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It was called Eitel’s Palace when the first Cinerama film was shown there. Although Cinerama premiered in New York in 1952, Chicago’s first showing was in July of 1953.
That is a nice picture, one I had not seen before.
However the accompanying text is incorrect as regards the Cinerama projection booths at the Palace, As noted above, they were suspended from the balcony overhang, in front of the loge boxes, not attached to the auditorium floor.
The accompanying diagram (which appeared in a number of Cinerama programs and in other places) also suggests that most Cinerama installations had the booths at the top of a balcony. Except for a few purpose-built installations (such as the Martin and Cooper Cinerama theaters – where the booths were archtecturally blended into the side walls),the booths were on the main floor in order to to achieve the necessary straight-ahead projection of the images and alignment of the panels.
I wish though there was more clarity about the claim that these “digital IMAX screens will be 25% larger than average screens.” Some of AMC’s existing screens are very small, so I wonder what what the current “average screen” currently is.
If it means 25% larger than average existing IMAX screens worldwide, then I might be impressed (though I still think Cinerama and the original Todd-AO were more immersive processes; to me, though I like IMAX, it’s a case of bigger not being better).
Yes, I am sorry if you misunderstood. I meant that neither the IMDb nor Wikipedia cites the source for this claim, and neither source is error free.
Linda: I just discovered that the museum on the campus of Michigan State University also has a project focusing on stained glass. Although it focuses on stained glass in Michigan, the related web pages reveal that staff there know a great deal about artisans and manufacturers from around the country. Information here:
I agree LMB; for so many us so fortunate to have seen “This Is Cinerama” in the 1950s in one of its original presentations, it was an indelible, etched-in-the brain and memory experiences. I have seen many attempts to recreate that thrill, (at world’s fairs, IMAX, Omnimax
3-D, CircleVision 360, etc.) but really, no matter how good (and many are very good) still nothing else really compares.
I went to see a film at Chestnut Station once though I can’t remember the film. My recollection was that the building was very intriguing, but the screening rooms themselves unremarkable.
Personally, (and I will admit up front that I am no fan of the film) the claim that the original release prints of “Scarface” were identical to the version that DePalma submitted to the MPAA I think could well be an urban legend. The trivia item cited above is virtually identical to the wording on this matter as found in the “Scarface” entries for the film on Wikipedia and on the IMDb and no sources are cited there.
Further, I find it unlikely that if twenty people were involved in rating this film that none of them, given how controversial the film was at the time of its release, would not have gone to see it in a theater and noticed that the released version was not the one given the “R”, especially since records of the ratings process are kept by the MPAA. I remember seeing the film during its original release, and at the time, many papers were reporting that the chainsaw scene especially was cut.
I am looking forward to the intallments on Detroit and Cleveland, the places where I saw most of the Cinerama films.
Thanks, Linda T. I certainly am no expert, but I too think this looks like a Tiffany window, especially that feather glass. What little I found about the Kinsella Company suggested that they regarded themselves as competitors to Tiffany. Good luck in your research. Perhaps you might post your findings when you determine who made it, and where it was originally was displayed.
I should have added in that regard that you might also want to contact the the League of Chicago Theatres – 228 S. Wabash, Suite #200 Chicago, IL 60604 312-554-9800.
They are a trade association that represents many theatre groups in Chicago. It would not surprise me if they have a Chicago theater history buff either on their staff or about whom they are aware who might know of theatre companies that once called a former church building a home.
Here’s another thought: I kept trying to remember where I had seen something similar, and finally realized that that I was thinking of the archangel stained glass windows in the apse at Our Lady of Mr. Carmel church on Belmont Avenue in Chicago. These were executed by the John J. Kinsella Company which was operating in the early part of the previous century; they made many stained and art glass windows. I can’t find anything much about the company on the net, but the stained glass museum (Smith Museum of Stained Glass) referred to by BWChicago is at Navy Pier, and there staff may indeed know something that might help you.
There are pictures of the Mt. Carmel windows at:
and church staff may also know something helpful to you.
I also think that the theater in which which this was originally displayed could quite possibly have been for live theater, and was once a former church. A possibility would be to talk to staff at the Chicago Historical Society; their website is:
They could probably identfy experts on the history of Chicago legitimate theaters and troupes who might have converted former church facilities as their venues. This is not an uncommon use for former churches, just as some former theaters have become church buildings.
Perhaps it came from a church or some other areligious building that was later converted to a theater.You might want to contact the the Theatre Historical Society of America about this:
Theatre Historical Society of America
York Theatre Building
152 N. York Street, 2nd floor
Elmhurst, IL 60126-2806
Ph. (630) 782-1800
Fax (630) 782-1802
They do charge for their research services.
