Ultravision Theatre

747 S. Federal Highway,
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

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Grand opening ad

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1971, beautifully designed for acoustics, the Ultravision had round auditoria and large rocking chair seats. There were no center aisles so sight lines were unobstructed.

The two circular screens met with a circular lobby that made the place look like a cinema of the future. It became home to a multi-denominational church. It was demolished in February 2013.

Contributed by Al Alvarez

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

sporridge
sporridge on January 30, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Thanks for locating that grand opening ad, Mike. The Gold Coast Drive In (a couple blocks south) and GCC’s Pompano Cinema (2 ½ miles south) certainly weren’t celebrating that day. In particular, Pompano lost their lock on Disney product, and changed their policy to allow R-rated films.

The Ultravision fed my moviegoing habit from ages 9 to 24, supplying kiddie/summer matinees (often MGM and Selznick library classics) early on and later introducing me to the midnight movie movement. I know now that’s what they needed to do to keep the place solvent, but it was a nice coincidence to have those movies readily available. One hasn’t lived until they’ve stood in a long line populated with “A Clockwork Orange” and “Dawn of the Dead” fans.

Interesting that the grand opening ad mentions “Song of Norway” being presented in 70MM and stereo. A projectionist there in the later years told me they didn’t have the tracks for 70MM, and stereo wasn’t installed (south auditorium only) until 1980 (“The Elephant Man” being the first I saw with enhanced sound).

The Ultravision have other hoped-for spectacles in its early years: widescreen travelogues like “The RA Expeditions” and the psychedelic reissue of “Fantasia” (except for me and my mom, hippies occupied all 648 other seats — standing ovation for Mickey Mouse, mock cries of “Shame!” upon sight of the bare-breasted centaurettes, a massive cloud of weed…). They did their best to ballyhoo the likes of “The Great Waltz” remake, spelling out the film’s name all the way across the front of the building, decorating the lobby — and mainly to empty rocking chair seats.

I was there closing night in September 1985, purely by chance. A subrun of “The Emerald Forest” was booked on the north screen; I’d seen it in one of the crummy tube theaters elsewhere, and was eager to revisit it on a real wide screen. Spotted a tiny sign reading “Goodbye” near the entrance. The manager came over and thanked me for the support. He introduced me to the regional rep for Plitt, who made it official: the Ultravision was now deemed a dinosaur, and a church was moving in.

Almost 25 years later, I’ve been meaning to go to one of their services just to see what they’ve done with the place. It’s obvious that the former south screen has now been refitted with offices and classrooms, and the north round provides the house of worship.

Certainly not forgetting you Rocky Horror cast members, some of whom I got to know and write about for the local community college newspaper! Heard you guys were having so much fun they almost had to call the sheriff a couple times : )

sporridge
sporridge on January 30, 2010 at 6:05 pm

For more background on the Ultravision concept, check the commentary and links at:

/theaters/27447/

Also meant to mention that if the Deerfield Ultravision went out with a whimper, it was still packing them in almost to the end: “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “ET: The Extra-Terrestrial,” and “Beverly Hills Cop” each played for the better part of six months.

sporridge
sporridge on February 15, 2010 at 5:51 pm

1971 Palm Beach Post coverage of another Ultravision screen in the Broward/Palm Beach area, as the Dolphin opens in Palm Springs, with a concise explanation of the Ultravision projection process:

View link

Like the Ultravision Deerfield, the Dolphin was shuttered by the mid 80s, becoming one of the first local locations of Home Depot.

sporridge
sporridge on May 17, 2010 at 11:30 pm

The Dolphin page here at CT:

/theaters/31804/

Back in Deerfield, a “for sale” sign recently went up in front of the former Ultravision.

rivest266
rivest266 on October 24, 2011 at 12:22 am

I uploaded an ad from February 11th, 1971 with an picture of the theatre.

bobbydeerfield
bobbydeerfield on October 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm

No argument about the posted opening announcement. But I remember my parents having passes for a pre-opening test event at the Ultravision. Not sure, but it might have been a screening of 1971’s The Trojan Women.

AaronBBrown
AaronBBrown on October 27, 2012 at 7:09 am

I grew up in Deerfield Beach in the late 70s, and the Ultravision was the best thing about that town, next to the beach. It was a fantastic theater with the biggest most comfortable seats I’d ever experienced in a movie theater up to that point. I saw many great movies there, like Blade Runner and Raiders of the Lost Ark, both of which I watched over 30 times in that theater. I would go in for the matinee in the afternoon and stay through three or four viewings. The theater was so big and so dark that all I had to do was hunker down in the seat in between showings and the ushers would never see me. :) It also had one of the best sound systems of any theater I’ve ever been in. Four huge speakers with with something like 20 inch woofers mounted high on the walls on each side of the theater.

The first time I took the girl to the movies, in middle school, was at the Ultravision, Smokey and the Bandit 1977. Later when I was a teenager it became the place to go see midnight movies, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and hang out in the parking lot. I was sad when it closed and was converted into a church.

I remembered the Gold Coast drive-in as well, used to see Cheech and Chong movies there. It closed down in the 70s and became a hangout for kids before they tore it down. We built tree forts in the Australian pines, and ransacked the old buildings, nothing but bags of paper cups and popcorn butter mix left behind. It used to be the spot local kids would go to hide from the Deerfield cops when we skipped school. Tore it down to build the Winn-Dixie shopping center, we were so mad that they were destroying our hangout, several of us would go into the construction site every night with sledge hammers and axes to destroy what the construction workers had built each day. We were so effective in demolishing cinderblocks and insulation panels that the Deerfield Police Department had to post an officer there through the night to prevent the deconstruction havoc we wreaked every evening. :) The only thing that survived of the Gold Coast was a line of those tall pine trees that were left untouched, which may still survive even today.

sporridge
sporridge on February 27, 2013 at 1:54 am

Demolition began on February 25 at the former Deerfield Ultra-Vision Twin. Retail space appears slated to follow.

sporridge
sporridge on January 8, 2014 at 3:35 am

Coming soon where the Ultra-Vision once stood: Aldi. Additional stores supposed to follow.

JFisk
JFisk on January 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I watched the Ultravision being built in the late sixties . The grand opening was a big affair , spot lights , a few movie stars , and guest were dressed to the 9’s ( formal attire ) . It was absolutly beautiful , one of the last big screen , big sound theatres . I worked there from 1974 to 1977 . It was a great experience . The midnight movies were off the chain . We had local bands play ,than a short ( like the three stooges ) and than the feature film ( my fav was Led Zepplins “ The Song Remains The Same ” ) . It was sad to see it torn down but the experience of seeing 100s of movies will be with me forever .

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