Remembering Cinerama (Part 15: Northern New Jersey)

posted by Coate on December 12, 2008 at 8:00 am

REMEMBERING CINERAMA
Part 15: Northern New Jersey

The following is Part Fifteen 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, historical record 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
Part 12: Toronto
Part 13: Columbus
Part 14: Montreal

And now…Part 15: Cinerama Presentations in Northern New Jersey (Montclair and Upper Montclair)!

WINDJAMMER
Theater: Bellevue
Premiere: December 25, 1959
Engagement Duration: 37 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinemiracle
Promotional Hype: “So Full of Beauty, It Takes the Breath Away” — Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

THIS IS CINERAMA
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: August 25, 1960
Duration: 16 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “It’s Worth A Trip To Montclair. The World’s Most Exciting Entertainment Is Coming To You!”

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: December 25, 1960
Duration: 23 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “An Entertainment Of Such Irresistible Fascination…That Only The Miracle Of CINERAMA Could Encompass It! See It Now Or Miss It Forever!”

SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: June 5, 1961
Duration: 15 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: None

CINERAMA HOLIDAY
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: September 18, 1961
Duration: 14 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “The Perfect Family HOLIDAY! So Much to See…A Whole World of Entertainment Awaits You at CINERAMA HOLIDAY…And You Can See It ONLY at the New Clairidge Theater.”

SEARCH FOR PARADISE
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: December 22, 1961
Duration: 17 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “The Perfect Family Show! Exclusive in New Jersey! There Are No Thrills Like CINERAMA Thrills!”

WINDJAMMER (Return Engagement)
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: April 21, 1962
Duration: 21 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “First Time in New Jersey in the CINERAMA Process”

HOLIDAY IN SPAIN
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: September 11, 1962
Duration: 10 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “You Feel the Suspense…You Live the Thrills of…CINERAMA’s Newest, Never-Before-Shown Adventure!”

SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE (Return Engagement)
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: November 21, 1962
Duration: 3 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: None

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: December 12, 1962
Duration: 23 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “Wonderful Entertainment for the Entire Family!”

THE BEST OF CINERAMA
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: May 23, 1963
Duration: 8 weeks
Format: 3-Strip Cinerama
Hype: “CINERAMA’s Greatest Thrills All In One Great Fabulous Technicolor Entertainment”

HOW THE WEST WAS WON
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: July 17, 1963
Duration: 39 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
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: April 21, 1964
Duration: 34 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “The Biggest Entertainment Ever To Rock The CINERAMA Screen With Laughter!”

CIRCUS WORLD
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: December 14, 1964
Duration: 16 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “CINERAMA Surrounds You With The Greatest Thrill-Packed Story Ever Filmed!”

MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: April 5, 1965
Duration: 11 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Shown on the Largest Screen in New Jersey”

THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: June 22, 1965
Duration: 31 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Only New Jersey Showing”

RUSSIAN ADVENTURE
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: February 8, 1967
Duration: 6 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: None

GRAND PRIX
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: March 22, 1967
Duration: 23 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “CINERAMA Sweeps You Into A Drama Of Speed And Spectacle!”

MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY (Return Engagement)
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: August 30, 1967
Duration: 8 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “The Perfect Family Show! In The Tradition of WINDJAMMER”

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: July 17, 1968
Duration: 36 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “An Epic Drama Of Adventure And Exploration!”

ICE STATION ZEBRA
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: March 26, 1969
Duration: 12 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Ice Station Zebra…remember the name, your life may depend on it!”

KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA
Theater: Clairidge
Premiere: August 20, 1969
Duration: 8 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “The New CINERAMA Hurls You Into The Incredible Day That Shook The Earth To Its Core!”

THIS IS CINERAMA (Re-Issue)
Theater: Bellevue
Premiere: August 8, 1973
Duration: 9 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “THIS IS CINERAMA Is Back To Entertain A Whole New Generation”

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (Re-Issue)
Theater: Bellevue
Premiere: September 1, 1978
Duration: 4 weeks
Format: 70mm
Hype: “Before STAR WARS There Was…And There Always Will Be 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY…Now In CINERAMA, 70mm & 6-Track Stereophonic Sound”

NEVER SHOWN IN CINERAMA:
THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL
BATTLE OF THE BULGE
KHARTOUM
CUSTER OF THE WEST

Compiled by Bill Huelbig & Michael Coate

Source: The Record and The Star-Ledger

Comments (18)

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on December 12, 2008 at 10:51 am

I am looking forward to the intallments on Detroit and Cleveland, the places where I saw most of the Cinerama films.

pbubny
pbubny on December 12, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Unlike the Clairidge, the Bellevue in its single-screen glory days did not have the deeply curved screen you normally associate with Cinerama. (Both theatres have since been subdivided, sadly, and you could never tell that they were once 70mm showcase houses.) So while the Bellevue ran its share of exclusive 70mm engagements, it wasn’t really set up to make a Cinerama impression. The ‘78 re-issue of “2001,” ostensibly in Cinerama, didn’t really look any different from the Super Panavision engagement there two years earlier, except that the print in '78 was in much worse shape.

