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In the early days of cinema, when automobiles weren’t all that prevelant as of yet and folks weren’t ashamed of getting around on foot or via public transit — which, believe it or not once had been a very classy experience — standing outside a theater to buy a ticket fit in very well with that. In fact, traveling into town by train was still very fashionable all throughout the 1950s when my family and I went down to Center City Philadelphia by train to see Ben Hur at the Boyd. Which is how we all went. In those days as I recall there were far fewer automobiles on Center City’s streets, as at that time it just wasn’t fashionable to go anywhere near Center City in a car itself. For going to Center City by train in those days was a far more luxurious experience. And if it were up to me I’d love to see all that brought back again. But it’s a hard if not impossible sell to those who never got to experience it firsthand, plus Big Oil would never stand for it. So the question is what would Paul Henon, and W.H. Lee and all the other theater designing greats of the 20th century do if they were around today?
If it wasn’t for the fact that the Boyd directly and abruptly faces upon what these days is heavily trafficked Chestnut Street, I would say by all means bring the whole theater’s front exterior back to what it was originally. But that stretch of Chestnut Street these days is a miserable mess, let’s face it! It was never designed for all the SUVs that pour along it now. So the theater has to offset from that somehow. Either that or buy up and privatize that particular stretch of Chestnut Street, and good luck doing that! So the only alternative I can see is to have it so all theater patrons get to stand inside the theater’s gorgeous lobby while awaiting to buy tickets. And my suggestion is, rather than replicating the Boyd’s ticket booth where it was originally positioned, why not have it to the far inner side of the lobby?
If you study the Boyd Theatre as it appeared in an early rendering of it that can be seen at the following link — http://www2.hawaii.edu/~angell/thsa/boyd1-lg.jpg — is it all that hard to imagine the ticket booth being st the far back of the lobby? For it appears that Paul Henon (who I assume drew this rendering) originally conceived of having the ticket booth in the middle of the lobby rather than up at the theater’s front. For we’ve got to get the theater patrons away from Chestnut Street as much as possible in order to heighten the over all theater-going experience for them. And it appears that back in 1928 Paul Henon was already thinking this way.
A great painting depicting how this theater looked in its heyday can be seen at the following link: View link
Even though the original Boyd Theatre had its ticket booth positioned adjacent to the sidewalk, and while I fully understand and respect the goal of restoring the theater to its original splendor, replicating the Boyd Theatre’s original ticket booth would also imply that patrons will stand outside the theater along the sidewalk while awaiting to buy tickets rather than in the comfort of the theater’s lobby. And not only that, but in this day and age it would seem a bit demeaning to hire someone to sit in a cramped little cage of sorts to sell the theater’s tickets. Back in 1928 that might well have been the norm and no one would’ve thought twice about it. But how well this can go over now that we’re into the 21st century is totally questionable. It’s one thing to restore some of 1928’s charm architecturally, but something else entirely to replicate how many thought back then and what at that time was fully acceptable job-wise. In a small, laid back town perhaps I could see it. But in the context of a major modern city? Although what I’m saying now might seem like I’m throwing a wrench in the works, I say it’s better to think about this now rather than after the fact. For simply put, 2006 is not 1928. And yes, we do have to recognize this with regard to the theater patrons as well, many of whom I’m sure are not looking forward to going back to standing out along the sidewalk once more while awaiting to buy tickets. Meaning that restoring the Boyd Theatre’s original marquee is one thing. But replicating the theater’s original outfront ticket booth? That aspect I feel warrants a big, “Hmmmm…” For banks, hotels, museums, etc. all have lobbies where people stand inside while awaiting to be served. And why would that be willing to accept different from a movie theater? For it’s 2006, not 1928…
If it can be said that 20th century theater architect William Harold Lee gets little respect right now (2006), this appears to be even moreso the case for Paul G. Henon who designed the Boyd Theatre back in 1928. And much of it has to do with how one of his outfront masterpieces — Philadelphia’s Mastbaum Theatre, with a seating capacity of 4,717, and which stood at 20th and Market Street — had senselessly been torn down in the late 1950s. Had that theater remained in existence there’s little doubt that Paul G. Henon would be regarded today as one of the 20th century’s greatest theater architects, right up there with Rapp & Rapp, Thomas W. Lamb and so on. Nonetheless, for all the skill and artistry he poured into the design of the Mastbaum, it appears he didn’t do so quite as much with the Boyd when he designed that theater in 1928, which is why William Harold Lee was called in to rework it back in the early 1950s. Prior to Lee’s intervention the Boyd didn’t have the look and feel of an epic theater (at least going by all the old photos, news clips, etc.), but it sure as heck did after Lee reworked it. And to be sure, the one thing the Philadelphia area is totally lacking right now is an epic style theater. And an epic style theater is not determined by high admission cost but rather, what it actually is. For any theater could be given a $25 admission cost, but there’s a day and night difference between that and its being an epic style theater per se.
