The Sam Eric Theater, more commonly and lovingly know as The Boyd, a traditional movie palace, has sat at Chestnut and 18th since 1928. It closed in 2002, but looks like it closed in 1950. I walk by the theater daily and I imagine how beautiful the lobby was, how big the theater was, how amazing the experience was for true film goers to watch the latest movies. Philadelphia premiered there with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington walking the red carpet. I get puzzled why individuals would block such awesome potential that the theater represents. The location is amazing…snuggled right off Rittenhouse, blocks..no WORLDS away from the awful UA Riverview experiences (the loud and obnoxious…you hear me?). The is nothing like it in the city and with bars and restaurants within walking distance, it would livin up Chestnut street from the general homogeneous clothing, electric, and dollar stores that seem to creep up from Broad. It was beautiful art deco facade architecture and a grand marquee hanging over the sidewalk and are in full view a block away. The opening of the theater would benefit local businesses, nightly for restaurants and bars that surround the area and during the day the ice cream, sandwich shops, and retail shops would benefit from the Sunday crowd.
I came across Friends of the Boyd and felt hopeful of the potential of the theater. The exterior of the building is listed as a historic site, the interior of the building is still up for demolition. It has apparently gone through several owners, the last ones being Clear Channel/Live Nation who, in the middle of renovation of the building (turning three theaters into retail shops), gave up completion of the renovation because of money. The theater was listed on the 2008 List of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
I am considering volunteering with the Friends of the Boyd. Hopefully something will come about this struggle.