Hawaii Cinerama

1550 South King Street,
Honolulu, HI 96826

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Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 6/6/68

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Situated just outside the Waikiki area, this theater was Honolulu’s oldest operating movie house and one of its few remaining single screen palaces.

The Cinerama theater was actually constructed in 1928 and opened as the New Pawaa Theatre on 5th January 1929 with William Haines in “Telling the World”. It was designed with a beautifully Atmospheric Tropical-style interior. The theater was overhauled in 1962 and renamed the Cinerama Theater on its reopening December 11, 1962. In April 1968 “2001, A Space Odyssy” opened here.

Through the 1990’s, the Cinerama continued to be a haven for classic and second run films. However, with profitability hard to come by, the theater was closed in 1999, bringing an end to a grand chapter in Hawaii’s cinematic history.

The former Hawaii Cinerama, the theater that delighted millions, is now an auto parts store.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 105 comments)

Simplexbob
Simplexbob on March 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm

New to the Cinema Treasures site. Fascinating to look back at theatres one remembers from their youth. I remember while visiting my mother in Honolulu in the late 1940’s and early 50’s my movie theatre going experiences. The New Pawaa, later the Cinerama was just a block from where we lived. In those days most island neighborhood theatres did not have air conditioning, but instead had large louvered windows on the side walls which let in the trade wind breezes. Do other members remember that? Sad to read that so many of the old standby houses are no longer there.

thisisjohnbook
thisisjohnbook on January 17, 2013 at 10:12 am

Many movies viewed here, but I clearly remember seeing “Star Wars”, back when there was a line around the block to see it. I went with my mom and grandfather, who dressed up as if he was going out on the town.

sartana
sartana on September 13, 2013 at 5:49 am

Klipsch and Associates' ad announcing the installation of the Awesome HPS-4000 sound system at the Hawaii Cinerama.

BoxOffice March 1989

Vito
Vito on September 13, 2013 at 6:38 am

It all began back in 1981 when John Allen recommended and arranged for us to test Klipsch speakers in our theatres; we installed the first one in the new screening room at Consolidates home office. Before I left the company plans were being made to begin installing the speakers in all the theatres. John also designed a magnificent system for the Waikiki #3 theater using Klipsh TMCM speakers. A new 70mm system was installed under the brilliant direction of Cosolidated’s Wesley Inouye who did all the wiring himself. Even the 35mm optical mono system was amazing so great someone said it sounded better than a 70mm sound system in most theaters. To which Allen quipped “wait till you hear the mag 70”

sartana
sartana on September 29, 2013 at 6:14 am

So the Cinerama was equipped with HPS-4000 for 10 years before it was closed in 99.

Such a shame, first it was the Cinerama, then the Waikiki theatres, and finally the morons at consolidated decided to remove the HPS-4000 from the newly built Ward theatre. Apparently they fell for the marketing scam of these fake Imax systems.

Oh how I long for the old days.

Vito
Vito on September 30, 2013 at 3:53 am

It was all very heartbreaking to see all those magnificent theatres closed the worst being the destruction of the Royal and Waikiki #3 We had so many great plans in the early 80s to upgrade and improve all of those theatres with new sound and projection but then all of a sudden it was all over when the new administration came in and shut it all down. I had to feel especially bad for Wesley Inouye who put his heart and soul into the new #3 only to see it all torn down. All gone now, Cinerama, Waikiki 1-2-3, Kuhio and Royal, all that remains are a bunch of little boxes they call theatres but are nothing more than screening rooms.

papakolea51
papakolea51 on December 19, 2016 at 11:18 am

The Pawaa Theater was almost like a home to us in the late 50’s and early 60’s. My grandfather, George E. Lake III, was the manager of the theater and conducted Saturday morning “kiddies programs” that included him performing magic tricks (he was also a performing magician), kiddie games while he played music (musician as well) and birthday celebrations before showing a Mickey Mouse or other kiddie show. Needless to say, we were there almost every Saturday when we weren’t playing sports. I miss those days…next to the theater was a small seed store operated by a nice old Chinese man. He offered seeds and preserves in big jars as well as 5 cent green river drinks! My grandfather later moved to the Princess Theater and Hawaii Theaters in downtown Honolulu. Those were the days!

rivest266
rivest266 on March 11, 2017 at 10:49 am

This opened as Pawaa on January 5th 1929. Grand opening ad with pictures in the photo section as well as:

Found on Newspapers.com powered by Newspapers.com

rivest266
rivest266 on March 12, 2017 at 8:50 am

This reopened as the Cinerama theatre on December 11th, 1962. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

Coate
Coate on July 27, 2017 at 11:33 am

New Showcase Presentations in Honolulu article includes mention of the numerous Cinerama and 70mm presentations here and at other Honolulu cinemas.

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