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The “live” event featuring full orchestra conducted by Francis Coppola’s father used three projectors focused on a large screen in front of the curtain. The subsequent engagement(s) with a 70mm print were projected onto the Hall’s screen behind the curtain. This was discussed on this site at some length at the time.
Vindanpar, just dug this item out of my files…from the NYTimes
4/24/55: re VistaVision installation: “The screen now used at the Paramount is 64 by 35 feet…”
“In fact the use of them at the beginning of This is Cinerama was so effective it knocked audiences for a loop”
What actually knocked audiences for a loop was the abrupt change in screen dimensions, not the presence or absence of screen curtains. Somewhere on this site, possibly the New York Broadway or Warner Theatre sections, is a post from a gentleman who claims to have attended This Is Cinerama in its very first week at the Broadway and states that the vertically-rising curtain was not operating.
Some other local runs of the 70mm This Is Cinerama in your area were also presented sans curtains…I’m thinking of the Bellevue in Montclair NJ…not sure about the presentations in Nanuet and Hicksville. And, just for the record, the three-panel presentation of Abel Gance’s Napoleon at the Music Hall some years back featured its colossal screen in front of the Hall’s curtains.
re “…bare screen with no curtains…”
Not quite entirely true. An image of curtains was projected upon the entire screen. At the end of the overture, this image dimmed but the center section upon which the prologue was projected remained totally unlit to give the impression that there was soft lighting on curtains concealing the entire screen that had partially opened to project the prologue. Canby didn’t mention this in his initial review or in his Sunday follow-up piece. I’ve been told that a similar light curtain had been used years earlier at the Times Square Paramount when the VistaVision installation entailed the removal of the screen curtain.
Howard, the only real measurement would be size of screen against size/dimensions of auditorium. The Roxy’s initial CinemaScope screen surpassed in square footage that of thw Broadway’s Cinerama in 1953.
Yeah, Howard, glad you caught this. It’s complete gibberish. Perhaps the poster is confusing 65mm sensors (which collect the incoming light from the lens) with 65mm film. I agree that the practice of calling cameras with enlarged sensors “70mm” cameras is misleading.
Channels two and four in six-track mixes and their associated loudspeaker placements became obsolete in the nineties.
John, the opening of Disney’s 70mm “Sleeping Beauty” in the Spring of 1958 introduced the Goldman’s new post-scope screen on a deeply curved track which remained in place at least through the run of “Porgy and Bess” the next year and quite possibly as late as “El Cid” in 1962. This was the 2nd 70mm install in the area, the first of course being the 1955 introduction of the Todd-AO system at Goldman’s Midtown. And both installations were originally on curved screens which subsequently were replaced by flat projection.
27x63 ft single sheet screen on deeply curved track installed for the run. Theatre’s curtains had to be removed. Projected slide with pattern used for light curtain. Slide had a movable “flag” in the lower center section that was in place for the small-image “prologue”.
mh052 said, “The Stadium Theater was located just across the street from another George A. Hamid enterprise; namely, Aquarama, Theater of the Sea (Philly’s own big-time aquarium showplace), right on South Btroad St.”
Someone please explain how both the Stadium Theatre and Aquarama, if they were physically across the street from each other shared the same building address, namely 3300 South Broad Street, during the same time period.
To whom it may concern, Planet of the Apes opened at the Goldman on April 24, 1968, and not one day earlier! Advertisements in both the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Evening Bulletin indicate clearly state that Apes opened as the incoming feature of an “All Day Prevue” (a Philadelphia exhibition protocol in which the incoming feature is paired with the outgoing film to produce a double-feature billing for one day) with “The Secret War of Harry Frigg” as the outgoing film. The Variety magazine issue of May 1, 1968, in the “film grosses” section also states without reservation that the first week of “Apes” at the Goldman ended and was tracked by Variety on April 30. It grossed $47,000, btw. I’ve posted photos.
Nice work, Cinerama. Do you happen to have any photos or advertisement art for the digital presentation of This Is Cinerama over one weekend last year at the Music Hall? Thanks
What does “Krakatoa…” have to do with this discussion of
“Cinerama’s Russian Adventure”? And what is the city/theatre mentioned in the January 14 post?
And, I might add that the “Variety” review out of Chicago stated positively that the initial American engagement at the
McVickers (a Cinerama house since 1962) was the only one in the States to utilize a 3-projector Cinerama protocol for this release; the following dates would all be via 70mm. It never played the Philadelphia market in any format, however.
The ongoing comments on reddit would indicate that wherever a digital copy had to be substituted for the print (“H8 8”) the ratio matched that of the film. There may or may not be a “special edition” BluRay in the works maintaining the 2.76 as well.
A 70mm scope print, such as the ones for “h8 8”, are to be shown in the a.r. of 2.76 to 1. The 2.2 (or 2.2.1) ratio is the nominal standard for so-called flat 70mm prints. Keep in mind that on a given 70mm film, the actual projected image may be “hard-masked” on the print to attain any ratio that can be fit into the frame.
My expectations were in some ways exceeded. I had not been in the Riverview since its expansion in'the nineties, so I was pleasantly surprised that auditorium #13 (the h8 70mm room) and its
adjacent #12 had not been severely stadium-ized with the upper section resembling a height
ride at an amusement park. This nearly always leads to fuzzy multi-channel imaging and often,
as in the Cinemark XD rooms, a one-size-fits-all screen that diminishes the impact of scope.
That said, aud #13 here has a moderate rake with good views of its approximate 40-45 foot scope
screen, in the 2.2:1 ratio which means letterboxing for wider aspect ratios as was the case here. It would have been nice that, given the cost of the install (or reinstall since the original Riverview did have at least one set of 35/70mm machines) to have temporarily masked off the top and bottom of the screen. Throughout the print there was a green vertical stripe down the right side of the image, and the
image did often show off the soft focus often evident in UP70 photography. I will within the next
few hours post on the riverview’s page on cinematreasures.org three photos I took inside the
auditorium. Oops. almost forgot: the ticket taker graciously handed out the souvenir program booklets…nice touch!
I’ve posted three photographs. The one with the color information removed clearly shows
the contrast between the projected letterboxed image and the actual screen material.
Is 70mm being installed into aud #14 for “h8tful 8”?
Anybody have any idea of the expected image size of the reported anamorphic 70mm presentation of “Hateful 8” beginning Christmas? I’m assuming the a.ratio will be spot on. Thanks
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.