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When I was a high school student in the mid fifties, the Queen used to be a art house and I remember seeing a lot of them at that theatre. In the late fifties, the theatre was made into a first run venue by Royal Theatres. A 70mm-Six stereo system was installed for the showing of Disney’s SLEEPING BEAUTY and I saw it and it was fantastic. The theatre was also Royal’s only road show venue and THE LION IN WINTER and PAINT YOUR WAGON played there as reserved seat engagements.
I was twenty years old when SLEEPING BEAUTY released and still remember one of the television promotion Disney did during the studio’s weekly telecast. As I recall, Disney’s weekly TV show was not yet with NBC but at ABC. Clips of the film was shown in letterbox with a stereo simulcast. There were no FM stereo receivers at that time and the only way to do stereo was with our local ABC radio affiliate broadcasting one of the sound channel and the the TV the other. All one had to do was place the AM radio about ten feet from the TV and set the volume exactly as the TV. It was a very crude method but it sounded very nice at the time.
I saw SLEEPING BEAUTY twice in 70mm. The first time was during it’s first run at the Queen Theatre in Honolulu. The theatre was not in Waikiki where most of the cities 70mm houses were but in the Kaimuki district on the outskirts of Honolului. Usually Consolidated Theatres, a much larger film exhibitor in Honolulu would have played the film but a rival chain, Royal Amusement Company with only a few theatres played it because they had a exclusive first run right to all of Disney film in Honolulu at that time. Herman Rosen the head of the chain went all out to equip it’s best theatre, the Queen with 70mm. where it played for a very long time.
The company’s flagship theatre, the Royal opened a few year later in Waikiki and that was where I saw it again in 70mm. The Royal was a gorgeous theatee and the presentation of SLEEPING BEAUTY was much better because the Royal had a larger screen and better sound system.
I saw ALIEN at Consolidated’s Cinerama Theatre in 70mm on their gorgeous curved Cinerama screen and the presentation was unforgettable. There was a huge turnout when I saw the film very early during it’s run.
I saw APOLCALYPSE NOW at the now defunct and demolished grand old Waikiki #3 Theatre in Honolulu. The theatre was not yet capable of 70mm presentations until it was remodeled a few month later. The Waikiki#3 was a beautiful theatre and although APOLCALYPSE NOW was a standard 35mm presentation with mono sound, I was very impressed with the film. I saw the film again many years later at another Honolulu theatre, the Waikiki #2 . This time it was longer and titled APOLCALYPSE NOW-Redux. I got to see it with six track digital sound (SRD) and the projected images was from a gorgeous dry transfer Technicolo print.
The Honolulu theatre section advertises FRIDAY THE 13th in “Big Screen” in one of their two auditoriums so I guess the Dole Cannery is now set up for IMAX.
Sorry about the Preston/Pepper mixup. I got it confused with the radio program, SGT. PRESTON OF THE YUKON my brother and I used to listen to when we little in the forties. Yes, the Road Show era was over when the films I had mentioned in my thread was released and that was a shame. I do not know if you were around during the peak of the era of these special motion picture exhibition. If you were, I am sure you will agree with me that they were very exciting times.
The main advantage of blowing up a 35mm film to 70mm was to make use of the wide format’s six track stereo sound format. I do not believe 35mm film makers made the decision to showcase a film as a road show just because of 70mm. There were many film that were blown up to 70mm that were not road shows including GREASE, THE JAZZ SINGER, STAR CHAMBER, SGT PRESTONS LONLEY HEART CLUB BAND, COCOON, YES GEORGIO, TOWERING INFERNO, and many others. Before 70mm , many special 35mm films were presented to the public as road shows. One such film was GONE WITH THE WIND in late 1939. Other were SINCE YOU WENT AWAY, DUAL IN THE SUN, IVANHO, QUO VADIS, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH and others.
With the introduction of Dolby Digital (SRD), DTS and SDDS, the advantage of 35mm blowups to 70mm became a moot point.
The very first public performance I was told was in Honolulu at the long defunct Royal Theatre in Waikiki. It was kind of like the previews I used to attend when I was studying photography in Santa Barbara, California when the studios would show news movies and have patrons comment about them on cards after the showing.