There was an Angelus Theater on 51st Street in Chicago; it’s long gone but it has an entry here on CT.
It is odd – and inconsistent – how people react to changes of ownership in terms of how they think a theater should continue to be identified.
I can think though of one case that is almost the reverse – Graumann’s Chinese – so many people kept calling it that after it became Mann’s Chinese that finally the Mann Company finally formally renamed and re-signed it, even though (obviously) Sid Graumann hasn’t owned the theater for quite some time.
Or take the case of the Loew’s Jersey; it hasn’t been owned by the Loew’s Corporation or any of its successors for years, yet the name remains. (The operator calls itself “Friends of the Lowe’s” not “Friends of The Jersey”). There are a number of other former Loew’s-owned theaters that people keep referring to as “Loew’s_____” even though the theaters have different owners.
However, my interest in the the “Old State Theater” article was the fact that it was the first time I had ever heard of an operator taking steps to pack up the theater’s name along with her projectors and screen as if it were a tangible item and the possible confusion that might result when a new building in the same town gets the name.
That’s one reason I posted this. Here on CT – and I think in general – a theater is thought of as a building. Here’s a case where it is being regarded as a business name and, well, “portable”.
I imagine that if and when the lady re-establishes her business at another location, and that location is called “Old State Theatre” and is entered on CT, the headnote will reflect these circumstances. It also appears that what is now the Old State Theater in Auburn will eventually have a new name, and “Old State Theater” will become one of its akas and hopefully lessen the confusion.
OK, here’s the story:
This would appear to create an odd situation for the theater’s entry on CT as the article indicates that the owner has copyrighted the name “Old State Theater” and apparently intends to use it as the name of her relocated cinema. I think this theater’s status should now be, or soon be, closed.
According to its website, the Old State Theatre is “moving” from its current address after Dec. 4, 2008. Does anyone know what this means?
I was sorry to read that the Commodore is no more, though its demise was probably inevitable, given the decayed state of the building and the general decline of the neighborhood over the years. I recall seeing many films there while growing up in Cleveland, among them an odd, Canadian-made, partial 3-D film called “The Mask” (not the one with Jim Carey) and “Mysterious Island”. I think the seat count of 650 may not be accurate; I remember it being larger than that, but the last time I was there was over 35 years ago. The ceiling was dominated by a huge light fixture, like a large, thick wheel divided into pie-like wedges of red glass.
The EST was never apparently used as a movie theater. You might want to look at the entries for the EST on either Wikipedia or the Internet Broadway Database (IBDB) for its history (which is interesting). It would not be appropriate to post the details here.
I would also suggest that the problem is that it’s an Omnimax rather than an IMAX; there is a far smaller number of films made for Omnimax presentatation compared to the number that are available in IMAX. Most of these domed Omnimax theaters are attached to museums or similar facilities and most of the films are documentaries. IMAX theaters, now often a part of multiplexes as well as museums, can also show conventional 70mm and other films. To succeed in a smaller city, the ability to change the program more frequently is probably essential.
It is possible that the Palace and the Poli are the same theater. S.Z. Poli once operated a chain of the theaters in Connecticut and Massachusetts, many of which were named “Palace;” many were Thomas Lamb designs.
This theater is revered by thousands of Cinerama fans for being the place where, for about three wonderful years – about 1996-1999 – real, three-panel Cinerama was shown in the United States for the first time in over thirty years. More information can be found here:
I made the trip to Dayton three times during that time, tearing up when that magnificent overture preceding “How the West Was Won” began, and reliving the thrill of “This Is Cinerama” which I had not seen since that morning in 1957 when my family all went to see it at the Palace Theater in Cleveland.
This revival was instrumental in creating the momentum that ultimately resulted in the installation of three-panel Cinerama capability at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood (which, despite its name, was never exhibited a three-panel Cinerama film there until 2002 following a major renovation), and the reinstallation of three-panel at the Cinerama Theater in Seattle after a sweeping renovation there as well.
This IMAX theater actually opened in 1986 as a part of the Canadian Pavilion exhibit which was housed in what is now Canada Place. (Canada Place was connected to the main Expo site at False Creek by a Skytrain shuttle line). Upon entering the pavilion, fairgoers saw a documentary film that was made in Douglas Trumbull’s Showscan process. Then each fairgoer had to choose one of three additional presentations, one of which was in the IMAX theater. That film was in 3-D, one of the first, if not the first, IMAX 3-D film. Except for the IMAX theater, the other theaters that were part of the Canadian exhibit were temporary and ceased to exist after Canada Place took on its permanent role as cruise ship terminal and convention center.
What a thrill it must be to see a computer server in operation! Look at those little flashing lights!
Pictures and a reminiscence here:
According to the Balaban & Katz Foundation website, this was, at least at one time, a B & K operated theater.