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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.
This exterior of this theater can be partially seen here:
There’s an old, rather obscure, postcard view and additional information here:
And guess who will actually end up paying that “virtual print fee” through higher ticket prices and outrageously-priced concessions?
Furthermore, as should have been learned from the original 3-D period in the 1950s, and from the age of widescreen experimentation, 3-D (or Cinerama or 70mm) in and of themselves cannot make a bad movie better and excessive use of these processes on unworthy material ultimately contributes to the demise of their use.
A picture can be seen here:
I was there recently; I had not seen a film there since the theater’s AMC days. The screening rooms are getting rather shabby. With persistent reports that Landmark’s other Detroit-area operation, the Main in Royal Oak, will eventually close, and the apparent physical neglect of this house, one has to wonder what Landmark’s long-range plans are for the Detroit market.
If memory serves, the Mayland was, for a brief time in the late 1960s, a roadshow house. I seem to recall seeing “A Man for All Seasons” there on a reserved seat basis.
I have to disagree about Cleveland – while it certainly has not erased grittiness throughout the city, it certainly has done an incredible job of preserving most of its downtown movie palace treasures, something that New York City cannot claim. It may not be what it was in the past, but it is hardly a city in ruins.
Aside from the bargain prices, this one probably will not be much missed. I attended a few showings there; it struck me as a most likely having been former twin that had been chopped up into five small cinemas, just non-descript shoeboxes with small screens. The lobby was little more than a bland foyer with a small concession area. It’s too bad, though, that bargain cinemas are a dying breed.
Dave Strohmaier (“The Cinerama Adventure”) posted a neat flyer for the upcoming Cinerama showings of “HTWWW” and “2001” at the Dome on the “In 70mm” website:
This article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch mentions this theater; prospects for either re-opening or re-use do not look good:
The effect was one of Director William Castle’s infamous movie promotion gimmicks called “Percepto”.
You can read more about it here:
Your memory matches mine, WestlakeKid as far as it being opposite, not next to, the Roxy, perhaps just a little farther down 9th Street toward the lake. It was also very much a penny arcade in addition to the novelties it sold. I especially remember the steam shovel machines. I only went there once – when I was very young; I somehow lost track of my mother and remember crying on a step outside until she found me.
The Island Theatre had 705 seats.
Although far less a household name such as AMC or Loew’s, Trans-Lux has actually been a part of the motion picture exhibition business for decades, not only as a theater operator but has been involved in production, equipment and media distribution. It once operated a number of theaters in the northeastern part of the U.S. A company history can be found here:
Here’s a picture of the theater sometime in the 1940s
and one showing how the building looks very recently:
I lived in an apartment on the second floor of the store block opposite this building around 1990. I once looked into the the theater through the entrance at the right; the theater was being used then at as warehouse space by a furniture store. At that time, the seats were still in place as was the screen.
At its opening in 1939 in was the National theatre; it became the Rio in 1943. It should have an aka.
Not only do great minds think alike – they apparently all know where the Cinerama information is on the net and appear to make comments right around the same time!
Atlanta had at least one other Cinerama house, listed on CT as the Georgia Twin:
Also, this site has fairly comprehensive listing of Cinerama theaers world-wide which shows a number of other Cinerama houses in the southern states:
According to the entry for the film on Wikipedia, the theater used was the Mann 6 in Simi Valley, California.
And another here: