 17, 2007 at 10:37 pm

Assuming that’s the first time those vintage fire safety features ever had to be brought into play, and the fact that they worked perfectly after all these many years of having been totally inert, that is a truly amazing story! Just in itself that speaks volumes about the quality of this theater!

But what’s equally impressive is the quality attention this theater is being given by all the people now so heavily focused on its recovery! For I’ve seen theaters that had very good if not excellent chances of being brought from ruination in a big way, in some cases their not even in states of ruination really, but…

Well, for lack of a better way of putting it, they just happened to be in the wrong place people-wise. Or at least regarding the powers-that-be.

But that doesn’t seem to be the situation in Owosso’s case, and I just want to say here and now how I’m REALLY impressed by that! For I could just see some “authority” figure here and now saying, “Op! That’s it, folks. This theater can never come back again after this incident,” but the wise folks of there replying, with a bemused shrug, “Oh is that’s so?” Which, if murmured quickly, would sound just like they were saying…

And if I understand correctly, in Native American, “Owosso” means “One Bright Spot.”

TheaterBuff1 commented about PFS East on Mar 17, 2007 at 9:03 pm

This and the two other Center City Philadelphia Ritz Theatres are being acquired by indy chain Landmark Theatres, but not the one in Voorhees, New Jersey. The full story can be read at the following Philadelphia Inquirer link:

View link

TheaterBuff1 commented about Ritz 5 Theatres on Mar 17, 2007 at 8:52 pm

This and the two other Center City Philadelphia Ritz Theatres are being acquired by indy chain Landmark Theatres. The full story can be read at the following Philadelphia Inquirer link:

View link

TheaterBuff1 commented about Philadelphia Film Center on Mar 15, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Yes, that’s correct. And she was also the leading lady in the first (1931) version of “The Maltese Falcon” opposite Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade. And her acting career continued on into the early years of television as well, then all appears to end there, although she died in 1971. Also noteworthy, by age four she had already toured in stage productions, having been born in 1901. And she starred as Dorothy in the 1910 silent version of “The Wizard of Oz.”

But alas, leave it to me, and I guess many others as well, to never have heard of her until seeing that photo you posted! But of that time when that picture was taken, I assume it was a moment in time which anyone still living today, if they do remember, would just assume forget — while I, not having been around back then, find it to be very fascinating. Particularly right now as Philadelphia ponders where it goes next from here…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Philadelphia Film Center on Mar 13, 2007 at 8:36 pm

Great historic photo, Lost Memory, while I don’t think I ever saw a “RENT” sign right nextdoor to the Karlton looking more desparate! Alas, the Great Depression, and, going by the film title on the Karlton’s marquee — “Cocktail Hour” — I assume the end of Prohibition, too. And while the film’s Randolph Scott went onto greater stardom, Bebe Daniels…as in, er, Bebe who? Well, as legend has it, when making a personal appearance in Chicago she had thousands of dollars worth of jewelry stolen from her hotel room. When longtime Daniels' fan Al Capone heard about it he circulated the message around town that whoever stole it had 24 hours to return it “or else.” The jewelry was returned the next day. Such was the way of things in that long ago era, Chicago with its Al Capone, Philadelphia with its Dutch Schultz and so on.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Oxford Theatre on Mar 12, 2007 at 8:17 pm

Pilgrim? Are you sure it wasn’t Pioneer? Also, given the historic theater structure’s tremendous similarity to Northeast Philadelphia’s Holme Theatre building, which was built the following year and designed by William E. Groben’s off-and-on colleague William Harold Lee (whom Groben would later team up with to redesign Jenkintown’s Hiway Theatre), I’m curious to know what type screen the Oxford had during its last days as a movie theater.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Demolition of DuPage Theatre gets underway on Mar 10, 2007 at 12:08 am

Historically, I don’t know of any case where one accusing another of “rambling” was used in a good context as a well-meaning intention on the part of the user. Rather, it’s purely a thug term, just as “rant,” “unrealistic” and so on are.

Meantime, you mention the Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia where I am, and indeed the plight the Boyd — Philadelphia’s last still-standing movie palace — has suffered the last 5 years has greatly heightened my awareness of the loss of precious movie palaces throughout the U.S. today. Not to mention how much politics in America has fallen from what it once was being reflected in this trend.

For just consider this a moment: The last great president this country ever had was JFK. We’re talking 1963, nearly half a century ago. And while America has had several great moments since then, all told and politically speaking it’s been a long long way down from Camelot.

