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Cinemiracle Theatre Surveys

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: R. H. McCullough. Prepared for in70mm.com by: Anders M. Olsson (Sweden). The Theatre List retyped by Brian Guckian (Ireland)Date: 16.10.2017
Cinemiracle Studio Screen, Mt. Eden, New York. Dick Pietschman Collection

1. It is best to select a first run, established theatre, preferably one in which such pictures have been run as SOUTH PACIFIC and AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS.

2. Many of these houses are acceptable for our process with a straight projection throw.

3. They already have 6-track stereophonic sound and a booth of suitable size to house our three projectors, with a slight modification to the projector ports.

4. The McVickers Theatre in Chicago is a good example. The projection room was equipped with three Philips projectors. The three projectors belonging to the theatre were removed and our three Cinemiracle machines were installed in their place. Fortunately the projector ports were of sufficient size. We even used their direct current supply including the wiring, and the three projector lamps and the Ampex amplifier equipment, which resulted in a tremendous saving in labor and equipment.

5. Most established road show houses have a straight projection throw, which is in our favor for the best possible Cinemiracle projection without distortion.

6. Where most 70 millimeter pictures have been shown, the screen size has been impressive and has planted in the minds of potential customers splendor and dignity, that has powered the film to excellent box office results.

Referring again to the McVickers Theatre in Chicago, the Todd-AO screen picture size was 50 feet across the cord for their projection. During my survey I found an extra 3 feet of screen material on each side unused, which increased the picture size for Cinemiracle to 56 feet. This was the limit to which the picture width could be extended, on account of the exits on either side of the screen. Under the circumstances we saved the expense of a new screen in this theatre. The only expense involved was for moving the maskings. With a few adjustments, we utilized the front draw curtain. This provided us with an excellent presentation in this theatre.
More in 70mm reading:

"Windjammer" in Cinemiracle

Full Cinemiracle Curved Screen Presentation

Cinemiracle Flat Screen Presentation

Cinemiracle Trailer Unit

Sales Manual For Louis De Rochemont's Windjammer

“WINDJAMMER” to set sail soon in a new digital version

"Windjammer" Synopsis

Internet link:

Bellevue Theatre, Upper Montclair, New Jersey, USA projection layout. Click to see enlargement

7. When I first visit a theatre for a proposed Cinemiracle installation, I find out immediately the largest screen size in width which can be installed. Usually there is plenty of height. It is well if we can stay within the proscenium width, but this is very rare. If this can be done the theatre's draw curtains can be used, which adds to the dignity of our presentation. However in the majority of instances we are compelled to make our screen installation in front of the stage proscenium to obtain additional width. Even though we come out in front of the stage proscenium, in many theatres the screen width is limited due to the exits on either side of the stage.

We will use the Bellevue Theatre, in Upper Montclair, New Jersey (which does not have any front exits) as an example. The proscenium opening was 56 feet in width, the projected picture size for 70 millimeter SOUTH PACIFIC was 46 feet. During my survey I saw the opportunity to go wall to wall in this house for the best possible presentation. This gave us an impressive 66-foot picture. Incidentally the Bellevue Theatre is a very successful operation. It opened with WINDJAMMER on Christmas Day and at this writing, March 3rd [1959], is still very good.
Cinemiracle projection layout. Bellevue Theatre, Upper Montclair, New Jersey, USA. Click to see enlargement

8. With reference to the projection room, during my survey I estimated the projection angle at 9 degrees; the projection room was cramped and without suitable space for our rewind equipment, besides a ladder was used to enter this booth. The labor for removing the two Philips projectors and installing our three Cinemiracle projectors and a reinstallation of the two Philips projectors would have been exceedingly high. The thought occurred to me to check the space directly underneath the present booth for a possibility of installing temporary walls to house in a projection room on the balcony cross over. This worked out fine, which reduced the projection angle to 5 degrees, and it gave us plenty of working space. This layout is attached, which was approved by the Upper Montclair City Building Department.

9. Most balcony theatres constructed from 1920 to 1950 have balcony overhangs, which interfere greatly with the projected picture sight lines, especially from the rear of the auditorium under the balcony. In some houses the top of the projected picture is not visible from the rear seating under the balcony. When making a survey remember our ratio is 2,33 to one. When the picture size is established, markers can be placed showing the actual Cinemiracle screen size, and in a balcony house you should visit each seat area and check the sight lines. For a 48-foot width screen, 25 feet should be the distance from the first row of seats to the projected picture. It is not advisable to go under 48 feet in screen width for the Cinemiracle process. Remember this is a three-panel system and each panel width would be 16 feet, which is about as low as we can go in magnification. For your information, the larger the screen width, the better it is for our presentation.

