Plaza Theatre

600 George Street,
Sydney, NSW 2000

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thornhill0
thornhill0 on July 9, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I seem to remember the Plaza had a brief period as something like Maxy’s Diner/New York Diner… something like that. It was open 24 hours, and it didn’t last long. It would be sometime in the 1980s. Does anyone have any information? Many thanks.

fishy1
fishy1 on January 31, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Worked at the Plaza 1968-70 as assistant to the chief operator. The plaza had the proscenium of its predecessor theatre, behind the cinerama screen. The theatre had very ornate ceilings that were hand painted with stars, moons and the like. The ceiling was not held up with poles. At the rear of the auditorium was the two entrances from the foyer.The bain entry was from the north side of the foyer. the second was facing the street and was only used to empty the theatre at the conclusion of the program.

The original bio box was in the elevated rear wall of the auditorium.Above the entrance. When redeveloped for Cinerama, three bioboxes were added to the auditorium. Able, Baker and charlie.The old room became the sound booth for the system and was accessed from the ladder behind able booth on the north side of the theatre. It also served as the file room for Hoyts Ltd head office.

The Original Cinerama screen was patented and was in three parts to match the projector booths. The two side screens were multiple 1" slats that could be remotely re-aligned to eliminate cross reflection. The centre screen was a single square sheet.

In front of Baker booth (in the centre) was the chief operators console. From here the operator could monitor and adjust each projector, to ensure that they kept in step with each other.

When I started at the Plaza they Had already shifted to the new single lense Cinerama format. As such they shifted into 70mm, Cinemeccanica 10s and after about 18 months changed from carbon arcs to Zenon Arc Lamps as a light source. As the original Cinerama screen was patented, a new single sheet had to be installed and yes as you guessed to pull it around a curve created a belly in the middle of the sheet and thus a slight distortion of the image.

At this time Hoyts had a number of theatres in the city. The Regent, George Street. The Century, George Street. The Palace, Pitt Street. The Paris, Liverpool Street. The Town, Pitt Street. The Mayfair and The Embassy, Pitt Street.

All these theatres were replaced with the Hoyts Cinema Complex opposite the Plaza in George Street.

brucek
brucek on January 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I saw the original three-way-split Cinerama “demo” film here….lots of exciting stuff such as a roller-coaster ride, the U.S. Navy’s “Blue Angels ” flight team and so forth. It was really an introduction to Cinerama.

Then I saw every Cinerama film that came to Sydney, including “Grand Prix” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”. I think “Alien” was also screened here.

Great memories!

johngleeson
johngleeson on May 28, 2012 at 11:42 pm

BEFORE THE PLAZA The site was home to several theatres, beginning with the Atheneum Hall which opened in 1907. It was renamed the Oxford Theatre for live events in 1908 and then the Colonial, a 1200 seat theatre in 1910 which showed films. Hoyts took over in 1917 with the name DeLuxe. See photo section for the DeLuxe. The Plaza opened on April 11, 1930 with “Dynamite” Demille’s first talkie. The Sydney Morning Herald reported “Mr. Eddie Fitch, formerly of the Oriental Theatre, Chicago, has been engaged as organist for Hoyts' new Plaza Theatre. Mr. Fitch came to Australia last year and has been acting as organist at Hoyts Regent Theatres in Melbourne and Brisbane.”

iatse311
iatse311 on January 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm

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mcdonalds plaza lobby…best looking mcdonalds i’ve ever been in

Mark747
Mark747 on November 20, 2010 at 5:48 am

Early photo of Plaza neon sign being erected:
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1962 exterior photo of the crowds attending Cinerama presentation:
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1966 exterior photo with Cinerama signage:
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paulsp
paulsp on October 30, 2010 at 6:11 am

Loved this theatre when it was a showcase of Cinerama, have very faint memories of “How the West was Won” in 3 strip format which for a very young boy was awesome!! I’m glad at least some of the interior is still there and the exterior is just great, the younger generation have no idea what going “to the pictures” was like in the 50’s and 60’s in those fantastic movie palaces – most of todays movie houses are unbelievably depressing, cheap and nasty!

Rogere
Rogere on January 6, 2010 at 3:51 pm

This was not one of my favourite Cinemas but when I visit Sydney often eat there it makes a much better McDonalds Restaurant.

AnthonyMe
AnthonyMe on January 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Hi Cinemamad — it had poles, but I don’t recall any obstructed views.

Rogere
Rogere on January 5, 2010 at 9:44 pm

It had poles inside the cinema holding up the ceiling luckily I never had to sit behind one.

AnthonyMe
AnthonyMe on April 27, 2009 at 2:06 am

A terrific theatre. As a young boy I think my earliest visit was to see ICE STATION ZEBRA. The size of the screen blew me away. Other memorable movies included THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, TOWERING INFERNO and, I’m pretty sure Dario Argento’s DEEP RED and William Girdler’s GRIZZLY screened there, too.

It didn’t matter how good or bad the film, being in the Plaza always made me feel special. Apart from the screen size and grandeur of the interior design, what I remember especially is that everything sounded awesome in there.

80sOgre
80sOgre on March 26, 2009 at 8:13 am

The northern end of the site ( planet hollywood ) was occupied by Orbit 600 video arcade from 1981 till 1994. the site were the rapallo stood, next to the paramount also became Westworld video arcade around 1980 and remained an arcade with acouple of name/owner changes until only this year did it shut down. got some great new (old)photos of the regent including two colour shots, upload when site is updated.

irishcine
irishcine on September 23, 2007 at 5:24 am

Some recent photos of the Plaza, Sydney are here.
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The Mc Donalds retains some of the original features, in what is basically a rather dark and modern McDos, but in the Planet Hollywood, perhaps appropriately for faux Hollywood,the cinema is all gone. It is still impressive from the outside, but as the street is narrow and busy, an unobstructed photo is hard to get.