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Did many of the downtown theaters actually show CinemaScope full height as well as full width? I ask because in the late 1970s, a friend of mine was writing a story on film formats and asked me to photograph the Paramount’s screen in both flat and scope configurations. The Paramount management was very helpful and masked the screen for me in both formats.
I struck by the fact that at 1.85, the screen was larger and that they masked it vertically for scope — resulting in a smaller image. I still see many theaters of recent vintage doing this today.
Makes me wonder just how impressed folks were back in the day with scope films that were projected smaller than a masked presentation.
I well remember the Towne.
During the mid- to late 1970s, I attended Metropolitan State College and frequently took in shows at the Towne. The theater had the feeling of a small-town cinema. I remember few of the films I saw there, but I know I saw “Slither” with James Caan and “Wicked, Wicked” with Tiffany Royce. The latter is an interesting movie that I’ve never seen since. It was presented in “Duo-Vision” — a scope ratio image split down the middle throughout almost all of the picture.
What I remember most about the Towne is that a number of aisle seats were double-sized — presumably for couples.
Even unpretentious 35mm films often had a sense of presence at the Cooper. I can recall seeing Clint Eastwood’s “White Hunter, Black Heart” there in 1990 or so and some POV shots from an out-of-control an airplane managed to generate some oohs and ahhs.
An even better participatory sequence occurred when “The Empire Strikes Back” played at the Cooper in 1980. An over-the-shoulder POV from within a Rebel rescue ship produced dizzying results as the ship sped roller-coaster style down an undulating series of snow-capped hills.