markp
markp on December 12, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Yes Paul it is sad what happened to these 2 theatres. The Bellevue is now a quad, (2 up, 2 down), and the Clairidge is a 6-plex, with theatres going down, sideways, and even on all the way down where the screen and stage once were. Its just a shame no one has any regards for the past.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 13, 2008 at 6:40 am

The one good thing I can say about the Clairidge: they always show the low-budget independents and limited-release studio films you can’t usually see outside of Manhattan. But everytime I go there I can’t help feeling sad about the building itself. I still remember how awesome it was in 1963 when I saw “How the West Was Won” there in Cinerama.

They had framed photos of the old Cinerama days in the lobby (which I took pictures of a couple of years ago, and had my camera confiscated for the evening because of it – you can see the pictures on the Clairidge page at 1/23/07 –/theaters/6348/). Now I believe even those photos have been taken down, and with them the last vestiges of the Clairidge’s glorious past.

telliott
telliott on December 13, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Yes Bill, the pictures are still on the Clairidge cinema treasures site, great to see!

Twistr54
Twistr54 on December 14, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Very interesting ! I like to look at them all, read about the theatre etc. You re doing a great job on this. I live between Chicago and Detroit in Michigan, and I also, am looking forward to the Detroit segment on Cinerama.
And did Grand Rapids ever have a Cinerama for a short time ( like no more than 2-3 years)in the 50s when it came out, in an old downtown creeky filthy theatre? I had been told, but I can not find any information about it. And they could of been mistaken and ment CinemaSCOPE, also, having to do with a large screen. CHEERS.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 15, 2008 at 4:29 am

Thanks Tim. The last time I was at the Clairidge, the photos were taken down from the lobby walls. Don’t know if that was permanent or not. I couldn’t figure out why they’d want to do such a thing – having once been a Cinerama theater should be a source of great pride. Now I’m really glad I took those pictures of them.

Coate
Coate on December 15, 2008 at 9:41 am

Twistr54…
I’m not aware of Grand Rapids ever having a Cinerama theater. The Midtown ran some roadshows (presumably in 35mm) such as THE SOUND OF MUSIC (71-week run!), so perhaps that’s the theater being thought of.

Grand Rapids also had the Eastbrook, which was promoted during the late 1960s as the only Michigan theater outside Detroit with 70mm presentation capability.

DARCYDT
DARCYDT on December 15, 2008 at 11:26 am

I really enjoy the theater listings when you list all the films to play big screen theaters like for San Diego. Where I live in New York you’ve done the late Astor Plaza and the Ziegfeld which brought back a lot of memories of films I had seen there in the 80’s and 90’s. Will you be adding any histories soon?

Coate
Coate on December 16, 2008 at 7:13 am

dantop500…
Yes, in addition to continuing this Cinerama series, I do plan to post in the coming weeks and months more theater history booking lists. Thanks for your interest! The most recent one I posted was for San Francisco’s Northpoint, which I doubt many readers have seen given the lack of comments since its posting.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 16, 2008 at 12:36 pm

I’ve been to the clairidge only once, and that was for Life is Beautiful. Sound and picture were so-so, but the movie was enjoyable. I didn’t know that it once had Cinerama until I read about it on this page.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 16, 2008 at 12:45 pm

When I saw David Lynch’s “The Straight Story”, a 2.35:1 widescreen film, at the Clairidge in 1999, the extreme left side of the image was off the screen and projected on to the theater wall. What a comedown from the Cinerama days. I can still remember the way certain shots from “How the West Was Won” looked on that huge curved screen, even after 45 years.

Twistr54
Twistr54 on December 16, 2008 at 2:32 pm

The original theatre, screen #1 at Studio 28 was also equipped to run 70MM. They had a special Breakfast Club 70MM showing in 86 or 87, a chairty showing. Eastbrook was awesome until it was split.

Coate
Coate on December 18, 2008 at 3:18 pm

“The Breakfast Club”??? In 70mm???

DavidMorgan
DavidMorgan on March 24, 2009 at 3:34 pm

The Bellevue’s 70mm presentation of “2001” in 1978 was flat, and if I recall correctly, when the credits ran at the end, the title card IN CINERAMA had been crossed out with a black magic marker, a frame at a time, with the ink barely adhering to the film, creating a sort of pixellated effect.

Coate
Coate on May 18, 2009 at 11:26 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

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on May 18, 2010 at 11:12 am

Another old 70mm theater bites the dust. Cinema 23 in Cedar Grove, which used to have one huge 70mm screen before being chopped up into 5 35mm screens at the start of the 1990’s, has closed its doors after a lease was not agreed between Clearview and the owner of the shopping center.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on May 18, 2010 at 11:12 am

Cinema 23 didn’t show Cinerama, my mistake.

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