And in the long years since then I know that thugs such as yourself would now like to finish off this country of ours completely. But to be replaced with what? For I assume that whatever rises up in the DuPage Theater’s place will be a prototype of that. And what’s it going to be? A multi-storied parking garage? A condo? A Wal*Mart? A mock movie theater in place of the one Rapp & Rapp designed? A casino? For as I envision it I think “thug,” and what is it that thugs like? Certainly not things that smack of true greatness. For unless you undergo some type of St. Paul type transformation you thugs just don’t have that in you, while I’m always amazed how you pride yourselves on what I find totally pathetic.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Palace Theatre on Mar 7, 2007 at 9:06 pm

Both of you and all other visitors to this page should make a special point of going to the following link — — and using the set-up they have set up there to send a fax to Philadelphia Mayor John Street and City Council letting them know the tremendous importance of the Boyd Theatre, PHILADELPHIA’S LAST STILL-STANDING MOVIE PALACE, and why all efforts absolutely must be made to ensure it does not face demolition. It’s current owner, Live Nation, has hinted that it might be putting it up for sale, and with the high value of Center City Philadelphia land value right now, a greedy developer could swoop in and have that theater torn down tomorrow! And all of us who love theaters, great palaces especially, cannot allow that, most particularly when it’s Philadelphia’s very last. Not only must we pressure the Mayor and City Council to save this theater from demolition, but also ask their assistance in finding a new owner who will restore it to all its glory. Send your faxes right away if you haven’t already. GOD SAVE THE BOYD!!!

Thank You,


TheaterBuff1 commented about Demolition of DuPage Theatre gets underway on Mar 5, 2007 at 11:40 pm

CrazyRay, judging by your last comment, posted on a Sunday morning at 7:28 A.M., it’s obvious you didn’t have much of a big night the night before. And most normal working people I know are sleeping late at that particular time on Sunday mornings as a predecessor to being up bright and early the next day.

But what I find strangest of all is that someone who hates theaters as much as you do is posting messages here, of all places, a website that is pro-theater. That would be like me posting messages at an NFL website saying how much I hate football, as in, who here among the two of us really needs to get a life?! Putting it another way, now I fully understand why they call you “CrazyRay.”

But calling upon you to do something constructive — since you’re here posting — why don’t you come right out and tell us all why you hate theaters so much so that all of us who feel the opposite way can carefully listen to see if there is any validity to your hatred and you’re not simply a thug on some sort of a misery loves company trip. Is it the architecture of theaters you despise the most? Or the movies they show? Or performances in the case of live presentations? Or the people who operate them, or perform in them? Or the people who enjoy attending them? That is, why not just come out and lay it all out on the table? Do you think, for instance, that theaters are ultimately a Trojan-horse like front for some type of pro-gay agenda, especially given how Ellen DeGeneris just hosted the 2007 Academy Awards? If so, maybe you’re right in that is the case with some people. But I can tell you that I’m as straight-laced hetero as they come, so there’s no such hidden agendas with me. Or maybe now that we don’t have Jim Crow laws in this country you don’t like the idea of whites and blacks mingling together, and since we can’t go back to Jim Crow — or at least I hope not! — maybe your resolve is, “Well, just tear all the theaters down now!” But you don’t want to come right out and say why you feel that way for fear of political correctness. So you come up with other reasons why theaters such as the DuPage should be torn down instead. Empty reasons, which is all you’ve done so far.

And see, that’s why I keep coming back to this webpage. To try to get at the REAL reasons why a theater designed by the architectural firm of Rapp & Rapp no less got torn down. And the actual reasons may well be very valid. But maybe they’re reasons you can’t say due to political correctness. But I can assure you my perspective on this is entirely that of a purist. But then, see, that could be offensive to some people, such as certain minorities seeking to monopolize an industry and who say, “Well then tear down the theater if we can’t do that.” And again, due to political correctness, they don’t want to come right out and say that.

But do you see what I’m doing here, CrazyRay, and perhaps you can find the balls to do the same, I’m saying the hell with political correctness and telling it straight. Simply put, I love theaters, I tell why I love theaters, and there’s no hidden agenda behind that whatsoever. And if gays and blacks and whoever else happen to love theaters for the same reasons, to me personally I’m not put off by that as I feel it’s great for anybody to feel the same way. But maybe others, such as yourself, are put off by my “blindness” in that respect. Perhaps your outlook is, “Theaters were only good back in the days when it was possible to discriminate.” In my case I say just the opposite, that theaters of today should be run in such way so that people from all walks of life can come and enjoy them without anyone feeling threatened when in the presence of others who are different while they’re attempting to enjoy them, and for God’s sake let’s stop tearing the last of the beautiful old theaters down!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Mar 4, 2007 at 10:53 pm

Jack, when the Mayfair Theatre was at its height, which is how I best remember it when I was a child, that theater was on very solid footing, while I see absolutely no good reason why it couldn’t have continued on that way. But let us not kid ourselves that there was no major shift in politics from when that theater went from its absolute height to the demise it met with later. And on the topic of this theater so far we’ve heard from you, who only knew it during its last days, but not a word from those who ran it before, when it was at its height. And as for those previous operators, what became of them? You yourself most likely don’t know, but somebody must. And from my point of view it’s just a simple straight forward question, and one that shouldn’t evoke any sort of anger I wouldn’t think. What became of the previous operators? Who were they, where did they go to once they were gone? Why did they go?