Ouch! It would have to be on a Friday, especially this coming Friday, which will be totally out for me. Nonetheless I’m looking forward to it all going well. Meantime, any chance of getting the Philadelphia Art Museum involved in this, or the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, or the University of Art? For with the Boyd Theatre we really are talking about a great art form here. Meantime, what’s up with the University of Pennsylvania? Are they just sitting silent through this restoration effort despite the fact that it’s not all that far from there? Plus the fact that W.H. Lee attended there?
By the way, Philadelphia’s Channel 12 ran Ben Hur tonight (Saturday, May 6, 2006) and as I watched some of it I just thought uh-uh, this is no way to see that film! It’s got to be seen at the Boyd!
In looking at this photo link MikeRa has given us, I can’t help but wonder what the Sameric people were thinking when they stuck that horrible stacked marquee sign over the Boyd Theatre’s historic upper facade. I mean, talk about tacky tastelessness taken to the maximum extreme! In fact, at this late stage — roughly four years into the Boyd Theatre’s acquisition and restoration effort — why is it even still up there? For what’s right behind it, which looks to me like it had been a stained glass window of some kind, is obviously begging to be brought to public view once more.
I see that among the many features the proposed casino for Gettysburg will have if it comes to pass is a theater. And I hardly see how that will be advantageous to the Majestic Theatre in any way.
Also, according to my research so far, it appears the existence of every single one of Atlantic City’s movie theaters abruptly deadended with the advent of casino gambling having been introduced to there. So given that, I really would love to hear how the Majestic hopes to survive in the face of the Gettysburg casino it’s currently — and I feel quite blindly — supporting.
Here in Pennsylvania, where I currently reside, we’ve had some magnificent success stories of historic theaters being restored to the former glory. The big exception though is Philadelphia where efforts to restore its historic theaters have been fought back tooth and nail. Don’t ask me why. One of the saddest stories at this moment regarding Philadelphia’s theaters is that of the Mayfair Theatre building in Philadelphia’s Northeast portion. You can read the story on that at the following Cinema Treasures link:
Out in western Pennsylvania, meantime, the historic Majestic Theatre in Gettysburg — site of the historic Civil War battlefield and where Lincoln delivered America’s most famous presidential speech — recently underwent a magnificent restoration. However, it appears its success is going to be shortlived. This is the theater that President Eisenhower frequented regularly whenever he was at home at his farm just outside of Gettysburg. But a very sad proposal is currently underway to build an enormous slots parlor casino close to the historic battlefield site. And it appears the Majestic Theatre is being strong-armed into supporting it. And that story you can read about at the following Cinema Treasures link:
However, we have other classic theaters in this state that have been restored very beautifully and that appear to be on solid ground for now. So for Pennsylvania, at this moment at least, the news isn’t all bad. Meantime, those two theaters you describe up in Massachussetts sound fantastic!
Or perhaps fortunately you should say. For I was down in Mayfair today, but I made a special point of avoiding the vicinity of the Mayfair Theatre building at all costs. I really couldn’t bear to see it as you describe it as it is now, not even in photographs. And even if it’s just me, I liken what you’re describing to what took place in Afghanistan a year or so before 9/11/. At that point the Taliban was just getting a start on things and cutting its baby teeth so to speak by destroying these large Buddha statues in north Afghanistan that were carved in the side of a mountain and that were over 1,500 years old. News photos showed how they looked back while they were still perfectly intact, and then after the Taliban soldiers blasted their faces off. It was so senseless, just as was 9/11 to come a year or so later.
And how is what you’re describing all that different I wonder? For as I see it, just as the Taliban’s destroying those 1,500 year old Buddha statues was a preliminary to 9/11 itself, is this, too, a preliminary to something every bit as sinister?
