REMEMBERING CINERAMA (Part 50: Portland)

posted by Michael Zoldessy on May 24, 2012 at 8:05 am

Medium

Back by popular demand!

The following is Part 50 in an ongoing, semi-regular 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 historical record of when and where Cinerama and its multi-panel clones were exhibited. These easy-to-reference articles serve to provide nostalgia to those who experienced the Cinerama presentations when they were new and to honor the movie palaces in which the memorable screenings took place.

Part 1: New York
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: Syosset / Long Island
Part 32: Kansas City
Part 33: Milwaukee
Part 34: Nanuet / Lower Hudson Valley
Part 35: Denver
Part 36: Worcester
Part 37: Toledo
Part 38: St. Louis
Part 39: Tampa
Part 40: Calgary
Part 41: Hartford
Part 42: Albany
Part 43: New Haven
Part 44: Sacramento
Part 45: Las Vegas
Part 46: Seattle
Part 47: Phoenix
Part 48: Orlando
Part 49: Cleveland

And now… Part 50: Cinerama Presentations in Portland, Oregon!

WINDJAMMER
Theater: Hollywood
Premiere Date: May 8, 1959
Engagement Duration: 13 weeks
Projection Format: 3-strip / 26 frames per second / 7-track stereo
Promotional Hype: “First CineMiracle Adventure!” “You’ve never seen anything like it before! The Giant Wall-To-Wall CineMiracle screen comes alive!”

THIS IS CINERAMA
Hollywood
November 21, 1961
20 weeks
3-strip / 26fps / 7-track stereo
“At last it’s coming to Portland! The Hollywood Theatre in the Hollywood District of Portland has been completely equipped at a cost of $125,000. The Hollywood Theatre will be the only theatre in the State of Oregon that can or will show CINERAMA Productions!” “[CINERAMA is] the only REALLY NEW wonder of the motion picture world.” “CINERAMA will never be shown in a neighborhood theatre and never on television!”

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
Hollywood
April 11, 1962
14 weeks
3-strip / 26fps / 7-track stereo
“YOU are there as you fly to the four corners of the globe including The Congo…Latin America…Middle East…Southeast Asia…and CINERAMA helps you live every wonder-filled moment as you have never lived before!”

SEARCH FOR PARADISE
Hollywood
July 18, 1962
10 weeks
3-strip / 26fps / 7-track stereo
“The New CINERAMA Presentation!” “CINERAMA turns your most fabulous dreams into the mightiest of all adventure entertainments!”

CINERAMA HOLIDAY
Hollywood
September 26, 1962
8 weeks
3-strip / 26fps / 7-track stereo
“The New, the 4th CINERAMA Presentation”

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM
Hollywood
November 21, 1962
12 weeks
3-strip / 24fps / 7-track stereo
“The first full-length dramatic story with a dazzling array of stars in CINERAMA”

THE BEST OF CINERAMA
Hollywood
February 13, 1963
8 weeks
3-strip / 26fps / 7-track stereo
“CINERAMA’s greatest moments all in one!”

HOW THE WEST WAS WON
Hollywood
April 12, 1963
21 weeks
3-strip / 24fps / 7-track stereo
“Exclusive! Only state engagement of this western epic in CINERAMA”

SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE
Hollywood
September 6, 1963
13 weeks
3-strip / 26fps / 7-track stereo
“New! And Never To Be Forgotten! CINERAMA Transports You To The Lush Tropic Islands…Adventure-Splashed With A Thousand Excitements!”

IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD
Hollywood
December 19, 1963 (Pacific Northwest Premiere)
44 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“The Biggest Entertainment Ever To Rock The CINERAMA Screen With Laughter!”

CIRCUS WORLD
Hollywood
October 22, 1964 (Pacific Northwest Premiere)
11 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“CINERAMA Puts You in the Middle of the Most Action-Filled Story You’ve Ever Seen!”

MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY
Hollywood
January 7, 1965 (Pacific Northwest Premiere)
12 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“Thrill to the Excitement, Fun and Adventure of the All New CINERAMA Presentation!”

THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
Hollywood
April 15, 1965
14 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“Presented in CINERAMA”

THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL
Hollywood
July 20, 1965 (Pacific Northwest Premiere)
12 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“CINERAMA Sends You Roaring With Laughter And Adventure Down That Wide, Wonderful Fun-Trail!”

BATTLE OF THE BULGE
Hollywood
January 19, 1966
14 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“At Last! The Super Action Show In SUPER CINERAMA. Unlike anything you have ever seen.”

KHARTOUM
Hollywood
June 29, 1966
8 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“The Great CINERAMA Adventure!”