Of course the community of Mayfair itself has always had an odd history. Once the vast country estate of the great 19th century stage actor Edwin Forrest, after his passing he wanted in his will for it to become home for retired actors. Though it was all so very long ago and few know it now, following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by stage actor John Wilkes Booth, for a very long stretch of time actors in general were very much hated in this country. And it was Forrest’s aim to try to offset that somewhat by pledging his estate on their behalf. Trouble was, in his last days he had marital troubles and was on the brink of divorce right before he died. After his passing, his wife became executer of the will, and perhaps out of spite she botched up his last will and testament. In any event, Forrest’s final aim never came to pass and Mayfair was born instead, named for the London theater district where Forrest spent most of his career — due to hostilities in this country towards actors following Lincoln’s assassination.

However, the creation of Mayfair, historically one of the first suburbias on record or first attempts at creating suburbia, proved very very successful, and for a very long stretch of time at that. Yet the whole time atop a type of land swindle which Forrest’s widow had been a party to. Or that’s one version of the story at least.

In any event, Mayfair worked. Or for a long time it did. Back when I was a kid everybody loved Mayfair! Or at least everyone up here did. But then things changed. And today Mayfair is quite a far different place from what it had gotten to be for a time. And when this downward transition is questioned today we’re told it’s just as it should be here and now. Still, I wonder what became of those who ran Mayfair so well before — a wondering which evokes inexplicable, mysterious anger in some, most particularly when the Mayfair Theatre itself is brought up.

Like that day back in the early 1990s when I took my word processor for repair to Steck Typewriter across the street from the Mayfair Theatre, and the Steck guy acted very angry when I said how sad it was that it wasn’t a theater anymore, hoping the reasons why were all totally innocent and that maybe he could’ve shed some light on that. I certainly didn’t expect anger! At the same time keep in mind this was after the city’s heavily industrialized areas farther south had fully collapsed. And what do people do when it comes to surviving? What won’t they do? Or at least the prouder ones?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Joseph H. Lebowsky Center on Mar 4, 2007 at 9:27 pm

My thoughts likewise. And if the investigation shows that the fire was triggered simply by faulty electrical wiring, too many combustible materials inside and things of that nature, or that these were contributing factors, I can only hope the theater gets rebuilt with such factors omitted. For even post-fire it looks like a really great theater building worthy of saving and being a theater once more, grander than before.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Demolition of DuPage Theatre gets underway on Mar 4, 2007 at 12:30 am

All right, all right, I get it. If I make a realistic comparison between the ongoing demolition of beautiful movie theaters all over the U.S. and the Holocaust, pointing out how this is ultimately an attack on those who live for theater, the stock answer is that I’m “over the top,” “need psychiatric help,” or what have you. And, of course, the same will be “true” when art museums come under attack next, and then churches, and then public parks, and then actual institutes of higher learning and so on, until it eventually comes down to a direct attack on certain people outright, at which point — when it’s too late — then, and only then, you’ll finally admit that my comparison to the Holocaust was “totally fair.” Well, if you don’t mind, I really don’t want to wait around for the situuation to get that drastic before I begin making such realistic comparisons. I’d rather just call it for what I see it here and now. And with your reaction as proof that what I’m saying is true.

Now with that said you bring up President Bush. And that’s part of the big problem right now is it not? I say “part of the big problem,” for ultimately the American people at large are to blame for all the wrongful things that have happened in select parts of the U.S. over the past six years now going on seven, Lombard being just one of many places. When Kofi Annan made his final remarks right before stepping down from heading up the U.N. — “When [America] appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused” — he wasn’t referring only to Bush himself. He was talking about ALL of us.

For in the course of my own lifetime I remember a far better America than the one we’re seeing now. And regarding the downward transition I witnessed firsthand as an American living here in America I’ll admit that I’m confused by it, too. So much so that I’ll dare to say here and now what Annan cut just short of outright saying in his closing remarks. As in, when the shoe fits, wear it.

You also need to take special note of this: I did not compare the tearing down of the DuPage Theater itself, just in itself, to the Holocaust. Rather, that one incident alone I compared to Krystalnacht, which was the forerunner to the Holocaust. And it is a very fair comparison which I fully stand by, and I don’t give a flying crap if you think that’s over the top or not. For I’d rather speak the truth than avoid offending you.

