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I hope someone in attendance Sunday took photos, and will post them, of this installation. including screen and dci projector. Incidentally, while this was happening Sunday, demolishing teams were busily at work dismantling the auditorium of the Philadelphia Boyd, the 6th of the original US Cinerama installatiions.
More pictures, information at my new site thiswascinerama.com
The Town, as a Cinerama house, was more like the DC Warner than the Uptown….a “classic” Cinerama installation. Curtain track and screen outside of the proscenium…projection booths fully on the orchestra floor…ceiling not lowered. The Uptown was (is, sorta) of the so-called “Super Cinerama” design, with raised floor, lowered ceiling to give the effect of wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling screen. The Warner, of course, was of the classic Cinerama design.
Hal Wheeler, who planned to acquire and reopen the Boyd, passed away this past Monday (25).
Is this the Budco chain that operated in the Philadelphia, Pa. market?
Mike asked me about the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Cinerama engagements. Here’s my reply (SFP meaning “Search For Paradise,” SW is “Stanley Warner,” “WJ” is “Windjammer,” and “BG” is “…Brothers Grimm):
You’ll notice a few interesting differences. Cinerama in PGH had always attracted Cleveland visitors, and I have in fact reproductions of railroad tickets and advertisements for the local Cleveland-to-Pittsburgh “see Cinerama” train run which had become extremely popular . Then, Cleveland opened 11/56, siphoning off the PGH business, and 7W began to fall off late that year. SW decided to temporarily – it was hoped – replace Cinerama which they could do according to the Dept of Justice SW-Cinerama agreement since they were already SW houses. So, “Ten Commandments” came in, and while it did well, I have some articles and letters-to-editors grousing about the extreme distortion caused by throwing the image onto the deep curve screen from the upstairs booth. I forget what they did surrounding and between the SFP and WJ engagements. Somewhere in there, they was an almost-roadshow engagement of the eagerly-awaited (at least by Warner Bros) “Old Man and The Sea.” I remember reading that advance boxoffice was so dismal that they cancelled the reserved seat run except for the premiere night, and Old Man on grind ran something like only a week or two. Same temporary interruption of Cinerama happened to the Boyd but not until the Spring of ‘58 when SFP really tanked, the Boyd then running 35mm grind and roadshow (“Gigi”) until WJ. Both took out Cinerama for Ben-Hur in 1959, and came back with a bang with BG.
I’ve yet to find an eyewitness who can tell me how SW de-Cinerama’d this install…as the ones I saw in DC, Philly,and NY were each different.
“From that view, it leads one to believe that "Tycoon” is the theater name the way it’s emblazoned across the marquee"…
You should’ve seen it years later when the “Spartacus” artwork covered the vertical “Goldman” name all the way up to the “G”.
It was the Sansom St. Cinema which either began its life as a porno house or morphed into one towards the end, and I think was in the same block as but across the street from the Roxy. It may have also been under Sackett’s supervision that one of the most amazing double-feature bills of all time was shown: “The Wizard of Oz” and Tod Browning’s “Freaks” in one sitting. Among his other ventures, Sackett was also the chief proponent of a short-focal length lens attachment he marketed in the 1970-1980’s as “SuperVision,” which, according to him and his press releases was installed in at least two theatres in Las Vegas, and was even used at an Oscar ceremony for projecting the film clips utilized during the awards.
…And also. there were three, not two, CinemaScope 55 productions. Paul Mantz, aerial photographer for Cinerama among other things, shot “several hundred thousand” feet of C55 footage for a travelogue that Zanuck had commissioned, “Deluxe Tour.” When Fox decided on the wider gauge Todd-AO, this production was halted, and the footage apparently junked. Also, C55, in the 16 or so engagements where it was actually presented, did offer at least two “improvements” over standard 35mm scope. First, since the soundtrack (6 channel) was on a separate dubber, the entire frame (without any mag tracks) was used so that the original scope ratio of 2.55:1 was returned…which meant a wider screen image than CS35. (The C55 installations were the same ones that premiered the original Scope 35). Also, aside from Cinerama and Todd-AO (which was only in 3 or 4 cities prior to “Carousel”), C55 provided six channels of audio (including Left-Center and Right-Center). All other commercially released multi-channel formats for scope, widescreen, 3-D, or flat had a maximum of four channels.
Best I can think of is to run through microfilmed copies of the Phiadelphia “Inquirer” and “Evening Bulletin,” of that area which had full amusement sections, and also the weekly “Variety,” particularly in the “Picture Grosses” pages as well as the “Music” and “Concert” areas located towards the rear of this magazine.
Does anybody else remember the ridiculous law suit those Budco people tried to bring against the Philadelphia film critics who publicly decried United Artists' decision to book “Apocalypse Now” into this breath-takingly awful theatre? I’ve spoken to one of those critics since then…it all came to naught…the public stayed away from the Goldman in droves…and the suit was dropped. It would be difficult to find a worse theatre in the Philadelphia area nowadays…I said “difficult,”….not “impossible”
It this is the original D-150-equipped house, then you can be assured of at least one customer flying in regularly from New Jersey! Good Luck.
It seems that the gremlins who remove posts from these pages, especially this one, are at it again!
The CineMiracle production “Windjammer” did have a short 3-week run here. It opened July 1, 1959 with two shows daily at what was advertised as “popular prices,” one week after the roadshow run of “The Diary of Anne Frank” had ended. According to the Asbury Park “Press,” the installation included a wall-to-wall screen measuring 60 feet across by 25 feet tall, somewhat small for a CineMiracle showing, and full-seven-track sound. Nonetheless, it concluded its run July 22, to be followed by “The Nun’s Story.” Installation of the tri-projector equipment took two days; dismantling only one day.
