Remembering Cinerama (Part 12: Toronto)

posted by Coate on November 19, 2008 at 6:00 am

REMEMBERING CINERAMA
Part 12: Toronto

The following is Part Twelve in a series of retrospectives on Cinerama, the legendary motion picture process that kicked off the widescreen revolution. The series focuses on providing a market-by-market, film-by-film breakdown of when and where Cinerama and its multi-panel clones were exhibited. The easy-to-reference articles also serve to provide nostalgia to those who experienced the Cinerama presentations when they were new and to highlight the movie palaces in which the memorable events took place.

Part 1: New York
Part 2: Chicago
Part 3: San Francisco
Part 4: Houston
Part 5: Washington, D.C.
Part 6: Los Angeles
Part 7: Atlanta
Part 8: San Diego
Part 9: Dallas
Part 10: Oklahoma City
Part 11: Syracuse

And now…Part 12: Cinerama Presentations in Toronto!

THIS IS CINERAMA
Theatre: University
Premiere: 24 October 1957
Engagement Duration: 24 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Promotional Hype: “The Only Theatre In Ontario That Can or Will Show CINERAMA”

CINERAMA HOLIDAY
Theatre: University
Premiere: 08 April 1958
Duration: 15 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Sat In A Specially Built CINERAMA Theatre. Beyond Your Wildest Entertainment Dreams.”

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
Theatre: University
Premiere: 22 July 1958
Duration: 18 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “You Walk Step By Step with Lowell Thomas Through Every Wonderful Moment. When The Pope Blesses the Pilgrims Through the Miracle of CINERAMA, You Too Are In The Picture. The Most Inspiring Moment in Entertainment History.”

SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE
Theatre: University
Premiere: 25 November 1958 (Canadian Premiere)
Duration: 16 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “The Biggest CINERAMA of Them All!”

WINDJAMMER
Theatre: Eglinton
Premiere: 23 December 1960
Duration: 52 weeks
Format: 3-strip Cinemiracle
Hype: “There has Never Been Anything to Match the Miracle of CINEMIRACLE”

HOLIDAY IN SPAIN
Theatre: Eglinton
Premiere: 22 December 1961 (World Premiere*)
Duration: 19 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinemiracle
Hype: “The Newest and Greatest Attraction in CINEMIRACLE…not a Travelogue! A Rollicking Adventure Story for the Entire Family. You Live Thrill After Thrill in the First CINEMIRACLE Show with Story and Stars.”

THIS IS CINERAMA (Return Engagement)
Theatre: Eglinton
Premiere: 04 May 1962
Duration: 3 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “The Wonder of the Motion Picture World. Do Not Confuse THIS IS CINERAMA with Any Other Kind of Entertainment!”

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD (Return Engagement)
Theatre: Eglinton
Premiere: 25 May 1962
Duration: 3 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “There’s More Thrills to Live… More to See… More to Hear…”

SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE (Return Engagement)
Theatre: Eglinton
Premiere: 15 June 1962
Duration: 3 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “Enjoy Glamorous, Exotic, Romantic Excitement! The Lure and Beauty of a Tropical Paradise”

WINDJAMMER (Return Engagement)
Theatre: Eglinton
Premiere: 06 July 1962
Duration: 6 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinemiracle
Hype: “Toronto’s Favourite Motion Picture! This is the Saga of the Windswept Seas… Exciting Ports of Call. It’s Adventure and Romance in Faraway Places”

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM
Theatre: Eglinton
Premiere: 15 August 1962
Duration: 21 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “The First Full-Length Dramatic Story with a Dazzling Array of Stars in CINERAMA”

THE BEST OF CINERAMA
Theatre: Eglinton
Premiere: 10 January 1963
Duration: 11 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “It’s CINERAMA’s Greatest Moments in One Far-Flung, Fantastic, Unforgettable Adventure!”

HOW THE WEST WAS WON
Theatre: Eglinton
Premiere: 28 March 1963
Duration: 38 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “The Great Dramatic Motion Picture That Puts You In Every Scene!”

IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD
Theatre: Carlton
Premiere: 20 December 1963
Duration: 18 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “It’s the Biggest Entertainment Ever to Hit the CINERAMA Screen”

CIRCUS WORLD
Theatre: Carlton
Premiere: 29 July 1964 (Canadian Premiere)
Duration: 5 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “CINERAMA Thrills…as the Wildest Wild West Show You’ve Ever Seen Rocks You With Breathtaking Feats of Daring!”

THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
Theatre: Carlton
Premiere: 31 March 1965 (Canadian Premiere)
Duration: 7 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Canadian Premiere / Presented in CINERAMA”

THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL
Theatre: Glendale
Premiere: 14 July 1965
Duration: 11 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “How the West was Fun! See it on Canada’s Biggest, Brightest CINERAMA Screen!”

THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (Return Engagement)
Theatre: Glendale
Premiere: 29 September 1965
Duration: 8 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “At Popular Prices…A Rich, Rewarding Entertainment Experience for the Entire Family”

BATTLE OF THE BULGE
Theatre: Glendale
Premiere: 22 December 1965 (Canadian Premiere)
Duration: 14 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Super CINERAMA Turns the Screen Into the Mightiest Battleground Ever!”

RUSSIAN ADVENTURE
Theatre: Glendale
Premiere: 31 March 1966 (Canadian Premiere)
Duration: 10 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “In Metrocolor and Fabulous Stereophonic Sound. The Original CINERAMA Process Brings You the Adventure You’ve Been Waiting For!”

KHARTOUM
Theatre: Glendale
Premiere: 22 June 1966
Duration: 15 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Where the Nile divides…their mighty conflict begins!”

GRAND PRIX
Theatre: Glendale
Premiere: 25 January 1967 (Canadian Premiere)
Duration: 40 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “CINERAMA Sweeps You Into A Drama Of Speed And Spectacle!”

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
Theatre: Glendale
Premiere: 30 May 1968
Duration: 72 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “An epic drama of adventure and exploration that takes you half a billion miles from Earth…and into the 21st Century!”

THIS IS CINERAMA (Re-issue)
Theatre: Glendale
Premiere: 20 April 1973
Duration: 7 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “THIS IS CINERAMA Is Back To Entertain A Whole New Generation”

NEVER SHOWN IN CINERAMA
SEARCH FOR PARADISE
MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY (reserved-seat 70mm presentation at University)
CUSTER OF THE WEST (35mm general release)
ICE STATION ZEBRA (35mm general release)
KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA (reserved-seat 70mm presentation at Eglinton)

  • HOLIDAY IN SPAIN was filmed in 65mm (Todd-70) and initially released in 1960 under the title SCENT OF MYSTERY and shown in 70mm & Smell-O-Vision on a reserved-seat basis in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Minneapolis. The CINEMIRACLE version was the same film minus the Smell-O-Vision component, re-titled and converted to the three-strip projection format.

Compiled by Bill Kretzel & Michael Coate

Source: The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Variety

(Thanks to aarthyr for providing the photo.)

Comments (12)

socal09
socal09 on November 19, 2008 at 7:23 am

The Eglinton was a beautiful Art Deco movie palace that was closed by Famous Players Theaters while still popular and profitable. A ridiculous campaign to have the theater updated for wheelchair accessability made further investment by Famous Players unprofitable and the theater was closed. It was unfortunately converted into a rental hall a few years later with all seating removed and the floor leveled. A huge loss to cinemagoers in Toronto (along with the Uptown – demolished and the Capitol – closed. Toronto, the epicenter for one the film industry’s most important film festivals, now lacks any significant single screen movie theater. (The Elgin although used for film premieres is now only used occasionally for musical theater performances)

telliott
telliott on November 19, 2008 at 8:12 am

It seems to me that “2001: a space odyssey” played over 2 years at the Glendale, something like 120 weeks plus. That is why we didn’t get “Custer of the West” or “Ice Station Zebra” in Cinerama because “2001” was still at the Glendale.

Coate
Coate on November 19, 2008 at 9:40 am

Good catch, Tim! The duration of the “2001” engagement was 127 weeks.

The Glendale’s incredibly long run was indeed the reason “Ice Station Zebra” didn’t play there. “Custer Of The West,” though, was released before “2001” and simply didn’t play many of the Cinerama markets. The Glendale was playing at the time a long run of “Far From The Madding Crowd.”

Despite the typo with the “2001” duration, I hope you enjoyed this flashback to Toronto’s Cinerama days.

telliott
telliott on November 19, 2008 at 9:58 am

Yes, loved it Michael. I remember attending many of those runs during those years. I love this series and look forward to it every week!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on November 19, 2008 at 10:21 am

Thanks again, Michael. I’ve never seen a movie in Toronto, or in most of the cities in your ongoing series, yet it’s so much fun to see the long run totals and to read local moviegoers' reminiscences of Cinerama.

