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I saw Ben-Hur at Cameron Village when I was a student at NCSU. A fellow student (really from the sticks)went with me, and he had never before seen a theatrical movie, so I didn’t know what to expect from him. Oddly, he thought the goriest scenes were hilarious. Go figure.
a full view of the original theatre interior is now at
Regarding whether D-150 theatres could show other widescreen movies on the full screen by 1973, the answer is YES. The Cinema 150 in Santa Clara (now demolished) showed both “This Is Cinerama” (70mm version advertised as Cinerama) and “The Sound of Music” (advertised as Todd-AO) in September of 1973. I saw them both, and they were projected full screen.
For a full view of the original theatre interior, see
I can state the the Ambassador was not a Cinerama theatre, because I was there at the time that “Grimm” and “West” would have been shown in that process. I had to go to Charlotte, which was the only venue in the state to have Cinerama capability.
The Wurlitzer slave console is still there (located on the side between some of the columns), and is in use. To see a video of it being played, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7Qjv_9zM9c
. The lobby Moller is also played frequently, also by John Lauter. The Detroit Fox is the only theatre in the US with its original slave and lobby organ installations intact and playable.
The opening of the Terrace spelled doom for the downtown National Theatre on Elm Street. At the time, Wilby-Kincey operated ALL of the indoor theatres in Greensboro, and was apparently under a court order to divest itself of at least one of them when the Terrace opened. So they chose to close the National, the oldest of the group. No other operators came forward to take over its operation, so it was demolished within two years of the opening of the Terrace.
Sleeping Beauty was reissued in 70mm sometime in the 1980s, because that’s the way I saw it at the Northpoint Theatre in San Francisco. At least, that’s the way it was advertised. I didn’t crash the projection booth to verify that. I went early enough to catch two showings consecutively, as I knew that would probably be the last chance of ever seeing it that way.
“Custer of the West” never played in Cinerama in Atlanta. When I attended that Atlanta premiere of “Krakatoa” (not a formal event) at the Georgia Cinerama, someone apparently forgot to open the dowser, and the film started with sound only (a big explosion). For a while we thought that it might have been a prelude, until we heard voices on the soundtrack. After about 2 minutes, the picture came up. The Georgia Cinerama (originally Martin’s Georgia Cinerama) was the only Cinerama house I know of which didn’t hide the Cinerama screen behind a curtain between shows, apparently aniticipating today’s multiplex practice of bare screens. This usurped the surprise of seeing such a big image when the movie started. It also allowed one to see the louvered screen (not solid), and someone must have touched some of them, causing some misalignment, which another viewer told me he thought resembled paint peeling. The Georgia opened on April 14, 1965.
Martin’s Cinerama had many names, in order: Erlanger, Tower, Martin’s Cinerama, Columbia, and finally Atlanta. It had two balconies, the upper one being sealed off by a false ceiling when Cinerama was installed.
I’m not sure from StanMalone’s lengthy May 15, 2007 article which movie played where, but here’s what I remember:
GEORGIA Cinerama: Mediterranean Holiday, Hallelujah Trail, Battle of the Bulge, Russian Adventure, Grand Prix, Krakatoa.
MARTIN’S Cinerama: 2001, Patton, This Is Cinerama (reissue). After it became the Atlanta, they presented a two-week sequence of 2001 & 2010, both projected on the Cinerama screen. Although 2010 was a 35mm print, it looked OK on the big screen.
Both the Detroit Fox and the St. Louis Fox also run summer films, and they’re both larger than the Atlanta Fox (virtually the same size and design).
For the full text of the above article, go to
The East Point was bought by Joe Patten when it appeared that the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta was doomed. He redecorated it in Spanish style, and painted the ceiling blue in preparation for the installation of twinkling stars like the Fox. The stars were never installed due to the expense of such a project. He obtained a Moller theatre organ and had the console installed on a lift; the lift however did not descend enough for the console to completely go below floor level. The theatre was to have been a venue for the 1978 ATOS Convention in Atlanta, but the organ could not be brought up to playable condition in time. As it was, a bunch of us ATOS Atlanta Chapter members gave the theatre a good cleaning for a non-event, and the concerts scheduled there were moved to the Fox, which by then had a secure future. The organ and furnishings were removed and sold before the building came down.
The Imperial Theatre was an ornate movie palace with appointments as good as those of the still-standing Carolina Theatre. In 1949 it was gutted, and the south half of the space became the Center Theatre. The Center is rather plain. Without checking to see if they were dimmable, fluorescent fixtures were installed on the walls. When the house lights were dimmed, these fixtures flickered erratically until finally doused. When you’re in the Center today, imagine what it would be like if it was twice as wide, and you’ll have a good idea of how big the Imperial was.