Remembering Cinerama (Part VII)

posted by Coate on October 17, 2008 at 8:06 am

REMEMBERING CINERAMA
Part VII: Atlanta

The following is Part Seven in a series of retrospectives on Cinerama, the legendary motion picture process that kicked off the widescreen revolution. The series will not describe in detail the particulars of what the system was or how it worked, as extensive coverage of such is accessible in numerous books and websites. Instead, the series focuses on providing an historical overview of a less-accessible aspect of the Cinerama story: a film-by-film breakdown of how, when and where Cinerama and its clones were exhibited in selected markets since every region was treated differently. As well, the articles serve to provide nostalgia to those who experienced Cinerama when it was new and to highlight the movie palaces in which these memorable events took place.

Part I: New York
Part II: Chicago
Part III: San Francisco
Part IV: Houston
Part V: Washington, D.C.
Part VI: Los Angeles

And now…Part VII: Cinerama Presentations in Atlanta!

THIS IS CINERAMA
Theater: Roxy
Premiere: April 2, 1956
Engagement Duration: 30 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Promotional Hype: “Now that you’ve seen all the others get set for the biggest REALLY NEW entertainment event of the century!”

CINERAMA HOLIDAY
Theater: Roxy
Premiere: October 29, 1956
Duration: 25 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “It’s every holiday you’ve ever dreamed of come true!”

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
Theater: Roxy
Premiere: April 21, 1957
Duration: 7 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “The New, The 3rd Cinerama Presentation Takes You On An Adventure To The Four Corners Of The Globe…To Astound You With The Marvels Of The Universe!”

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: October 3, 1962
Duration: 14 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “The First Dramatic Film In Fabulous Cinerama. And You Are Part Of Every Wonderful Scene!”

WINDJAMMER
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: January 10, 1963
Duration: 9 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “Georgia Premiere! The New Cinerama Presentation! Too Exciting To Describe!”

HOW THE WEST WAS WON
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: March 15, 1963
Duration: 30 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “The Great Dramatic Motion Picture That Puts You In Every Scene!”

THE BEST OF CINERAMA
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: October 11, 1963
Duration: 8 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “For The First Time Cinerama’s Greatest Thrills Together In One Breathtaking Entertainment!”

IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: December 18, 1963
Duration: 23 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “The Biggest Entertainment Ever To Rock The Cinerama Screen With Laughter!”

CIRCUS WORLD
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: June 26, 1964
Duration: 13 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Cinerama Surrounds You With The Greatest Thrill-Packed Story Ever Filmed!”

THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: April 14, 1965
Duration: 15 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: None

THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: July 29, 1965
Duration: 9 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Cinerama Sends You Roaring With Laughter And Adventure Down That Wide, Wonderful, Fun-Trail!”

MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: October 1, 1965
Duration: 5 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Only Cinerama Can Take You On The Most Wonderful Holiday You Ever Had”

BATTLE OF THE BULGE
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: December 22, 1965
Duration: 14 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Super Cinerama Turns The Screen Into The Mightiest Battleground Ever!”

RUSSIAN ADVENTURE
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: April 1, 1966
Duration: 6 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “This Is The Ultimate In Cinerama. This Is The Last Word In Truly Incredible Adventure!”

GRAND PRIX
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: February 1, 1967
Duration: 23 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Cinerama Sweeps You Into A Drama Of Speed And Spectacle!”

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: May 29, 1968
Duration: 22 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “An Epic Drama Of Adventure And Exploration!”

ICE STATION ZEBRA
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: November 14, 1968
Duration: 12 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Ice Station Zebra…remember the name, your life may depend on it!”

KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: July 18, 1969
Duration: 6 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “The New Super Cinerama Hurls You Into The Most Cataclysmic Event In Man’s History!”

THIS IS CINERAMA (Re-Issue)
Theater: Atlanta
Premiere: April 27, 1973
Duration: 4 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “THIS IS CINERAMA Is Back To Entertain A Whole New Generation”

NEVER SHOWN IN CINERAMA
SEARCH FOR PARADISE
SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE
HOLIDAY IN SPAIN
KHARTOUM (general release at LENOX SQUARE in autumn 1966)
CUSTER OF THE WEST (general release)

Compiled by Michael Coate

Source: The Atlanta Constitution and Variety. Special thanks to Stan Malone.

Theaters in this post

Comments (8)

StanMalone
StanMalone on October 21, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Three screen Cinerama was long gone by the time I arrived in Atlanta. My only experiences with that format were at the Ritz in Birmingham, and the New Neon in Dayton. However, I do have some knowledge of the theatres mentioned in this article, so I will confine myself to that subject.