Was the Toronto run the longest anywhere in the world for “2001”? Seems like the “Windjammer” run of 52 weeks was a record breaker for that movie as well.

Coate
Coate on November 20, 2008 at 5:36 am

I’m certain the Toronto run of “2001” was the longest, but I’ve not come across such a claim explicitly expressed in a credible publication.

The five longest-running bookings of “2001” during its original roadshow release, based on tracking the playdates through the original newspaper advertisements, were:

1) Toronto, 127 weeks (Glendale)
2) Los Angeles, 103 weeks (Warner Hollywood + Beverly Hills moveover)
3) San Francisco, 88 weeks (Golden Gate + Penthouse moveover)
4) San Jose, 88 weeks (Century 21)
5) Seattle, 77 weeks (Cinerama)

The longest international engagement I’ve been able to track was a 47-week run in London (Casino).

As for “Windjammer,” yes, Toronto had the most successful run in North America. I’m not sure if that was the world record, though. I imagine the film did well in the Scandinavian nations.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on November 20, 2008 at 5:54 am

Thanks, Michael. I now have another reason to admire the city of Toronto!

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on November 20, 2008 at 6:37 am

The Cinerama films that played at the Eglinton were not shown in true Cinerama. The theatre was outfitted with Cinemiracle equipment. Famous Players never installed a louvered 146º Cinerama screen at the Eglinton. The picture was huge, but the screen was of the standard single sheet variety with a very shallow, almost imperceptible, curve. It didn’t even have curtains. Talk about a bare bones set-up. The Glendale, on the other hand, was a genuine 70mm Cinerama house. I was the art director for the 20th Century Theatres chain that owned the Glendale during that period and was quite familiar with all of the first run houses in the city of Toronto.

Coate
Coate on December 21, 2008 at 3:52 pm

2001 ends record run (The Globe & Mail, 03 Nov 1970)
[i]The world’s longest continuous run of 2001: A Space Odyssey, came to an end last night with the Glendale Theatre’s 1,310th performance of Stanley (Dr. Strangelove) Kubrick’s science fiction epic. According to D.K. Watts, director of advertising for Twentieth Century Theatre, around 400,000 people saw Space Odyssey in the 708-seat house, bringing in just under $1.25-million at the Glendale.

[/i] Space Odyssey ends 127-week run (The Star, 03 Nov 1970)
The science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey finished its Toronto run at the Glendale Theatre last night with its 1,310th performance. D.K. Watts, director of advertising for Twentieth Century Theatre, said the 127 weeks in one theatre surpassed the run of every other theatre in the world. More than 400,000 people went to the 708-seat Toronto theatre and paid $1.25 million. Space Odyssey left to make way for the world premiere of The Song of Norway.

Coate
Coate on April 30, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Here’s a revised and updated version of the Toronto entry in the series.

THIS IS CINERAMA
Theater: University
Premiere Date: October 24, 1957
Engagement Duration: 24 weeks
Projection Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Promotional Hype: “The Only Theatre In Ontario That Can or Will Show CINERAMA”

CINERAMA HOLIDAY
Theater: University
Premiere: April 8, 1958
Duration: 15 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Sat In A Specially Built CINERAMA Theatre.” “Beyond Your Wildest Entertainment Dreams.”

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
Theater: University
Premiere: July 22, 1958
Duration: 18 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “You Walk Step By Step with Lowell Thomas Through Every Wonderful Moment. When The Pope Blesses the Pilgrims Through the Miracle of CINERAMA, You Too Are In The Picture.”

SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE
Theater: University
Premiere: November 25, 1958 (Canadian Premiere)
Duration: 16 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “The Biggest CINERAMA of Them All!”

WINDJAMMER
Theater: Eglinton
Premiere: December 23, 1960
Duration: 52 weeks
Format: CineMiracle
Hype: “There has Never Been Anything to Match the Miracle of CINEMIRACLE”

HOLIDAY IN SPAIN
Theater: Eglinton
Premiere: December 22, 1961 (World Premiere*)
Duration: 19 weeks
Format: CineMiracle
Hype: “The Newest and Greatest Attraction in CINEMIRACLE…not a Travelogue!” “A Rollicking Adventure Story for the Entire Family.” “You Live Thrill After Thrill in the First CINEMIRACLE Show with Story and Stars.”

THIS IS CINERAMA (Return Engagement)
Theater: Eglinton
Premiere: May 4, 1962
Duration: 3 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “The Wonder of the Motion Picture World.” “Do Not Confuse THIS IS CINERAMA with Any Other Kind of Entertainment!”

