Friends of the Boyd

From Opening Day Program in 1928 of the Boyd


Ultra-modern in every way, this treasure is notable for the unusual decorations which make it distinctive. Chief among its attractions, aside from the French etched glass which is used in many places and which appears in profusion on the large mirrors in the foyer and lobby, is the modern mural which is presented to the audience as it faces the stage.

This mural, according to the artist, is his conception of the prime reason
for all of modern luxury- women. To depict his thought he sought through the world’s literature the supremacy of woman and he has chosen the Greek legend of the Amazons to illustrate his point.

The Greek mythological tribe of warlike women was supposed to have inhabited a portion of the Caucasus. They conducted their own affairs and fought their own battles. The picture here presented shows the Amazon Queen attacked, on the one side, by warriors from Africa, marked by lions, and tribes from Asia on the other side, these being accompanied by elephants.

According to the artist the modern woman, with her freedom of thought and action, and her assertion of her place in the affairs of the world, is responsible for the marvelous new steamships, the elaborate hotels and the beautiful places of amusement of which this theatre is so excellent an example.

Modern woman has her place, here, also in the handsome black and gold silhouettes on shiny, silver Monel in the niches on the sides. One of the silhouettes is a modern American girl. Another depicts Africa, as represented by an Egyptian maiden. Each represents the ultimate of her day. The others are East Indian, Latin, Greek and Chinese figures.

The plaque in the ceiling, with its emphasis on the cool greys and silver
and gold, with an occasional bold use of primary colors, the color scheme
for the entire house, is dedicated to outdoor sports as they have come down throughout the ages- athletics, dancing and other activities.

Some other features for the comfort of our guests might be noted here. The
five rows of extra large arm-chairs in the rear of the auditorium on the first floor are specially reserved. It is the first time seats like these have been used in the East. Our auditorium is 154 feet by 125. The rug on the floor of the main lobby was specially made. It is 26 feet by 40. In the lower mezzanine there are retiring rooms for men and women and a main combination lounge where both may mingle. The theatre has a capacity of 2500, with 1800 on the main floor. The balcony is low-built and rises by easy stages so that access is not difficult. Nothing obstructs vision in any part of the house.

Our theatre is equipped with the most modern of ventilating machinery and an ice machine which will cool air and water. The organ consoles and the orchestra pit are on elevators and can be brought into full view of the audience for special numbers. Four big floodlights are installed to illuminate these points. In addition, there are twenty spot lights on the front of the balcony for lighting the stage. The organ was made by Kimball. The decorations are by the Rambush Company of New York. From every standpoint our theatre is the finest and latest contribution to amusement architecture of the world.


  • Seats 2500 persons.
  • Heated and cooled by newest system.
  • Stands on part of site of old Aldine Hotel.
  • Auditorium measures 154 b 125 feet.
  • Entire L-shaped lot is 230 feet deep by 176 feet wide.
  • Stores flanking broad entrance lobby are 1908 and 1910 Chestnut Street.
  • Last five rows of orchestra chairs are specially built fireside arm-chairs
    and are reserved.
  • Chestnut Street front flood each night with brilliant lights of Neon type.
  • Extends back to Sansom Street, upon which there is a long row of easy exits.
  • Lobby has a marble base and is decorated with pilasters. At intervals are
    marble pedestals for lights.
  • Spacious foyer contains richly ornamental glass and metal fountain and is
    equipped with modern lounge furniture.
  • Lower mezzanine contains broad men’s and women’s lounge and smoking room, with retiring rooms adjoining.
  • French modern decorations used harmoniously throughout. Ushers in French uniforms.
  • Balcony promenade overlooks foyer and is equipped with men’s and women’s retiring rooms.
  • Auditorium decoration a modernistic combination of circles and triangles
    in terrazzo.
  • Great mural painting represents the progress made by women in world’s history.
  • Niches around the auditorium contain six black and gold silhouettes, each
    showing a step in the progress of woman.
  • Orchestra pit and organ console on lifts by which they may be raised and
    lowered from the stage level.
  • Proscenium is 50 feet broad and 30 feet high. Stage may be extended 14 feet by orchestra lift.


The new Boyd Theatre, fronting on Chestnut Street west of 19th,
is one of the most artistic playhouses in America. Designed in modern French style, lavishly decorated, handsomely furnished and superlatively comfortable, its interior offers a delight to the eye and its stage and screen afford the most modern equipment for the presentation of silent and speaking motion pictures and floodlight, performances, as well as musical presentations.