As I see it, the Majestic Theatre’s restoration is in a continuous and ongoing state of evolution, which would imply that any imperfections found in it now — such as too narrow seating in its main auditorium — will be transformed and corrected over time as its evolution continues further.
My main concern, and criticism, is that it is now being used as a promotional tool for bringing a slots parlor to the historic site of Gettysburg Battlefield. Such decision cannot be taken lightly, for the implications of this are enormous.
Back on September 11, 2001 when news of the World Trade Towers plus the Pentagon having been struck reached those playing the slots in Atlantic City’s casinos — which was just as this terrible news was breaking — it is said that those playing the slots in Atlantic City that day hardly batted an eye. And so with that the casinos decided to stay open and in full operation. Those slots players were playing the slots before the news broke, when it broke, and after it broke without any sort of pause whatsoever, as if it was of “no concern” to any of them. That is how powerfully hypnotic and addicting slot machines can be.
For those of you who’ve never played the slots and don’t intend to, you can at least gain a much better understanding of this addiction by downloading any of the many free slot machine software programs now available on the Internet, or visit one of many free online sites that have slot machines you can play without actually having to gamble. You’ll learn from playing these virtual slot machines that while the odds are completely against your finishing up a winner, the obviousness of this can take forever to fully come to light. A combination of greed and curiosity spurs you to keep on playing just to see how far it can take you, particularly after you’ve doubled and then trippled your original wager. Which does happen. But how many of us are emotionally disciplined enough to just up and walk away at that point with such gains? Very few I would say, and therein lies the slot machine’s greatest danger.
And let me point out this: If the horrific events of 9/11 were not enough to shake Atlantic City’s slots players away from the machines, what impact will that same exact mindset have on historic Gettysburg? In Atlantic City’s case back when gambling first was proposed for there, you had a situation of that aging seaside resort town economically sagging in combination with most in the Atlantic City region not knowing what the downside of gambling would be once approved. So it SEEMED like a good idea at the time. In Gettysburg’s case, however, not only is Gettysburg not hurting financially the was Atlantic City was in the late 1970s, but we also know from what took place in New Jersey that legalizing gambling in Atlantic City was not the best solution to New Jersey’s economic woes after all. We don’t hear too much about that because in New Jersey’s case once gambling was legalized in Atlantic City it was impossible to reverse. In the many years since gambling was legalized there, New Jersey has simply tried to make the best of what had been an evident mistake, albeit one discovered when it was too late. For Gettysburg, however, there’s still time to say no. And God help it if it doesn’t.
Some theaters, such as Northeast Philadelphia’s GCC Northeast, are merely big boxes, memorable and noteworthy only because of the movies that had been exhibited at them, and designed so formulaically and generically that they could be easily replicated. Other theaters, however, have a great deal more depth and dimension to them than simply being that. And to be sure, the Mayfair Theatre, designed by one of the 20th century’s leading movie theater architects, David Supowitz no less, was such a theater. And the fact that from its being a classic theater it was then converted to a drugstore for a time, and then to become a bank, which it’s in the process of becoming now, speaks volumes of how much Mayfair has fallen into a state of demise since the time when the Mayfair Theatre first was built. What is especially disturbing in the Mayfair Theatre’s case is that these downward alterations were made to it without even the slightest trace of any community outcry, combined with very harsh criticisms of my one lone voice coming to the theater’s defense.
Now in turn I could be very critical of those who criticized me, plus those holding power over the Mayfair community at the present time. But how can you criticize people who don’t know any better?
I myself was very fortunate to have grown up in Northeast Philadelphia during a much better era, and had appreciation of art and architecture instilled in me from a very early age. And given how the Mayfair Theatre itself had played a special part in that upbringing, of course I viewed the Mayfair Theatre a whole lot differently than later Northeast Philadelphia residents to come. Even long after it began deteriorating. But for those who never got to know the Mayfair Theatre when it was at its height, could I realistically expect them to see what no longer was by the time they came on the scene? For so much of the Mayfair Theatre’s former glory was severely tarnished by that point. And with few if any standing in defense of it and trying to bring it back to what it once was, namely because few such people were still around at that point. Even I was away attending school in the Midwest during those years, which, I suppose, spurred others to up and leave Northeast Philadelphia as well. For I still have an old letter somewhere from one of my childhood friends from here literally begging me to come back, while telling me how rundown the old neighborhood was starting to get.