I own a copy of the movie on DVD with 5.1 sound now but for many years, I had the complete film on Super 8 with mag mono sound. The image was panned and scanned and I use to show the film to a lot of my teen age friends when ever they came to my home.
Are you still working or like Artie Wheeler, retired? I wonder how Artie is doing since he had retired. Do you still hear from him? I do not know if I ever told you but my movie going days are just about over. Unless I have an urge to see a film in a theatre such as 3D movies in Real D, I now wait for it to come out on DVD. Because I am semi retired and on a fixed income, I find spending close to seven dollars for a senior citizen movie ticket a bit much when I can wait about three more months and watch it at home in my excellent home theatre that features a sound system that is as good or better than many of Honolulu’s theatres. With my Blockbuster membership, I can watch about 24 movies a month for about $36.00 which also includes Blue Ray HD discs.
I just did some photographic work for Faith Tom not too long ago. She has a very good position at the main Fed Ex/Kinko store on Kapiolani Blvd here in Honolulu and she is very happy there. I told her about this forum and about you and said she would check it out. She still remembers you and asked me to say hello to you.
Not much is happening at the movies since Consolidated Theatres was taken over by another company except for the fact that it’s Ward Centre complex was voted by the public as Honolulu’s best movie theatre in 2008.
I too recall seeing WINDJAMMER in Hawaii but I it was a single projection 70mm print at the Queen Theatre in Kaimuki on a flat scope screen. I Also remember reading the specs for Cinemiracle and I understand it was very similar to three strip Cinerama and could have been shown at Honolulu’s Cinerama. I might have also seen it there too but I do not remember any more because it was very long ago.
CHITTY CHITTY BAN BANG also played as a Road show at the Kapahulu and that was a Joke! The film was shot in 65mm Super Panavision and all we got at the Kapahulu was 35mm and mono sound. They did exactly the same thing at the Cinerama with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. “Fiddler” was not shot in 65mm but many major cities played 70mm prints. I saw this movie in San Francisco in large format
All that is left of the Waikiki #3 is the sign from the old theatre. They did not demolish the Waikiki Twins building. I think they just renovated the interior and converted them to retail stores. I do not know if the VarsIty building is still standing but it will be torn down soon. As you knpw the Cinerama still stands but it now houses a auto parts store. Half of the Kapiolani is a Papa John’s pizza store and he other half is a Blockbuster video outlet. The Queen still stands and it is not used for anything. It is just deserted. The Waipahu Theatre building where I saw a lot of films when I was growing up is a church. The Royal Marina in now a Outback Steak house.
Hello again, Vito
Yes, THE SOUND OF MUSIC did indeed play at the Kuhio in 70mm also as a reserved seat Road Show engagement. I remember it playing over a year but during it’s final two months, they had to revert to a 35mm reserve print because the large format print was in a terrible condition, I am not sure if the back up print was a mag but I would have to guess it was not. Yes, Faith took the loss of her job as a very serious blow. I saw her several months ago and she seemed very happy.
By the way, do you still keep in touch with Artie? If you do, tell him I said Hi and I miss visiting him when he was at the Marina and later at the Varsity and the Cinerama.
Yes, I know Wesley Inouye very well. I also know the person who replaced him after he was promoted at Consolidated and his name is Alan Sakaida. I used to know a lot of people at Consolidated such as Betty Burns, John Militante, Scott Bosh, Phil Shimins-the CEO at the time and my very dear friend Miss Faith Tom who was vice president of theatre operations. It was a sad day when Faith lost her job due to Pacific downsizing their Hawaii theatre operation several years ago.
Hello again, Vito,
SOUTH PACIFIC played at the Kuhio in 70mm and in fact it was their very first in that format at that theatre. It was a Road Show engagement. Do you know, the Kuhio was Hawaii’s exclusive road show house for many years. I never used to see movie in fancy theatres like the ones in Waikiki when I was a kid but I used to remember my parents mentioning movies like DUAL IN THE SUN, IVANHOE, QUO VADIS playing at the Kuhio in Road Show. Although Royal had exclusive first run rights to Paramount’s film with their first film from the studio, ELEPHANT WALK, Decil B. Demille had insisted THE TEN COMMANDMENTS" play at the Kuhio because he wanted a venue in Waikiki and the Royal did not exist at that time. The Queen Theatre would have been fine but Demille insisted on a Waikiki venue and that is why the Kuhio got it. When his previous film, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, play in Hawaii, it was shown at the Kuhio as a Road Show when Consolidated still had first run rights for Paramount films.