The Roxy (CT: /theaters/10331/ ) was the first Cinerama theatre in Atlanta, and like the Ritz was a conversion of a 30 year old movie palace. Some of the comments on the CT page are in error and some contradict each other, but one in particular is useful in describing the effects of the conversion. It had been reconverted to a traditional layout by the time I first attended a movie there in 1968, so there is not much I can add.

Martin Cinerama (CT: /theaters/4784/ ) started out life as the Erlanger before being renamed the Tower, or maybe it was vice versa, resembled the old Loews Grand in size and shape, and was a fine venue for live shows and movies for close to 30 years before being purchased by the Martin chain and converted to Cinerama. The conversion turned the theatre into a luxury showcase and was my favorite of all of the theatres that I have worked in during my 40 or so years in this business. By the time I showed up all of the Cinerama projection equipment was long gone, and the A and C projection booths were used for store rooms. The ribbon screen was still there, but it was removed in 1971.

After Circus World, Martin moved their Cinerama efforts to the new Georgia, which was in the northern suburbs and had acres of free parking. The Martin continued to do business as it became the home of the big musicals of the 60’s. Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Camelot all had roadshow engagements here. Sound of Music played for 18 months. 2001 was the only other Cinerama to play here during the late 60’s. The only addition I have to make to Michael’s list is to state that both Custer of the West and Krakatoa East of Java did play here. Eventually. After Martin sold the location to Walter Reade Org. those two titles played as a double feature sometime in 1971, or perhaps 1970.

The removal of the Cinerama ribbon screen took place because of yet another big budget musical, Fiddler on the Roof. This was at the insistence of United Artists Pictures. Reade would not pay the extra bill for a 70MM print and UA would not allow it to be run in 35MM on the huge, curved Cinerama screen because of the light and focus problems. For the 70MM reissue of This Is Cinerama a solid 95 foot screen was installed.

The Georgia Cinerama was built in the mid 60’s strictly as a single strip 70MM Cinerama house. There was never any 3 screen plan for this site. (CT: /theaters/11568/ ) As Michael’s list shows, it ran most of the 70MM releases, and if my memory is correct all were big reserved seat, roadshow type presentations, usually far in excess of the quality of the film itself. The Cinerama screen, which was solid not ribbon, was removed in 1971 and a smaller screen with a more shallow curve installed.

The Georgia was later twinned and is now a church. Both the Martin and Roxy are in the landfill.

Coate
Coate on April 22, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Here’s a revised and updated posting of Part 7: Atlanta of the “Remembering Cinerama” series.

THIS IS CINERAMA
Theater: Roxy
Premiere: April 2, 1956 (Southern Premiere)
Engagement Duration: 30 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Promotional Hype: “Now that you’ve seen all the others get set for the biggest REALLY NEW entertainment event of the century!”

CINERAMA HOLIDAY
Theater: Roxy
Premiere: October 29, 1956 (Southern Premiere)
Duration: 25 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “It’s every holiday you’ve ever dreamed of…come true!”

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
Theater: Roxy
Premiere: April 21, 1957
Duration: 7 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “The New, The 3rd CINERAMA Presentation Takes You On An Adventure To The Four Corners Of The Globe…To Astound You With The Marvels Of The Universe!”

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: October 3, 1962 (Southern Premiere)
Duration: 14 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “The First Dramatic Film In Fabulous CINERAMA. And You Are Part Of Every Wonderful Scene!”

WINDJAMMER
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: January 10, 1963
Duration: 9 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “Georgia Premiere! The New CINERAMA Presentation! Too Exciting To Describe!”

HOW THE WEST WAS WON
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: March 15, 1963 (Southern Premiere)
Duration: 30 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “The Great Dramatic Motion Picture That Puts You In Every Scene!”

THE BEST OF CINERAMA
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: October 11, 1963
Duration: 8 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “For The First Time CINERAMA’s Greatest Thrills Together In One Breathtaking Entertainment!”

IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: December 18, 1963 (Southern Premiere)
Duration: 23 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “The Biggest Entertainment Ever To Rock The CINERAMA Screen With Laughter!”

CIRCUS WORLD
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: June 26, 1964 (Southern Premiere)
Duration: 13 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “CINERAMA Surrounds You With The Greatest Thrill-Packed Story Ever Filmed!”

THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: April 14, 1965
Duration: 15 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: None

THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: July 29, 1965
Duration: 9 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “CINERAMA Sends You Roaring With Laughter And Adventure Down That Wide, Wonderful, Fun-Trail!”

MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: October 1, 1965 (Southern Premiere)
Duration: 5 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “Only CINERAMA Can Take You On The Most Wonderful Holiday You Ever Had”

BATTLE OF THE BULGE
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: December 22, 1965 (Southern Premiere)
Duration: 14 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “Super Cinerama Turns The Screen Into The Mightiest Battleground Ever!”