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD (Return Engagement)
Theater: Eglinton
Premiere: May 25, 1962
Duration: 3 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “There’s More Thrills to Live… More to See… More to Hear…”

SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE (Return Engagement)
Theater: Eglinton
Premiere: June 15, 1962
Duration: 3 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “Enjoy Glamorous, Exotic, Romantic Excitement! The Lure and Beauty of a Tropical Paradise”

WINDJAMMER (Return Engagement)
Theater: Eglinton
Premiere: July 6, 1962
Duration: 6 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “Toronto’s Favourite Motion Picture!” “This is the Saga of the Windswept Seas… Exciting Ports of Call. It’s Adventure and Romance in Faraway Places”

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM
Theater: Eglinton
Premiere: August 15, 1962
Duration: 21 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “The First Full-Length Dramatic Story with a Dazzling Array of Stars in CINERAMA”

THE BEST OF CINERAMA
Theater: Eglinton
Premiere: January 10, 1963
Duration: 11 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “It’s CINERAMA’s Greatest Moments in One Far-Flung, Fantastic, Unforgettable Adventure!”

HOW THE WEST WAS WON
Theater: Eglinton
Premiere: March 28, 1963
Duration: 38 weeks
Format: Cinerama (3-strip)
Hype: “The Great Dramatic Motion Picture That Puts You In Every Scene!”

IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD
Theater: Carlton
Premiere: December 20, 1963
Duration: 18 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “It’s the Biggest Entertainment Ever to Hit the CINERAMA Screen”

CIRCUS WORLD
Theater: Carlton
Premiere: July 29, 1964 (Canadian Premiere)
Duration: 5 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “CINERAMA Thrills…as the Wildest Wild West Show You’ve Ever Seen Rocks You With Breathtaking Feats of Daring!”

THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
Theater: Carlton
Premiere: March 31, 1965 (Canadian Premiere)
Duration: 7 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “Canadian Premiere / Presented in CINERAMA”

THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL
Theater: Glendale
Premiere: July 14, 1965
Duration: 11 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “How the West was Fun! See it on Canada’s Biggest, Brightest CINERAMA Screen!” “CINERAMA Sends You Roaring With Laughter And Adventure Down That Wide, Wonderful, Fun-Trail!”

THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (Return Engagement)
Theater: Glendale
Premiere: September 29, 1965
Duration: 8 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “At Popular Prices… A Rich, Rewarding Entertainment Experience for the Entire Family”

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

RUSSIAN ADVENTURE
Theater: Glendale
Premiere: March 31, 1966 (Canadian Premiere)
Duration: 10 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “In Metrocolor and Fabulous Stereophonic Sound. The Original CINERAMA Process Brings You the Adventure You’ve Been Waiting For!”

KHARTOUM
Theater: Glendale
Premiere: June 22, 1966 (Canadian Co-Premiere)
Duration: 15 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “Where the Nile divides…their mighty conflict begins!”

GRAND PRIX
Theater: Glendale
Premiere: January 25, 1967 (Canadian Premiere)
Duration: 40 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “CINERAMA sweeps YOU into a drama of speed and spectacle!”

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
Theater: Glendale
Premiere: May 30, 1968
Duration: 127 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “An epic drama of adventure and exploration that takes you half a billion miles from Earth…and into the 21st Century!”

THIS IS CINERAMA (Re-issue)
Theater: Glendale
Premiere: April 20, 1973
Duration: 7 weeks
Format: Cinerama (70mm)
Hype: “THIS IS CINERAMA Is Back To Entertain A Whole New Generation”

NOT SHOWN IN CINERAMA IN THE TORONTO MARKET
SEARCH FOR PARADISE
MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY (70mm reserved-seat engagement at University)
CUSTER OF THE WEST (35mm general release)
ICE STATION ZEBRA (35mm general release)
KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA (70mm reserved-seat engagement at Eglinton)

*HOLIDAY IN SPAIN was filmed in 65mm (Todd-70) and initially released in 1960 under the title SCENT OF MYSTERY and shown in 70mm and Smell-O-Vision on a reserved-seat basis in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Minneapolis. The CINEMIRACLE version was the same film minus the Smell-O-Vision component, re-titled and converted to the three-strip projection format.

Compiled by Bill Kretzel & Michael Coate

References: The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Variety

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on May 8, 2009 at 11:47 am

They replaced 2001 with Song Of Norway? I bet that they were wanting 2001 back when that one bombed.

Coate
Coate on May 18, 2009 at 8:24 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

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