Boyd Theatre History
The Kurtz Theatre
The theatre now known as the Boyd opened on September 1, 1921 as the Kurtz Theatre. The newest and largest theatre in Bethlehem, the Kurtz was the dream of Charles and John Kurtz (known as the Kurtz brothers), local businessmen who owned a well respected cabinetry and furniture manufacturing business. They also owned the Kurtz Restaurant, located in the same building as the theatre. The gala opening featured a seven-piece orchestra (under the direction of John Hepple Sheppard) and a massive Estey pipe organ. Opening attractions at the 1800 seat theatre included Shubert Advanced Vaudeville Acts of "The Ziegler Sisters", "Jolly Johnny Jones Company", a minstrel show with "Harper and Blank", and female impersonator "Frances Renault". The silent film "THE GREAT MOMENT" starring Gloria Swanson followed the vaudeville opening acts. The Kurtz ended its final season in July of 1924 with the live performance of "The Love Test" featuring the Love Players and Helen Redd.
The Colonial Theatre
The theatre reopened as the Colonial on December 13, 1924 under the ownership of the Wilmer and Vincent Theatre Co. (owners of the former Colonial Theatre in Allentown, PA). The opening featured cross-eyed comic Ben Turpin in the film "TEN DOLLARS OR TEN DAYS". Vaudeville acts included "University of Pittsburg Peacock Alley Orchestra", a novelty dance troupe called "Denno Sisters - Tom Thibault", the comedy juggling and balancing act of "Jack LaVier", "Harry Krantz and White", plus a singing and dancing performance by "Stella Tracy and Carl McBride".
The Boyd Theatre
On October 11, 1934 the theatre came under the ownership of A.R. Boyd Enterprises of Philadelphia and was renamed the Boyd Theatre. The new owners had several other theatres including Boyd (Allentown), Boyd (Easton), Boyd (Philadelphia) and Globe (Bethlehem).
The opening marked and even stronger emphasis on films with "THE BARRETTS OF WIMPOLE STREET" starring Norma Shearer, Frederic Mark and Charles Laughton.
On December 27, 1966 a fire started in a business adjacent to the theatre. The fire caused damage to the retail shops located in the front portion or the building. The Boyd lobby, exterior facade and marquee were also damaged. Repairs and remodeling completed, the Boyd Theatre reopened in December 1967. The film was "THE SAND PEBBLES" starring Candice Bergen and Steve McQueen.
In 1970 a local family purchased the Boyd. They continue to operate the Boyd as the Lehigh Valley's grandest and only first-run single screen movie theatre.
In 1999, a brand new state-of-the art DOLBY DIGITAL SURROUND EX Sound System was installed to accommodate the showing of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. It remains one of the best surround sound systems in the area.