Now here I am, back again, and everyone else has left, and with few if any around today to recall how beautiful the Mayfair Theatre, among other Northeast Philadelphia features, once had been. And to be sure, there’s no one in power in Mayfair of today who has any recollections of this. So how can I fairly blame these people of Mayfair today for what it is they don’t know? I can criticize them for their thinking they know it all, but that’s about it — hence the “Northeast Philadelphia Taliban” reference. And the fact that the Mayfair Theatre was transformed to a drugstore for a time, and now soon to be a bank, and without any real community outcry of any kind to go hand-in-hand with this, simply reveals how much of the original Mayfair community — in terms of its people — is now gone. But is Mayfair’s upwardly mobile potential gone as well? For other than a very blind sort of resistance to this I say it’s not. And factually speaking, though it did not have the public support that was necessary, that Mayfair Theatre building could’ve been made a classy neighborhood theater once more. With its lack of parking, most would have to either walk to it or take public transit. But with gasoline prices creeping ever higher, a theater that can easily be gotten to without the need for a car sounds like a pretty practical idea to me, and growing all the more practical with each passing day and with each new gas spike.
With slots parlors soon to be introduced throughout the state of Pennsylvania in a big way, and with it being asked what impact this will have on the state’s cinemas — http://cinematreasures.org/news/14515_0_1_0_M/ — I’m now wondering if there’s any possible correlation between the offtrack betting facility that’s near to the AMC Orleans Theatre and that theater’s demise. As the legalization of gambling in Atlantic City, NJ taught us (or at least I hope it did) it’s always bad news to build gambling facilities anywhere near residential areas or traditional consumer business districts. So given that, there probably is some correlation between that OTB facility and the AMC Orleans' decline.
Hey Philnoir, as I’m sure you can guess, I have tons of photos I took of Philly theater buildings, particularly those here in Northeast Philadelphia. But as I’m sure you can guess, thanks to Northeast Philadelphia’s “Taliban,” every one of these theater buildings is looking very sad right now.
Just to start you off with a few, here’s a link to a site where you can see how the Holme/Pennypack Theatre building looked when I photographed it in the autumn of 2005: Http://www.flickr.com/photos/TheaterBuff1/ Of all theater buildings here in Northeast Philadelphia it is by far the most historic, it being this part of the city’s first “talkie,” and designed by one of the 20th century’s top movie theater architects, William Harold Lee (no relation to LA’s S. Charles Lee so far as I know.)
Interesting to note, and perhaps it’s to the Northeast Philadelphia Taliban’s credit, of all Northeast Philadelphia’s theater buildings only one was ever fully torn down — the Crest Theatre on Rising Sun Avenue, designed by David Supowitz. All others are still standing in this or that very beat up and/or put to misuse fashion, with only one exception, the UA Grant Plaza Cinema 9 on Grant Avenue near to Bustleton Avenue, which not only remains in full operation as a movie theater but is impeccably maintained. At the opposite extreme is what remains of the GCC Northeast, now a burnt-out hulk, that was beaten up so badly that all signs that it was once a half-decent theater to go to are totally missing now. And I do mean totally! As it is now it can only be described as “beyond sad.”
Slots limited just to existing racetracks I don’t see a problem with. And in Pennsylvania’s case if it was just to be limited to that I would never have opened discussion on this topic. But in Pennsylvania’s case a situation is coming up on the road ahead where it appears there’s going to be few if any restrictions. And when it comes to profitability, there’s a long list of various types of businesses that couldn’t even begin to compete with a slots parlor. And movie theaters certainly are high on that list.
I’m sure that in the case of the Majestic Theatre in Gettysburg, that by its showing support to the Gettysburg casino proposal now in exchange for the money it’s received expects to be remembered, and subsidized, by the casino once it gets built. But how would such be to that casino’s advantage? For when we’re talking about a casino that’s restricted to slots gambling only, this is not something geared toward highrollers. But rather, a class of gamblers who would just assume reserve all the money they have to spend for the slots alone. Not to mention all the time they have. And why would a casino subsidize anything not conducive to that?