RUSSIAN ADVENTURE
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: April 1, 1966 (Southern Premiere)
Duration: 6 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “This Is The Ultimate In CINERAMA. This Is The Last Word In Truly Incredible Adventure!”

GRAND PRIX
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: February 1, 1967 (Southern Premiere)
Duration: 23 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “CINERAMA sweeps YOU into a drama of speed and spectacle!”

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
Theater: Martin Cinerama
Premiere: May 29, 1968 (Southern Co-Premiere)
Duration: 22 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “An astounding entertainment experience, a dazzling trip to the planets and beyond the stars!”

ICE STATION ZEBRA
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: November 14, 1968 (Southern Premiere)
Duration: 12 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “Ice Station Zebra…remember the name, your life may depend on it!”

KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA
Theater: Georgia Cinerama
Premiere: July 18, 1969 (Southern Premiere)
Duration: 6 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “The New Super CINERAMA Hurls You Into The Most Cataclysmic Event In Man’s History!”

THIS IS CINERAMA (Re-Issue)
Theater: Atlanta
Premiere: April 27, 1973
Duration: 4 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “THIS IS CINERAMA Is Back To Entertain A Whole New Generation”

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (Return Engagement)
Theater: Columbia
Premiere: October 14, 1983
Duration: 2 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “In The Magic Of CINERAMA”

NOT SHOWN IN CINERAMA IN THE ATLANTA MARKET:
SEARCH FOR PARADISE
SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE
HOLIDAY IN SPAIN
KHARTOUM (general-release engagement at Lenox Square)
CUSTER OF THE WEST (general release)

TRIVIA:
Atlanta was the 15th U.S. market and 22nd worldwide market to equip for Cinerama presentations.

Compiled by Stan Malone & Michael Coate

References: The Atlanta Constitution, Variety

Coate
Coate on May 18, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Part 1: New York City
Part 2: Chicago
Part 3: San Francisco
Part 4: Houston
Part 5: Washington, DC
Part 6: Los Angeles
Part 7: Atlanta
Part 8: San Diego
Part 9: Dallas
Part 10: Oklahoma City
Part 11: Syracuse
Part 12: Toronto
Part 13: Columbus
Part 14: Montreal
Part 15: Northern New Jersey
Part 16: Charlotte
Part 17: Vancouver
Part 18: Salt Lake City
Part 19: Boston
Part 20: Philadelphia
Part 21: Fresno
Part 22: Detroit
Part 23: Minneapolis
Part 24: Albuquerque
Part 25: El Paso
Part 26: Des Moines
Part 27: Miami
Part 28: Orange County
Part 29: Pittsburgh
Part 30: Baltimore
Part 31: Long Island

ctrwd
ctrwd on July 19, 2009 at 2:21 am

“Custer of the West” never played in Cinerama in Atlanta. When I attended that Atlanta premiere of “Krakatoa” (not a formal event) at the Georgia Cinerama, someone apparently forgot to open the dowser, and the film started with sound only (a big explosion). For a while we thought that it might have been a prelude, until we heard voices on the soundtrack. After about 2 minutes, the picture came up. The Georgia Cinerama (originally Martin’s Georgia Cinerama) was the only Cinerama house I know of which didn’t hide the Cinerama screen behind a curtain between shows, apparently aniticipating today’s multiplex practice of bare screens. This usurped the surprise of seeing such a big image when the movie started. It also allowed one to see the louvered screen (not solid), and someone must have touched some of them, causing some misalignment, which another viewer told me he thought resembled paint peeling. The Georgia opened on April 14, 1965.

Martin’s Cinerama had many names, in order: Erlanger, Tower, Martin’s Cinerama, Columbia, and finally Atlanta. It had two balconies, the upper one being sealed off by a false ceiling when Cinerama was installed.

StanMalone
StanMalone on March 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm

AS to the correct order of names in the history of Martin’s Cinerama, the full list is:

Erlanger
Tower
Martin Cinerama
Atlanta (Walter Reade)
Weis Atlanta
(closed)
Columbia
North Avenue Pres. parking lot.

StanMalone
StanMalone on March 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Custer of the West played at the Martin Cinerama for one week starting on May 21, 1971. The theatre was named the Atlanta (Walter Reade) at that time, and it played on a double bill with Krakatoa with a big EAST Meets WEST angle for the newspaper ad. This was just a filler due to the fact that Derby bombed out after only one week.

I do not know if either or both of the prints were 70MM, so if they were only 35MM it would be true that Custer did not play in true Cinerama.

treadway
treadway on August 23, 2014 at 10:03 am

I saw “2001” at the Columbia in 1983. We loved it so much that we saw it two more times during the time it was playing.

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