RUSSIAN ADVENTURE
Hollywood
August 24, 1966
4 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“This is the ultimate in CINERAMA! This is the last word in truly incredible adventure!”

GRAND PRIX
Hollywood
February 1, 1967 (Pacific Northwest Co-Premiere)
30 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“CINERAMA sweeps YOU into a drama of speed and spectacle!”

CUSTER OF THE WEST
Hollywood
January 25, 1968 (Pacific Northwest Premiere)
7 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“Now CINERAMA makes it all live again! From the fury and chaos of the Civil War to the glory days of the 7th Cavalry…to the final earth-shaking charge at Little Big Horn!” “Told in all the sweep and spectacle of CINERAMA.”

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
Hollywood
June 13, 1968
42 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“An astounding entertainment experience!”

ICE STATION ZEBRA
Hollywood
April 2, 1969
8 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“Ice Station Zebra…remember the name, your life may depend on it!”

KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA
Hollywood
June 24, 1969 (Pacific Northwest Premiere)
17 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“The New Super CINERAMA hurls you into the incredible day that shook the earth to its core!”

THIS IS CINERAMA (Re-Issue)
Hollywood
June 8, 1973
4 weeks
70mm / 24fps / 6-track stereo
“THIS IS CINERAMA Is Back To Entertain A Whole New Generation”

CINERAMA FILMS NOT SHOWN IN THE PORTLAND MARKET:
HOLIDAY IN SPAIN

TRIVIA / NOTES:
Portland was among a few markets that ran CineMiracle before running Cinerama.

Portland was the first (and only) market in Oregon, the 45th market in the United States, and the 48th market in North America to equip for Cinerama presentations.

Compiled by Michael Coate

References: various issues of Boxoffice, The (Portland) Oregonian, and Variety.

Theaters in this post

Comments (22)

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on May 24, 2012 at 8:38 am

THANKS Michael for starting the “REMEMBERING CINERAMA” series again!

I notice the first time “THIS IS CINERAMA” was shown, it was 3-strip/ 26fps/ 7-track stero. For the Re-issue it was 70mm/ 24fps/ 6-track stero. It lost 1-track of stero/ 2fps/ did it it cover as much of the screen as the 3-strip?

THANKS AGAIN!

chspringer
chspringer on May 24, 2012 at 10:55 am

I can’t speak for This is Cinerama re-issue however I did see 2001 Space Odyssey and the screen was noticeably smaller than the 3 strip films. I ask the manager about it and he said it was to reduce picture distortion. To me it did not feel like Cinerama anymore.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on May 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm

70mm Cinerama films did look somewhat distorted on the original deeply curved Cinerama screens; there was an attempt made to deal with this in the printing of the roadshow Cinerama films shot in Ultra Panavision (such as “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” and “Khartoum”) called rectification which adjusted the degree of image compression across the printed image; this was not done for Cinerama films shot in Super Panavision (such as “2001” and “Ice Station Zebra”), so what the manager told you would appear to be correct as a means of reducing optical distortion, especially if the Hollywood had a deeply curved screen as imagine it probably did. Later Cinerama installs used a shallower curve to help reduce the distortion.

In addition, it has to be remembered that the images on each of the three-strip Cinerama films were six perforations in height (regular 35mm is four perfs high, 70mm roadshow prints are typically five perfs), so all the Cinerama 70mm Cinerama film images were always slightly scaled down from those projected using three projectors.

The “This is Cinerama” re-issue was on 70mm stock, so the image would have been slightly shorter than that which people saw who viewed the original three-strip version. There may also have been some image loss at the extreme edges because it has to be remembered that 70mm prints allocate space left and right of the image for the magnetic sound tracks, whereas the sound for the original three-strip Cinerama showings was on a wholly separate 35mm reel that ran through a special sound reproducer.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on May 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Thirty weeks for “Grand Prix”? I am surprised that film did so well in Portland.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on May 25, 2012 at 8:06 am

At the Palace in Tampa all 70mm films were shown on the Cinerama screen which had been masked down on both sides. I’m not certain exactly how much of the image was lost from 3-strip but I would guess about 10 to 12 feet on either side. When “THIS IS CINERAMA” opened in 70mm I recall the center panel was about the same width as 3-strip, but the two side panels lost nearly half their image within each panel.

Cinerama
Cinerama on May 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm

3-strip Cinerama had an aspect ratio of about 2.6:1. 70mm Cinerama Ultra Panavision films like Khartoum, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Hallelujah Trail and Battle of the Bulge had an aspect ratio of 2.76:1 so they looked fine on Cinerama screens. But the flat 70mm films like Grand Prix, 2001 a space odyssey and the 1973 re-issue of This Is Cinerama had an aspect ratio of 2.2:1 so they did not cover as much of the Cinerama screen.

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