By the way, someone mentioned in a earlier post on his thread that SUPERMAN 3 was the opening attraction at the newly remodeled Waikiki #3. It was not. The first film to play there after it was spruced up was MERRY CHRISTMAS MR LAWRENCE.
Although CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE 3RD KIND opened at the Waikiki #3 in mono, it than moved over to the Waikiki #2 and played in 70mm without Dolby encoding. I did not see the 35mm showing at the Waikiki because I just saw the movie in 70mm at the Coronet Theatre in San Francisco on my way home from a photographers convention on the east coast. I did go again to see it at the Waikiki #2 in 70mm and the sound presentation was good but not as great as the Coronet. If the theatre had John Allen’s top of the line HPS 4000 sound system which came later, it would have blown the Coronet’s presentation away. All three. Waikiki theatres and the IMAX had awesome sound and I still miss them.
I do not know if you still remember me but Artie had suggested that I visit you and when you were working at the Royal and I did. You were very kind to me by taking the time to show me your projection booth. You also gave me a few 70mm frames from the Todd Ao film, SOUTH PACIFIC which I still have.
We both know the Royal closed with TRON in 70mm but can you tell me why the theatre opened with Paramount’s BECKET in 1964 with a 35mm print? Not only was it in 35mm, it was mono print. You would think Paramount and Herman Rosen would have used the opportunity to launch the studio’s premiere venue in Hawaii in a grand fashion with 70mm. If a large format print was not available, why not at least a four track mag print? I just bought a DVD of the movie that was recently released and the sound in 5.1 Dolby Digital sounds great!
When Paramount’s FLASHDANCE opened in 1983, it played at Royal’s Marina#1 and not at Consolidated’s Pearl Ridge. I know this to be a fact because I just met and became a good friend of Arthur Wheeler who was the projectionist at the Marina and I used to visit him a lot during and after the long run of the film there. By the way, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was not the Royakl’s final showing before they closed. It was TRON in 70mm. I also know this to be a fact because I saw it there during the theatres finaal performance. That was a very sad evening.
The Varsity was originally a neighborhood theatre and was one of two Condolidated theatre to show Natural Visual 3-D films in the fifties. The other 3-D theatre was the Liberty in Downtown Honolulu. Years later, the Varsity became a full time first run house and many important pictures played there. It was also another theatre Consollidated used for road show’s by installing 70mm with the Hawaii premiere of THE BIBLE. Other 70mm pictures to play at the Varsity as a road show included STAR, THE SAND PEBBLES and DR. DOOITTLE.
-Claude S. Ayakawa
Hello, I am new here and this is my first post after Michael Coate invited me to register and comment about my first recollection of the first STAR WARS film. Honolulu, where I live did not play
the film on opening day but on June 8, 1977. It played at two theatres- Consolidated’s Cinerama
and the Kapiolani. Both engagements were in 35mm mono because both teatrees were not set up for Dolby stereo at that time. THe Kaliolani played STARS WARS for only a short period of time because the theatres was alredy booked to play other films. The Cinerama continued the run and became the exclusive showcase for STAR WARS in Hawaii for well over a year. I had to fly to Chicago to attend a professional photographers convention in July of that year and had planned to see STAR WARS in San Francisco at the Coronet in 70mm on my way home but I got to see it in Chicago for free! I still do not know how it had happened but a special screening of STAR WARS was held in t
grand ballroom at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare during the convention and everyone was invited. The showing was in 35mm mono and the presentation on a very large portable scope screen was very impressive. I did get to see “STAR WARS again in 70mm a few nights later in San Francisco at the Coronet as originally planned but slept through most of it due to jet lag. When I returned to Honolulu, I decided to see it again at the Cinerama in 35mm and went back to the same theatre in
November 1977 and saw it in 70mm. The Cinerama in Honolulu was one of several theatres in the country that had it’s showings of STAR WARS upgraded to 70mm after Dolby Stereo was installed in the house. The next two STAR WARS films also played at the Cinerama in 70mm on a exclusive basis.