“Arcadia Theatre in Philadelphia was the first movie house in the USA to install an organ”. Quite possible. It was, however, the first movie house in Philadelphia to install Dolby optical stereo..also Dolby’s short-lived “Quintaphonic” sound system for “Tommy” 1975..(I posted this in January 2005 here)…A fairly full view of the marquee, but not the large billboard above the marquee is in the “special features” section of the “Psycho” DVD. The Arcadia was hand-picked by Paramount Pictures to be one of the world premiering houses of “Psycho” in 1960, along with theatres in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston.
A few facts about the Stanley remodeling in 1959.
In December of 1958, Loew’s Theatres took a gamble by announcing a front-to-back remodeling of its Times Square theatres, the State, into something modernistic that would become a “destination” moviehouse. It worked, and was a huge success. It was also said that Loew’s also wanted a state-of-the-art premiere house for the upcoming MGM “Ben-Hur,” and the Capitol was deemed too large for a roadshow. The renewed State reopened in March with “Some Like It Hot” and continued referring to itself as the New Loew’s State until well after “Ben-Hur” had vacated the premises. Stanley-Warner theatres followed suit with the Stanley in Philadelphia. Its remodeled “New” Stanley reopened its doors on the evening of November 10, 1959 with celebrities such as Charlton Heston (who was about to appear two weeks later at the Boyd as Judah Ben-Hur). Opening attraction was the equally-as-modern Ross Hunter production of “Pillow Talk.” The Stanley, too, was a success, after its $500,000 facelift. The seating capacity was reduced to 2200, not 1300, and featured a lobby with “walls of formica and tile and padded doors of bronze and glass. The mezzanine has been transformed into an intimate lounge…six crystal chandeliers have been installed in the ceiling…For the comfort of the patrons the seating capacity has been reduced to 2200, allowing wider space between the rows of longer chairs on the main floor and ‘bodiform’ chairs in the balcony…Following a color scheme of gold and blue, the theatre has been completely recarpeted and redecorated with rich draperies. The stage will boast a traveler curtain, similar to the one that was used at the Boyd for Cinerama productions. It will be illuminated by flood lighting from the balcony. Also newly installed is a sound and projection system performing the showing of every form of medium…except Cinerama. Another innovation is the automatically controlled year round airconditioning unit…The only object remaining from the ‘old’ Stanley is George Harding’s mural, ‘Le Carneval,’ which will still be displayed in the lobby.”
All of the above, further commentary, and an artist’s sketch of the lobby is in the Philadelphia “Inquirer” issue of November 8, 1962.
The statement “every form of medium…except Cinerama,” is not quite true inasmuch as the ‘old’ Stanley was one of only a very few theatres that had installed the original horizontal projection system, VistaVision, which predated IMAX by more than a decade. And about that traveler curtain, and its lighting, which stretched across the entire width of the auditorium, not just the width of the proscenium, DennisZ in May, 2006 described the “pink” effect used for the “My Fair Lady” engagement. At the time, it was rumored that this curtain was the largest used in a motion picture theatre, except for Radio City Music Hall and the Great Northern in Cleveland.
It was, I supposed, a bit typical of the Philadelphia we-don’t-like-to-brag mentality of the time, that whereas Loews’s continued to boast of its “New” State for years, the “New” in Stanley lasted less than two weeks in local publications. It just reverted to the “old” Stanley if you didn’t know any better.
In the list of 70mm attractions, add “Fall of The Roman Empire,” which switched to a 35mm print when the film went off roadshow to continuous performances. And there we no 70mm prints of “Hawaii” distributed anywhere in the U.S.
I just found the following on the c.t. page for the Paramount in Asbury Park (theatre #222) concerning this Paramount in Long Branch.
“The Paramount Long Branch was also used for test exhibition of Cinemiracle and WINDJAMMER. The film was eventually exhibited at the St. James in July 1959. posted by on Dec 7, 2006 at 2:25am”
Does anybody know anything more about this? The film was also scored and tested in late 1957 at the Mt. Edens in the Bronx. Thanks.
Sorry, the above falling-of-the-plaster took place during the “Earthquake” engagement. And, btw, Sensurround was not used for “Towering Inferno.”
Sensurround = Earthquake, Midway, Rollercoaster, Battlestar Galactica, and (mostly in L.A. area) Zootsuit.
Story has it that a net was installed underneath the ceiling at the Hollywood Chinese to catch falling bits of plaster.
Thanks, folks! And the drawing that’s in the link in the topcities site mentioned 7/14 here is the one I was referring to.
A line drawing in the 1953 book “New Screen Techniques” shows what is supposed to be a Cinerama installation in a large theatre in which the three booths were not located on the orchestra floor, but were hung directly below the balcony above the floor. Would this be this Palace? And, also, is this the Palace that had a disastrous roadshow engagement lasting less than a week of “Citizen Kane” in May of 1941 while the film played simultaneously on “grind” at the Woods?
A shame, of course, that no one has photos of the auditorium, where, surprise!, surprise!, “the action was.”
The Rentzler Group presented its proposal to the Haddon Township Mayor and Councilmen Monday, June 23 to an enthusiastic audience. The other two proposals, which would have turned the building into either retail space or condos, were greeted politely. So, now it’s up in the air until the powers-that-be vote at some future date.
Thanks for the photo, Joe.
Could this possibly be the theatre that opened in 1967 with “Hawaii”?