Cinerama Dome Celebrates 40th Year
posted by Patrick Crowley on October 17, 2003 at 8:47 am
LOS ANGELES, CA — Wednesday’s issue of the Hollywood Reporter included a profile the Cinerama Dome, which is now celebrating its 40th year of operation. The article includes a history of the theater, quotes from celebrity patrons, and a recent photograph. (And for those living in LA, don’t miss this weekend’s festivities at the Dome.)
Here’s a link to the related article for those who are curious…
In 1988 I was one of two regular full time projectionists working at the Dome. We had a two week twenty-five year anniversary celebration at the time during November. During the two weeks we ran many of the academy award winning films that first played at the Dome including It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. On the day of November 7th which was the anniversary day the Dome opened in 1963 the theatre was closed all day to prepare for that evenings special program, the showing of a restored newsreel that showed the Dome’s grand opening, an appearance by Stanley Kramer and Johnathan Winters, and a 35mm scope print borrowed from a private collector. The print ran 154 minutes and included an intermission just after the montage (theme music included) of all the characters in their predicaments and Spencer Tracy is listening to two phones at the same time, a crying daughter and his upset wife (Ann Southern’s voice). The people at Pacific (Theatres) scrambled to get a better print for the next two scheduled showing on two different days but all they could get was a 35mm scope print that was full of scratches and splices (embarassing to run) and a backup ‘flat’ 1.85:1 35mm print. In the years from 1986 to 1988 there was a mad rush to find an original 70mm ultra-panavision print. Seems like everyone, from Stanley Kramer to Leonard Maltin (who did an Entertainment Tonight story on the search) was involved but sadly in the end everyone realized that such a print doesn’t exist.
This same 70mm print played a 2 week season at the Astor Theatre, here in Melbourne recently. Apart from the “Police Calls” during the Intermission, this was the exact 161 minute version that played at Melbourne’s Cinerama Theatre (The Plaza) in 1963. Having seen edited scenes restored on the Laser Disc release, but surprisingly missing on the DVD, I too was disappointed at this supposedly “restored anniversary print”. The colour transfers were atrocious, with some reels revealing alarming colour changes. The colour in the opening credits were so dark as to be almost monochrome. What has happened to the missing scenes that were included on the Deluxe Box Set Laser Disc all those years ago?
Apart from the improved sound quality of the DTS soundtrack, I too, felt this eagerly anticipated event was a major disappointment
In 1964 I graduated from Palms Junior High School and that evening went to the Cinerama Dome to see It’s A Mad Mad World. Here I was a 14 year old girl out on a real date and pulling up to that theatre in the boys VW Bug- Will never forget that exciting evening.
I read on the Web sometime ago that Robert Harris — who restored “Lawrence” and “Vertigo” – was restoring “Mad World”. Anyone has any info on this? Will appreciate any update. Thanks. Andres.
Wow! it’s 40 years – when I was working at the City Cinemas years ago we had soda cups imprinted for Pacifics' Cinerama Dome 25th aniversary.
Well, this is 2nd attempt at same topic. Hope it takes this time. I only wanted to cast my vote for my A #1 Idol: “The Great: Spencer Tracy”–(1900-67)–(on your voting of all-time finest movie actors) & had a big complaint on that as well! I’ve had rare pleasure of being pals with his remaining family members-(going on almost 4yrs now)
& they attend all of the anniversaries,etc such as “Cinerama Dome”–(1 of many) & of course “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, World” & even the far superior movie that same yr of 1963. His penultimate & 73rd film: “How the West Was Won”–(both were shown at “CD” & such Golden Age Heavyweights, still alive, try & attend. Mos notably: ickey “The Mick” Rooney-(TRIVIA: He is opening an official “Motion Picture Hall-of-Fame” set for Jan. of 2006! At Hollywood & Vine)(To any others that are aware of this, please reply & better yet.Drop me a line) Robert Alexander, is co-founder of it.
& typically, with each passing yr less & less can show-up. But, Sid Caesar, J. Winters, Edie Adams, P. Falk & a few others still attend anniversaries of that ‘63 comedy. & on that note, Mickey was also voted all-time Honorary Mayor of actual Boys Town in Nebraska-(a couple yrs ago) I was a bit “stunned’ when Tracy’s name went missing from this site & it’s online poll though, to say the least-(In a 1950 poll in Variety of ½ a century in cinema. Spencer was voted greatest male actor of "Sound Era”) & being a card-carrying AFI member-(though at lowest leel) It’s 1999 “AFI’s 100yrs…10 Stars” voted him #9 of all-time male actors-(just behind James Cagney!)
He was/is to movie acting what: 0livier was to stage. Even Lord 0livier himself was quoted as saying “I learned more about movie acting from just watching Tracy than anything else"
Given, he was from the stage & had to over-act & reach to the rafters. A problem which plagued him on 1939’s "Wuthering Hgts” But, only at 1st. W. Wyler-(OSCAR Record Holder for most BD noms with 12!) & he, had some fights at inception of that classic. Due to Laurence overdoing his lines,etc & Wyler, needed him to just tone it down & let the camera do the rest. It obviously worked, because 0livier earnd his 1st of 10 noms. for his Hathcliff.–(only if Vivien Leigh coulda' payed: Cathy!) He & Spence were excited about finallygetting to work toether, for 1961’s massive courtroom drama “Judgment at Nuremberg” Unfortunately,0livier was still tied-up with “Spartacus”–(plus, “The Entertainer”)
He was originally set for Lancaster’s role by the way
I saw Mad World at the Carousel in Cincinnati in the mid-60’s and have been a fan ever since! They had a nice big screen; this was just before they started splitting up screens. Judging by the above comments, the special 2-tape VHS version is superior to the DVD which contains less material than the VHS. However…when it comes to color quality and richness of picture…the copy I taped off 19 WXIX TV in the early 80’s is superior. I’m not criticizing the VHS special edition, but my taped off TV copy is richer-looking.
I’ve been watching “The Amazing Race” TV show once in awhile…the show definitely has some “Mad Mad Mad Mad World moments!!”
I found this article View link
does this mean we are closer to a better print on DVD for 2006 ?
Karen Kramer ( wife of Stanley Kramer ) says :
“She feels the film is a "masterpiece” and that this special anniversary print — which runs 197 minutes, 13 minutes shy of the original — is “close enough” to her original husband’s vision. “This print on the (Cinerama) screen IS the movie.”
Given, that it appears virtually every cinema related medium-(AFI. BFI, “EW” “Premiere” & of course the every ten years Sight & Sound Survey Even a local newspaper as well)
It would be a superb idea, for this superb classic cinema website, to conduct it’s own all-time favs in motion picture history survey-(nothing as massive as AFI’s 100yrs But, a poll of it’s fans top 5/10 fav. flix, actors, actresses & filmmakers>(for some ridiculous reason, somethin AFI has yet to cover?)
Please consider & allow, all enough time to vote Thank You