And I also need to point this out: I will not give specific names (at least for now I won’t), but in reviewing those who posted messages at the Cinema Treasures' DuPage Theater page while it was still active (before CT finally had to shut it down), there were certain posters there who also posted messages at other Cinema Treasures' theater pages well removed from Lombard and where the situation was very similar — certain well-meaning people wanting to save a theater v. others wanting to tear it down. And these posters weren’t posting there on behalf of the pro-theater set. Add to this that in each case they identified themselves as being “local residents to the theater in question.”

Now to me as a true blue theater buff I don’t understand any of this. I grew up with theaters all around me as a child and they were beautiful, beautiful things. And at the time countless others loved them likewise. And you really felt the pulse of America’s greatness each time you went to them. I remember seeing ROCKY when it was first run, and how the audience gave a standing ovation when it was over. They couldn’t stop clapping! And when I went to see RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, I had to wait in line over an hour for the previous showing to get through to a packed house, and then myself and many others having to be cleared from the theater after our turn was up so that the next huge crowd of people awaiting to see it could be assured seats. The theaters in those days were so beautiful and such huge crowd drawers that just the sight of a theater in passing could make your heart skip a beat, with its beautiful, brightly lit marquee and long line of people awaiting outside to buy tickets. There were no mysteries there. And from my theater buff perspective I can’t even begin to comprehend anybody being so dull as to see movie theaters as other than magnificent. It’s like somebody saying they hate the Beatles or something. For I don’t want to even know such people let alone watch them set the whole new precedent by tearing the last of all the beautiful theaters down. Is this supposed to make us love you or something? Or win our respect? For if so, that ain’t never gonna happen! For from here we’ve got a new era we’ve got to get to, one where the beautiful theaters come back in a big way once more. And anything short of that, or running counter to that, is just a lot of crap is all if you ask me. And you’re really not going to change that viewpoint I hold, so don’t even try. That is YOU go to the psychiatrist. For THEATERS ARE BEAUTIFUL! But who and what are you? Just a Mark David Chapman or Lee Harvey Oswald in my opinion.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Demolition of DuPage Theatre gets underway on Mar 3, 2007 at 12:49 am

Barack Obama, in a way that’s standard for politicians, is an opportunist, and regarding politicians that probably always was the case, although I’d like to think Shakespeare’s depiction of Marc Antony was accurate.

And with that said, let us not pretend that movie theaters aren’t political in any way. For the biggest gist of the McCarthy red scare centered on Hollywood itself after all. And why the DuPage Theater came down absolutely was more political than anything else.

Now as for me and where I was when this unfortunate development was taking place, yes, I absolutely regard myself as a theater buff. But that said, it’s in regards to the theaters I’ve known of so far. And there’s plenty of theaters throughout the world I’ve not become familiar with yet. And I absolutely didn’t know anything about the DuPage till it was too late. And what a painful way for me — a theater buff — to have to have learned about it!

For at a time when movie theaters have become an endangered species, this is when I’d really like to see our politicians acknowledging it and making moves to reverse it. And good ones will. But for whatever sinister reasons the good ones can’t seem to get elected. I compare it to the Beatles trying to get their start in Hamburg, Germany in 1939 instead of 1959, as in, fat chance!

And is it over the top when I compare the ongoing loss of movie theaters to the Holocaust? No it’s not. That is, it’s not when you consider that some peoples' livelihood, or that which means a great deal to some of us as consumers, is being lost. Of the politicians who are getting elected today this aspect is being treated as if it “doesn’t matter.” Well, it SURE MATTERS TO US! But “Who the hell are you?” comes the response, thought ofttimes this is just said with silence itself — such as Obama’s team refusing to answer my e-mail inquiry with regard to the DuPage Theater.

When politicians tell me and others who love theaters that it’s “unimportant,” they are saying, “What is important to us is more important than what is important to you.” And I’m supposed to vote for them then? For I want to vote for politicians who are on the same page as me. And I want to see such politicians get elected.

But what is important to Obama if the DuPage Theater wasn’t? For lets turn this thing around and look at it that way. For right now I know that I, and others like me, are not important in any way. To him, and other politicians like him, we’re like the Jews were to Hitler. What he’s doing, as an opportunist politician, is just following the Zeitgeist is all. And great leaders don’t do that. They do like Marc Antony did. They cut through the current mood and bring the truth to light. The rest are just scum. And to Obama I say, “If the shoe fits”…

TheaterBuff1 commented about Mayfair Theatre on Mar 2, 2007 at 11:16 pm

Although it’s very obvious the Mayfair Theatre as any sort of entertainment venue can never be again, why it met the demise it did from having been the great neighborhood movie theater it once truly was — if the actual reasons for this demise could somehow be brought to light — it might go a long long way in revealing what is so terribly wrong about Northeast Philadelphia today and who all’s behind it.