Right now those seeking to introduce the Gettysburg casino can use the Majestic’s favorable support. So it makes perfect sense right now why they gave the Majestic all that money. And likewise due to that it makes sense why the Majestic is saying yes, as it is money it could use. But I’m looking ahead to the next phase here, once that casino gets built. For at that point the theater and the casino will be at odds with one another, and with the casino holding far more political clout of the two. Right now from the political perspective the Majestic Theatre means something. It’s a tourist draw for the town. Just as the historic battlefield is. But once that casino’s in place? For once that casino’s in place, it won’t need the Majestic Theatre, won’t need the battlefield or anything else Gettysburg has to offer, to attract customers to it, just the fact that it has slot machines alone. And in terms of the dramatic increase in revenues the casino will generate, how much of that will be used to uplift the town of Gettysburg really?
The motivation for profit is not the problem. Rather, it’s the failure to be able to distinguish wrongful profiting from that which is rightful. A movie theater has a side to it that a casino could not even begin to dream of having, and that is the ability to profit while not causing harm at the same time. Casinos could not possibly even begin to thrive without causing great harm in the process. For in order to make the huge profits they do, others, and in most instances those who cannot afford to, must lose all this money at the same time, and with absolutely nothing good they can personally show in exchange for that loss. On the other hand, movie theaters can financially thrive while greatly enrichening the lives of others at the same time. But, of course, that giving back they do can all get cancelled out if they accept any sort of subsidization from the casino industry so as to be so strongly positioned. Which is why it’s very upsetting — and embarassing — for the Majestic Theatre in Gettysburg to have stooped to doing this. And I hope it can find in itself the strength to reverse its having done this. For up until now its success story has been very inspiring.
Meantime, in another part of Pennsylvania, specifically the West Shore Theatre just outside of Harrisburg, we see a very successfully run theater which to the best of my knowledge has not had to accept any sort of blood money in order to thrive. And if this business model works for the West Shore Theatre I see absolutely no reason why it couldn’t work for the Majestic Theatre as well.
Now as for Disney’s wanting to open up a huge park near Manassas Battlefield, while it didn’t make a great deal of sense in that Disney amusement parks are powerful enough to be a draw in themselves without having to be immediately adjacent to other major tourist draws, at least Disney amusement parks give something back in exchange for their thriving. And the more they give back the more they thrive, just as it is with very well-run movie theaters.
Think of it this way: Both in the case of well-run movie theaters and amusement parks, when people go to these things they expect to be uplifted in exchange for the money they spend. And both well-run movie theaters and amusement parks have the power to deliver on that while greatly profiting at the same time. Now look at the huge difference between that and casinos. When people go to casinos, the expectation they hold is that they’re going to win big. But what would become of casinos if that actually did happen? Unlike how it is with well-run theaters and amusement parks there’s no possible way casinos could make good on that expectation while thriving at the same time. People have to lose so that they can thrive, there is no other way. And the more they thrive the more society is economically downgraded. There is no other way.
So while your comparison between the current Gettysburg casino proposal and Disney’s onetime proposal to build an amusement park near Manassas is interesting, it’s really not accurate. On the surface it might look similar, but that’s as far as it goes. For the fundamental difference between amusement parks and well-run movie theaters is that they have the power to thrive without causing great harm at the same time. Casinos, on the other hand, couldn’t even begin to dream of having that same power. So why trade away that power that movie theaters have I ask? And do we catch onto this ill-advised sort of trade-off now? Or when it’s too late to? I say we catch it now, lest New Jersey’s sad story becomes Pennsylvania’s as well…
According to info that was posted at the link I posted above, it appears that David M. LeVan, the would-be developer of the Gettysburg casino, has made some huge financial donations to the Majestic so as to buy its full support of what he’s seeking to do. As irony would have it, Mr. LeVan is also a trustee of Gettysburg College which was the most instrumental in the Majestic’s restoration. And now it’s as if to say the Majestic cannot stand strong on its own merits but will have to rely on life-support from that ill-advised casino that Mr. LeVan is seeking to build. And that sort of thinking I consider to be a very dangerous development indeed! For what does not get emphasized nearly enough is the tremendous social downside that enables casinos to thrive, and how they could not possibly thrive if not for the creation and increase of that. A movie theater that commits to operate totally independent of that, however, can thrive by lifting up the rest of society at the same time. And it’s a property they hold that casinos could not even begin to dream of having. Which is why I feel it’s so beneath the Majestic to accept any sort of financial contributions from entities that exploit weaknesses in others. To do that defeats the whole purpose of the theater’s very existence. If the Majestic accepts subsidization from other entities that socially uplift, such as from Gettysburg College, that’s excellent, and no one can be critical of that. And that did seem to be the Majestic’s story up until now. Which, in turn, has been very inspiring. But now it seems ready to go and blow it all. And when it doesn’t have to. And when longterm it wouldn’t be in its best interest to do so. To Mr. LeVan I think it should say, “Thanks, but no thanks, that money you’re offering should all go back to those who it was wrongfully acquired from.” For just to be real, it IS blood money.
