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With John Pike as architect, the Carib Theatre was one of the most unusual Atmospheric style theatres ever built. The walls and ceiling of the auditorium were designed to create the illusion of being under the Caribbean sea, looking up at the surface. The auditorium was also egg-shaped, with the front end shirred off to create a circular stage area, which was fully equipped for live performances in support of the movies.
When the Carib Theatre first opened in April, 1938, it was the largest building of any kind on the island of Jamaica. Its huge interior measured 1 million cubic feet! The 1,750 seats were divided among the orchestra, balcony, and a small mezzanine that was situated along the right wall. In the late-1940’s it was taken over by the British owned Rank Organisation. The Carib Theatre was reported to be the highest-grossing movie theatre in the entire Caribbean. In 1954, its round proscenium had to be demolished to permit installation of a 54 feet wide CinemaScope screen. In 1982, a new sound system was installed that experts claimed was one of the best in the world due to the acoustics of the egg-shaped auditorium.
Sadly, in 1997, the interior of the Carib Theatre was totally destroyed in a fire that started in the ceiling. The exterior walls were saved, and now contain five cinemas operated by the Palace Amusement Company, Ltd.
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