At this Mayfair Theatre page we’ve heard from Jack Ferry, who worked for the Mayfair in its last days as a theater. But what became of all those who were involved with the Mayfair Theatre prior to then? That is, those who ran it really well, the way I remember it being as a child?

One thing many people don’t realize is how well removed Northeast Philadelphia is from the rest of the city, how this especially became the case when the heavily industrialized areas of the city — between Northeast Philadelphia and Center City Philadelphia — fell into a state of total collapse from the late 1970s onward. Prior to this the city of Philadelphia throughout was very much one city. But after that industrial collapse cut the city in half, Northeast Philadelphia became very much isolated, a remote backwater of sorts.

A whole new array of politicians arose up in Northeast Philadelphia during that time period and not so good things started to happen, and with nothing to stop it.

And as for why the Mayfair Theatre met its demise during that time period, well yes, we can say it couldn’t compete with television, multiplexes and so on. Certainly all valid sounding reasons. But I would be very hesitant to say those were the biggest reasons. For in the Mayfair Theatre’s case in addition to all that it got a push. A push that, in a sane, civilized society, would be describable as nothing short of criminal. And in all the many years since the Mayfair Theatre’s closing this has never been investigated.

Now I myself, I wouldn’t have any objections if such an investigation were conducted here and now, with the Mayfair Theatre’s mysterious folding put forth as “Exhibit A.” But others would. And the big question is, why? Why? WHY?!

Although such an investigation couldn’t bring the Mayfair Theatre back again, especially after the major number Republic First did on it when it converted it to a bank, it could bring certain attention to certain people who are apparently still around today who obviously don’t want that certain attention brought to them. And again, of course, the big question is why? Why? WHY?!

For simple mistakes in judgement are excusable. Ignorance at the time certain decisions were made can be excusable. But when there was criminal deliberation behind these things, that I can understand certain people not wanting to get out. But now was that the case with this theater? For short of an investigation it suuuuure looks that way! And if it was me sitting on the hot seat I would say, hey, let’s bring on that investigation! But others get angry at such idea. Why? Why? WHY?!

TheaterBuff1 commented about A look at the fire damaged Lebowsky Center on Feb 27, 2007 at 10:08 pm

It is rather surreal, I think, to be watching the Oscars one night, with the big celebs clearly not hurting in any way, and then just a few nights later be reading about a grand old theater such as this with a future totally uncertain after the big fire it just had. What are the rules of Hollywood these days? That if you have any heart at all and show it you’re out the door, but if you can make a classic showing of how nothing outside the ivory tower bothers you in any way you can just keep going ahead on solid footing? I’m not saying that Hollywood should be the savior of everything, but it wouldn’t hurt to tell the truth once in awhile and to lay on heavily to those who need to feel ashamed.

Movie theaters in and of themselves can’t be the ultimate saviors. But if they can operate hand in hand with other things that need to be done, they can become very valuable things indeed. Such as shining a bright light on certain people who need to be doing certain things, who are in a position where they can easily do them, but who are failing to. And for that failure on their part we’re supposed to praise, or at least show some degree of respect, toward those people? For I say the power of the movie theater when it works hand in hand with other things that need to be done as well.

I understand that Hollywood filmmaker and former Oscar winner Michael Moore is currently involved in another movie theater project there in the state of Michigan — Maybe during that he can show some attention towards this theater as well? For with just a little help it looks to me like this theater can come roaring back and be better than it ever was before.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Oscar Time! on Feb 26, 2007 at 10:58 pm

Since I posted the above I’ve had chance to become more familiar with Clint Eastwood’s LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, plus heard more what he himself had to say on the matter, and now admire the fact that Eastwood made this film based on how he was artistically driven, while gracefully accepting that it would not win any major Academy Awards. And seriously, you do have to admire that.

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, meantime, did get the award for best documentary, which, artistically, it probably really shouldn’t have. But it did show that message does matter when it comes to the Oscars, and there is some high degree of reassurance in that. But still, I would love to see this topic taken on by someone who really is artistically gifted. For only then, I feel, will we see a real and serious effort toward stopping global warming. Alas, Walt Disney, where are you today!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Joseph H. Lebowsky Center on Feb 26, 2007 at 10:07 pm

With fire in theaters being such an established stereotype at this late point in time, one would think that the most fire-proof type buildings around today would be movie theaters. For how difficult can it be to grasp the simple concept that if this or that type material can readily burn DON’T HAVE IT IN MOVIE THEATERS!!!?