That is ironic, while it sounds to me like the Majestic is being muscled into supporting the casino even though operational-wise, once the casino goes into effect it won’t be in the Majestic Theatre’s best interest.
Meantime, here’s my follow-up extension to this over all topic:
I fully realize that I might’ve stirred up a major hornet’s nest with my above essay.
But in thinking it out more, I believe I have come up with what might be the best solution, based on my own experience of having lived through this before when gambling became legal in New Jersey.
In New Jersey’s case, what caused so many longstandingly successful New Jersey businesses to either fold or greatly compromise at the expense of quality, was the fact that the casinos of Atlantic City were self-contained in all respects. Not only did they provide gaming outlets, but also first class lodging, in-house restaurants, in-house lounges/nightclubs, in-house gift shops, free parking and top class in-house entertainment. And all for the cost to consumers what small or independent businessmen in New Jersey couldn’t possibly even begin to compete with. Some businesses, such as Ocean City’s largest hotel/motel operation — which is where I was working during that time period — did survive, and very successfully at that. But only because they resorted to underhanded tactics — in many instances illegal — while the government, fully preoccupied with the casinos, totally looked the other way.
But to avoid a repeat of that happening here in Pennsylvania I believe it can be done if all Pennsylvania’s gaming operations to come be required to be just that and nothing more. That is to say, they must not operate in combination with other things under the same control and ownership, such as hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues — including movie theaters — and so on. Furthermore, it doesn’t make sense that they be allowed to locate in close proximity to — or directly at — important historic sites (such as Gettysburg Battlefield), within year-round residential communities, in non-casino-related business districts, close to public parks and playgrounds, near to colleges and so forth and so on.
And what is most upsetting in Gettysburg’s case, site of the successful recently restored Majestic Theatre, is that this town has proven that it can make progressive economic strides without having to resort to gambling. Which, whenever possible, is far preferable. And Gettysburg has achieved that. So why consider gambling at all in that town’s case? Furthermore, what’s to say that Gettysburg’s success cannot be replicated throughout the rest of Pennsylvania as well, particularly in parts where this state’s economy is slumping the most? That is, why resort to gambling at all in those places when it appears Gettysburg has demonstrated first hand that there are far better viable alternatives that WILL work if given a chance?
As for gambling itself, whether it’s legal or otherwise, many of us see it as a sickness, and this is true of playing the slots especially, which Pennsylvania’s gaming outlets will be restricted to, and where the chances of ever actually winning are extremely low. And for those of us who do feel this way, we would far prefer to earn our livings through more legitimate, less exploitive means, such as operating a movie theater in a very classy and respectable manner. And how much does the gambling about to be introduced to Pennsylvania safeguard our right to do just that? And how much does it totally disregard it? For so far I’ve seen more of the latter than of the former.