The whole note of the adornment is modernly feminine. The triumph of modern woman over ancient taboos is illustrated in the murals, in the stained glass ornaments, in the furnishings and in the atmosphere of the house.

The Boyd is actually on Sansom Street, but it has a fine frontage and entrances on Chestnut Street. This frontage is 44 feet wide, and consists of a broad entrance promenade, flanked by two stores, numbered 1908 and 1910 Chestnut Street. Above the stores are the theatre offices.

The corridor from Chestnut Street, handsomely furnished, leads back to the theatre proper, which measures 154 by 125 feet. A row of exit doors open on Sansom Street, while around the theatre extends are area-way. Although the Sansom Street frontage is really a rear wall, it presents a handsome facade on that thoroughfare of vari-colored brick.

Twenty floodlights of changing colors will brilliantly illuminate the Chestnut Street front at night. Patrons, entering from Chestnut Street, where the box office is located, will pass along the corridor to the auditorium, in which the stage forms the western end. On the eastern end is the foyer, a spacious apartment with stairs at either end leading to the balcony. Back of the balcony is a promenade overlooking the foyer.

The corridor lobby and foyer are walls are of marble, with handsome pilasters at intervals. At intervals will be marble pedestals for lighting fixtures.

The main auditorium has been so constructed that a full view of the stage
and screen is afforded from every seat. The seats themselves are specially
designed for comfort. An unusual feature, used previously in the West, but
never before in the East, will be five rows of reserved seats in the rear,
slightly elevated above the floor. Each of these seats will be a leather armchair and they will be much more widely spaced than the orchestra seats. They will be specially reserved.

Looking around the auditorium one is struck by the rich beauty of the decorations. The proscenium arch is 50 feet wide and 30 feet high. Above it is a beautiful ulta-modern mural, which dedicates the theatre to the progress made by women in the history of the world. It depicts the defense of the Amazon Queen of Grecian legend against the forces of Asia on one side, with elephants, men, bows and arrows, and Africa on the other, with Egyptian scenes of warfare. This theme is continued by a succession of pictures down the sides of the proscenium and along the walls of the auditorium.

The plaque in the ceiling is dedicated to outdoor sports through the ages.
Soft gray forms the color background, imposed upon which are rich silvers
and golds, blues and reds.

Another distinctive feature of the decorations, also dedicated to women, is
a series of six black and gold silhouettes on shiny silver metal in niches
along the sides of the auditorium. Three figures on either side depict the
heights to which women have risen in the various epochs of the world�s history, culminating in Miss America, the modern girl. The other figures are of Latin, Greek, Egyptian, East Indian and Chinese girls.

The balcony is low and is gained by flights of easy steps. It alone will seat
more than 700 persons. Its promenade in the rear overlooks the foyer, looking down upon the specially manufactured rug, 26 by 46 feet, and upon the handsome marble fountain. Returning to the foyer we find other stairways leading down to a lower mezzanine, in which there are a combined lounge and smoking room, from which open rest rooms for men and women and a special cosmetics room.

The theatre is primarily intended for the presentation of motion pictures,
but its stage is capable of handling all sorts of theatrical presentations.
Its width and depth are augmented by the fact that the orchestra pit may be
raised to the stage level and formed into a stage apron. The organ console
is also on a lift and maybe brought up into full view of the audience. The
house is equipped with apparatus for the presentation of both Vitaphone and Movietone films.

The heating and cooling system is of the most modern construction. The atmosphere may be heated or cooled at will within a few minutes by forced draught. In the winter it will be cozy and will be kept at an even temperature throughout. In the summer, the ice plant will chill the air, making the theatre air any temperature that might be desired. Patrons will find these arrangements most charmingly comfortable.

Colored glass and metal work forms a large part of the decorative scheme of the theatre. The marquise on Chestnut Street is of colored glass and iron.
Booths for the two ticket sellers in the lobby are of hammered wrought metal with colored glass panels. The railings of the marble stairways are of beautifully wrought iron and bronze.

The theatre will seat 2500 persons, 1800 on the ground floor and 700 in the

The Boyd stands on a site of historic interest. For the third time it has
become a place of social activity. In 1830, Jacob Ridgeway built his mansion
there and it was the scene of many social functions for a generation in his
time and in the time of his daughter, Mrs. James Rush. Then, the mansion became part of the Aldine Hotel, long the home of many society folk and the stopping place for theatrical people. When that part of the Aldine was torn down a year ago, it was purchased as the site for the Boyd Theatre.