In any event, what happened with this particular theater can be seen as a wonderful opportunity to make it a much better theater, at least in being made more fireproof. For look at those brick walls shown in Michael Zoldessy’s Feb. 18, 2007 post, they seemed to hold up well. There was once some sculptor, I forget who it was, who said a sculpture really isn’t complete till after you roll it down a hillside. Why not apply that same approach here? That is, the fire showed what was good and solid about the theater, and now it just has to be rebuilt, only this time around along those same guidelines. Why is that so hard for some to grasp?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Demolition of DuPage Theatre gets underway on Feb 22, 2007 at 11:53 pm

I don’t know how you define a thugacracy, Melders, but to me it’s when we turn a blind eye to those things that don’t have a fighting chance otherwise. For ultimately what is the point of any sort of leadership if not to come to the defense of that which is good but which stands no chance otherwise. Yes, you can say where was President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, the Pope, Tony Blair and so on. And if you tell me they had “more important issues to think about than this theater,” then there you have it, a thugacracy of the truest definition of the word. And where’s it all going to end? For that’s what I’m asking right now. And your thugacracy type response is, “Who knows? Who cares?” For when no one knows, no one cares, that’s when a thugacracy is at its strongest.

When the on-the-rise Nazi Party staged krystalknacht, the smashing of store windows of Jewish merchants, well golly gee, these weren’t prominant world class retail outlets but just small dinky local businesses. So by your reasoning why should anyone have cared? And from that world apathy, how long did it take to go from krystalknacht, the smashing of just a few small Jewish store windows, to the fullblown holocaust? Putting it figuratively, when a microscopic crack forms in the Titanic’s hull, how long before that seemingly invisible and unseeable crack becomes the major gash that brings down the whole ship? Not long at all when folks hold your outlook, that there’s things more important.

If Sen. Obama didn’t know what was going on with the DuPage Theater when it was going on, and no one brought it to his attention, he should come out and say that. As you can see, I did. I told you exactly where I was and what was going on when troubled times befell Lombard. It is even documented.

Meantime, your reasoning that the DuPage was but one of many Rapp & Rapp theaters in the world so what was the loss of merely one is akin to saying, “Oh, one or two Jews got killed on krystalknacht; but there’s plenty of Jews in the world, so what’s the big loss really?” For it all starts with that way of thinking. And all it takes for this to flourish is when leaders say there are things of “far more importance.” For I say no. I say every small crack that forms in the Titanic’s hull is critical. And this was clearly one.

The fact that the DuPage held the Rapp & Rapp pedigree in this case should’ve brought the DuPage to the world’s attention and prevented it from having been torn down if nothing else. But for reasons I don’t understand that didn’t happen. For theaters with a far less pedigree than that have been saved. Add to this, how many buildings of that historic stature does Lombard have? Unless you care to enlighten us, to the best of my knowledge it was the only one. It wasn’t as if Lombard committed to saving the best out of the five or six.

As for this having been political, it may well have been all that. But on the grander scale it was much much bigger than that. For we could say that krystalknacht was merely “political.” And when I bring Sen. Obama into this matter I’m not being political, even though he’s a politician. For politics is not the ultmate satisfactory explainer of everything. All politics aside, each and every one of us has an obligation as human beings to do what’s right when it has to be done, however it can be done. And if we rise up on the basis of not having done that, then yes, I give you the full makings of a thugacracy. And yes, it matters, it matters, it MATTERS!

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on Feb 22, 2007 at 1:06 am

Just to clear up the misunderstanding if you’re referring to any of my posts here and elsewhere, I never said that the Boyd Theatre should become a movie palace again exclusively, ONLY that I see that as its highest calling. My only objections to alternative uses of it are alternative uses that would block that goal from being reached. And some — somehow — interpreted that as meaning I’m against any sort of live performances there.

But for the record, as long as its highest calling aspect is kept perfectly intact, I am not opposed to live performances being presented there in the least. Quite the contrary I think that goal is great. I do, however, warn of the tremendous competition it would face in that regard. For Philadelphia is no stranger to live performance outlets at this point in time. Meaning, I would hate to see it rule out its highest calling aspect completely and then not be able to compete as much as it would need to to stand strong.

It might also help if you understand that my perspective is that of one who lives up in Northeast Philadelphia which at this moment has a very bad relationship with the rest of the city — while it’s completely under the command of Center City at the same time. That is, a Center City that knows nothing about it at this point yet retains full control over it as a matter of rote nevertheless, compliments of something called the 1854 Consolidation, which probably made a lot of sense in 1854. But makes no sense at all today.

And when the relationship between Northeast Philadelphia and Center City was much better than it is today, the Boyd Theatre when it was a major east coast movie palace was a most memorable highpoint of that relationship.