I’ve created a special Cinema Treasures webpage where I invite all interested parties to discuss in greater detail what they feel the likely impact that Pennsylvania’s recently legalized gambling will have on Pennsylvania’s movie theaters. I look forward to seeing your comments there, and here’s the link to the webpage:
’ve created a special Cinema Treasures webpage where I invite all interested parties to discuss in greater detail what they feel the likely impact that Pennsylvania’s recently legalized gambling will have on Pennsylvania’s movie theaters. I look forward to seeing your comments there, and here’s the link to the webpage: http://cinematreasures.org/news/14515_0_1_0_M/
Since you the people of Ocean City, NJ have seen firsthand the negative impact that newly introduced gambling can have on an area’s movie theaters, particularly those of you who over the years have been directly involved with the Strand, I strongly urge that you please let your views on this topic be known at a special Cinema Treasures webpage I’ve created where I pose the question regarding the likely impact Pennsylvania’s recently legalized gambling will have on Pennsylvania’s theaters. Here’s the link for that page, while I thank you for your participation: http://cinematreasures.org/news/14515_0_1_0_M/
A controversy is fast unfurling in the state of Pennsylvania that I have no doubt will detrimentally impact theater restorations all throughout the state, while I believe the Boyd Theatre is no exception. It all has to do with gambling that was recently legalized in this state. Among the first places in Pennsylvania that is being targeted with a casino proposal — despite overwhelming community opposition — is Gettysburg, site of the historic battlefield, and also where the Majestic Theatre was just recently restored to its former glory. In response to this I have created a special Cinema Treasures webpage which can be reached through the following link: http://cinematreasures.org/news/14515_0_1_0_M/ where I invite you all to discuss this issue in greater depth in terms of how it will impact our state’s movie theaters.
Meantime, action is currently underway to bring five casinos to Philadelphia where the Boyd Theatre is located. So it’s not like the Boyd is fully out of the loop on this.
For right now, at least to the best of my knowledge, no consideration whatsoever on the part of those who favor gambling in Pennsylvania is being given to what impact it will have on this states movie theaters and those currently in the process of being restored.
Of all movie theater restorations that have come to my attention in recent years, I regard the Majestic Theatre restoration in Gettysburg to be by far the most impressive of all. At the same time, Gettysburg is not without controversy at the present moment with regards to a very poorly thought out proposal to build a sizeable casino at that town’s very historic Civil War battleground. Not only will this fully destroy this very sacred place in America’s history, but if it’s permitted to go forward it’s hard to imagine how the Majestic Theatre’s impressive recent success will be sustainable. Which is why I invite you all to visit the following Cinema Treasures web page to share your thoughts and views on what impact you believe Pennsylvania’s recently legalized gambling will have on movie theaters all throughout the state. Thank you. http://cinematreasures.org/news/14515_0_1_0_M/
All theater owners/operators here in the state of Pennsylvania, plus all those who aspire to become this, should pay especially close attention to what is taking place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at this very moment with regard to the very critical, growing and unignorable issue I outlined above.
This first URL I’m providing you with is of the official website of Gettysburg’s historic Majestic Theatre, which has recently been restored to its former glory and then some. Of all theater restorations that have taken place throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania in recent times, and the United States for that matter, it is by far one of the most impressive success stories: http://www.gettysburgmajestic.org/home/index.dot
But in order to maintain this major milestone in movie theater restoration history that Gettysburg has recently achieved, this second link I’m providing you with will enable you to see first hand the powerful war that has been being waged on the part of the vast majority of Gettysburg’s citizens and those of Adams County, the area’s leading colleges including Gettysburg College (which played an essential role in restoring the Majestic Theatre), its leading business organizations and religious institutions, plus no less than Walter Kronkite himself, to prevent a casino from being built in Gettysburg, which not only will possibly cancel out this important theater restoration achievement, but will destroy one of our nation’s most hallowed battlegrounds: View link
Finally, this third link I’m providing you with will allow you all to see the situation as it currently stands in Gettysburg: View link
And as you can see, in total disregard of the tremendous progress Gettysburg has achieved in recent years — which I feel is especially signified by the Majestic Theatre’s magnificent restoration — there are those at various levels of government determined to destroy this progress at all costs. And in exhange for what? Promises being made to us that I can fully assure you won’t be kept? And so that just a small handful of people — particularly those who will acquire gaming licenses — will become fabulously wealthy as we the people of Pennsylvania, who are in the majority, get run straight into the ground? For that doesn’t sound like a very good bargain to me at all.
It’s funny you should mention Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. For it appears a fabulous job was just done in restoring the Majestic Theatre there (which, incidentally, also had been designed by William Harold Lee.)
Nonetheless, I’m still concerned what gambling will do this state over all once it goes into effect. I know that in New Jersey’s case, when gambling became legal there it suddenly became like that was only true law there was. And what’s really strange right now is that a lot of places where they’re planning to introduce some of the state’s biggest casinos are not especially hurting financially. Which does make you wonder what the ultimate motive really is. For we the people of Pennsylvania never did have much of a say in the matter when it was decided whether Pennsylvania should head that direction or not. It all just sort of got shoved through one day.