Laserium takes over Hollywood’s Vine Theatre

posted by ChrisWillman on July 2, 2009 at 9:40 am

HOLLYWOOD, CA — The movies have ended at the 1937 theater originally known as the Admiral, later the Vine. Yet there are several screens set up in the theater just off the world-famous corner of Hollywood & Vine.

Laserium, which enjoyed a nearly 30-year run at the Griffith Observatory, has taken over the Hollywood movie house, which for years had played second-run double features to audiences that often numbered in the single digits. Will Pink Floyd, the Beatles, and Led Zep set to lasers be enough to lure a serious tourist crowd and not just nostalgic L.A. stoners? I wrote about the rebirth of Laserium, and the theater’s unusual adaptive reuse, in this L.A. Times story.

Walk into the Vine Theatre’s auditorium and you may be shocked at how much it still looks like the second-run movie house it was until late 2007. About 200 seats were removed to make way for a stage area and control panels in the rear — but the 424 that remain are the same funky orange seats that moviegoers of a few years ago will recall. They don’t recline like the Observatory’s chairs, but they don’t need to: Producers insist the days of chiropractor-friendly neck-craning have come to an end, because all the action is at panoramic eye level. Each show starts with animations projected on the former movie screen, then expands the action to three semi-transparent scrims closer to the audience, two additional screens on the side walls, mirrors, and — new to the Laserium experience, surprisingly enough — real mid-air effects.

“We weren’t allowed to put haze in the planetarium to light up laser beams,” explains Dryer, “so we really couldn’t do beam effects very well there, which always frustrated us”

Read the full post at the Los Angeles Times.

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