And there was a period back then when the sidewalks of Center City did not role up at 7:00 P.M. as you say. Northeast Philadelphia’s sidewalks at that time did, yes. But Center City at that time was a major world port o' call. You went downtown in the evenings and everything was happening there, whether it was a premiere at the Boyd with searchlights swirling in the air or what have you. It was the flourishing downtown at night, that’s what I remember, and what I think of when I think of the Boyd at its height.

And then another era arrived which was as you say. The era of the very dark and nothing happening downtown Philadelphia at night. And right now everything is being measured against that particular era with the other being long forgotten. Or that is to say we’re not supposed to remember the other era prior to that one you describe. But I do. And it was great. And Northeast Philadelphia was a very instrumental part of it.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Demolition of DuPage Theatre gets underway on Feb 22, 2007 at 12:07 am

From my objective perspective the facts are simply this:

  • A movie palace of world renown and called the DuPage Theater stood in the village of Lombard, a well-to-do suburb of Chicago, Illinois.

  • It was of world renown because it was designed by the architectural firm Rapp & Rapp, ranked as the greatest movie theater architectural firm of all time.

  • It was especially unique for the village of Lombard in that it was the only building it had of that high a ranking nature.

  • Under rational, stable political conditions there’s no question this building would have remained standing by whatever means necessary.

  • When it was demolished it revealed the total absence of the latter.

And that is the simple straight forward facts. Something went wrong in Lombard, and at the local, national and international levels what happened there at the present moment is being treated as if “insignificant.” And I compare that indifference at all levels to a small crack forming in the hull of the Titanic so to speak. For how the matter is being treated, and the facts themselves, are two totally separate things. That crack, however seemingly small it is now, does matter. It matters in that if it continues to be overlooked as “insignificant” it will burst into a massive and irreversible gash.

What happened in Lombard cannot be undone. But, with its having been brushed off as being “nothing of importance,” the incident will now get repeated in other places as well in a type of chain reaction.

When the “crack” formed in Lombard, a much bigger and almost crack elsewhere in the U.S. was caught and stopped in time — the building of a sizeable gambling casino just a stone’s throw from the historic Gettysburg battlefield. And while stopping that was an important accomplishment, allowing the U.S. to retain at least some down-to-earth stability, all cracks that form in the hull of the Titanic are significant, whether big or small. And applying that analogy to a country the principles are the exact same.

But many don’t get that right now. They don’t understand how all parts of a nation are holistically interconnected. I know top, world leading professors right now — such as Dr. Maurice Albertson of Colorado State University — who are very much focused on ensuring America’s sustainable future. But, if you tell them of a small crack you see forming in the Titanic’s hull, they’ll tell you, “Well, I have too much other stuff on my plate right now, while if no one else of high stature thinks this crack is important, why should I?” (And that question mark tagged on at the end is not an invitation for a good answer, but rather, a closed and shut door.)

The DuPage Theater may well now be gone, and at this moment it may well look like that fact doesn’t matter at all. But if this theater didn’t matter, then what does? That is, where do we start drawing the line in terms of what matters and what doesn’t? So okay, right now we’re saying, “Silly old theaters, they don’t matter anymore.” And next we’ll say that of what exactly? For we almost came close to saying that of Gettysburg battlefield. We did draw the line there, but it was an extremely close call. And while that got spared, the DuPage went down during the same time frame with little fanfare, other than those who celebrated its demolition. And who continue to.

Cracks in the Titanic’s hull matter whether big or small. And should we be scared at this? If it can make a difference, you bet. For we seem to think we can throw the best we have away and further down the road it’s not going to matter. And that is the scariest outlook of all. For where will it stop in terms of what gets thrown away and what gets kept? Who’s the one who’s ultimately deciding this and where do the rest of us stand in their eyes? Obama from what I can tell didn’t think the DuPage mattered. Now he wants to run our country. Can you all see the significance of that? And why somebody like me, in faraway Philadelphia, PA, would be saying, “Whoa, wait a minute here”?

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on Feb 20, 2007 at 12:41 am

The Boyd went from being a destination theater, which is what it was when at its height, to a convenience theater, which is what it was reduced to in its last phases. When it was at its height people traveled long distances to come to it. It was in the heart of the great city and in many ways it was the heart of the great city. It pumped the life’s blood into everything all around it, into the whole entire city really. Sure, there was the Art Museum, Wannamakers, and other major Center City Philadelphia attractions as well. Not to mention other Center City movie palaces at the time. But something about the Boyd, just the name itself if nothing else, pulsated power.

And then, as with so much else, the wrong people got ahold of it. And great thrones just in themselves do not make for great kings. In any event, the wrong people got ahold of it and people stopped flocking to it far and wide accordingly.

I don’t know if Philadelphia at this point can ever be the great city again. For great cities require great people. And you won’t find much of that in Philadelphia now. So how could the Boyd itself ever be great again therefore? There’s some people in Philadelphia now who think of themselves as “great” due to the great thrones they sit in. Or once great thrones I should say, the Boyd being one. The Art Museum being another. Wannamakers being a third.

Philadelphia could be a great city again — IF great people were to come back to it. But short of that? No, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for anything special to happen with the Boyd. For I don’t see any great people coming back to this city. Not a one. And thrones just in themselves are empty thrones is all. Vacant and collecting dust.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Demolition of DuPage Theatre gets underway on Feb 19, 2007 at 11:42 pm

Just for the record, I knew nothing of the DuPage Theater situation until I stumbled across this page via the heading listed at Cinema Treasures' home page when it was posted December 8, 2006. Add to this that Brayan Krefft presented the news story so matter of factly that I almost bypassed reading it completely, since I don’t live anywhere near Illinois. But right after I read the heading and began reading other headings listed it was like, “Wait a second; what was that I just read?” I then went back to read it further. And like I say, it was the first time I knew anything about this.

As for where I was when it was critical to know this DuPage Theater story, that is, at a time when it still could’ve been saved, at that time all of my focus was concentrated on Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where at the time a giant gambling casino was proposed being built, and just a stonesthrow from the historic battlefield at that. I and countless others were leaning heavily on our state officials not to allow this casino to be built there. And it was a long bitter struggle, especially disheartening in that there were actually some Americans — or “americans” I should say — who WANTED that casino built there. It was a very tense situation with much bitterness on both sides that finally culminated on December 20 with we, the No Casino Gettysburg crowd, having prevailed. But with that battle having been won, it was disgusting to see Lombard having gone in the completely opposite direction.

So in brief, where was I when it was critical to know about the DuPage Theater situation? Focused on fixing a crack forming in another part of the Titanic’s hull, so to speak, is where. And during that time, except until it was too late — December 8 — I knew nothing about what was going on there in Lombard. Had I, absolutely I would’ve spoken up while staying focused on the Gettysburg issue also. For I care about this country deeply, and I wish there were more who felt the same way.

But from what I can determine, those of us who do genuinely care about America at this point are just a small little group now, and getting smaller each day, while so many other “Americans” just want to bring this country down and over with as quickly as possible. That is, as countries go, forget that we ever did this or ever did that.

So yeah-eah, in that context I guess what happened to the DuPage Theater would be a non-issue to somebody like Barack Obama — just as Gettysburg, had it gone down, would’ve been a non-issue with him as well. Meantime, one thing that many of you are not getting, you’re all thinking of the DuPage Theater as in the singular. And see, that’s where I’m not. Rather, to me it is a bellweather, an indication of where America is now trending towards over all. That is, in the DuPage Theater’s having come down I see every great theater in the U.S. coming down — now that a certain group of people have had a taste of blood and decided they like it. And Obama in my opinion is a party to that. Theaters in and of themselves are just buildings, just as churches and anything else is. But it’s what they represent that came under attack in Lombard’s case. For what we all saw there, folks, was a pogrom of sorts. Not an anti-Semitic pogrom, mind you (though it might’ve been that.) But in this case so far as I know just an attack on a people in general, a people who are just trying to keep going forward. But it’s like healthy cells meeting up with cancerous ones. And clearly the cancerous ones won out in Lombard’s case. I would’ve liked to have seen the pro-theater people prevailed there. That would’ve been very reassuring to me, just as the December 20 victory in Gettysburg was. But Lombard blew it. And having tasted blood and decided it liked it it doesn’t know it blew it. And Obama’s not saying anything. That is, he looks the other way when there’s pogroms going on under his watch.

TheaterBuff1 commented about Boyd Theatre on Feb 17, 2007 at 10:12 pm

The thought crossed my mind today as I was reflecting on how the Boyd Theatre once had been that it was a “power theater,” emphasis on the word “power.” When it had been at its height of glory, along with the city of Philadelphia itself, a movie had to be mighty special if it was shown at the Boyd, a true sign that the movie in question had made the grade. But I don’t think there’s a living soul in Philadelphia today that could even begin to grasp that which I’m saying now. So you do wonder what you’re supposed to do with such memories. It’s like remembering how great Kennedy once was or something as you look at who America’s stuck with today and the choices it’s being given for come tomorrow. Great memories. But what are you supposed to do with them? For that was then. The once powerful theater in the great roaring city…now never to roar again (or so it seems.)

But for whatever it’s worth I’m glad I got to see experience the Boyd when it was the great powerful theater in the great powerful city, and would feel a much poorer man without such memories. So in that sense I guess those memories are worth something. Such memories help you retain a sense of which way is up despite all that’s being bullhorned now.