10. In balcony theatres the projection room is usually at the rear of the balcony and the projection angle is anywhere from 9 to 26 degrees. Cinemiracle can be projected from any angle up to 25 degrees, however the screen has to be flat to avoid distortion. Cinemiracle cannot be projected at an angle above 6 degrees into a curved screen without distortion.

We desire curved screens with more or less level projection throws. It is realized that we cannot afford to pass up a good, profitable location and that is why we are flexible in our installations.
Producer Louis de Rochemont ("Big Louis" rear) and Louis de Rochemont III director of "Windjammer" at the Mt. Eden studio. Dick Pietschman Collection

11. Surveying a projection room is a matter of great importance. Projection rooms for Cinemiracle should be no less than 20 feet in width (end projectors without optical mirrors) for our three Cinemiracle projectors. With optical end mirrors the booth width should be 26 feet. We can get by with 12 feet in depth but we would like 14 feet, if possible. If the projection room is wider than the foregoing dimensions, we can get by with 10 or 11 feet. Our Cinemiracle rewind equipment requires a space of 3 feet by 9 feet and it is important that it be in close proximity to our projectors. Our Cinemiracle projectors are designated "A" "B" "C". The "B" projector is always placed on the center line, the "A" and "C" projectors are the end units.

The majority of our Cinemiracle projection units include lamps and rectifiers.

A 200 ampere, 3 phase, 220 volt service is required for our three Cinemiracle rectifiers. A 30 ampere, single phase, 110 volt service is required for our motors, dowsers, torque motors and Selsyn interlocks. The attached schematic covers our single phase wiring.

12. Our projector lamps require good exhaust ventilation for the protection of our lamp mirrors. The cost of each projector lamp mirror is $175.00. An exhaust system with 1,200 to 1,500 cubic feet per minute will suffice. Ordinarily there is sufficient exhaust in the present day projection rooms to meet our requirements.
Two Cinemiracle cameras on USS Odax (SS-484), and Christian Radich in the back. Dick Pietschman Collection

13. Where three projectors are already in use, it is possible for us to utilize their projector ports without modification. However where two projectors are in use, we can use their two projector ports. Possibly we can use a spot port for the third projector. Perhaps a new projector and lookout port will have to be provided.

14. We endeavor to hold down our installation costs to a minimum. Our equipment is portable and can be moved about without any difficulty. With some of our flat screen projection installations, some of our people wondered whether a white screen staring the patrons in the face when they first entered the theatre would degrade the dignity of our presentation. A close in curtain and the installation would be an additional expense. However I'll admit a front curtain does dress up the theatre and should be installed where the expense is justified.

15. With our flat screen installation we use a single magnetic sound track, with the seven channels modulated into one. The sound emanates from a sound reproducer on top of the "B" projector mechanism and is connected to one of the theatre's preamplifiers, and then is channeled through the theatre's regular stereophonic sound system. When a single sound track is used for this purpose it has been our practice to parallel three of the stage speakers for the proper screen illusion. Of course with our deluxe Cinemiracle presentations we utilize a 7-channel magnetic stereophonic reproducer. Five stage speakers are used with this type of installation, together with a number of side and rear wall speakers.


Three panel Cinemiracle slate.  Dick Pietschman Collection

1. Cinemiracle is a three camera and projection, large screen process, adaptable to many theatres throughout the world.

2. The projection equipment includes three specially designed projectors, housed in a single booth at the rear of the auditorium or balcony.

3. Cinemiracle has four types of installations and presentations, i.e.

a) Full Cinemiracle Curved Screen Presentation
b) Cinemiracle Flat Screen Presentation
c) Cinemiracle Trailer Unit
d) Cinerama presentation.

4. See the attached lists for details and the required equipment for each installation and presentation.

5. Each anticipated installation will be surveyed and engineered for the best results.

6. At the time of survey, the cost of the anticipated installation must be established.

7. Great economy can be effected in many situations by utilizing part of the equipment already in use in a theatre, for a Cinemiracle installation, such as projector lamps, projection lenses, rectifiers or motor generator, projector for prologue reel, amplifiers, stage and surround speakers, etc. This will apply to many Todd-AO installations.
Cinemiracle filming in North Atlantic. Dick Pietschman Collection

8. Our Cinemiracle projection installation must be made for the least amount of expense. If it is possible to do so, we must avoid capital investment for equipment.

9. National Theatres Amusement Company have inventories of used equipment in each territory which also must be considered in completing each installation. If nothing is available from our Company's source, your local supply dealer may have certain equipment on hand which can be borrowed or leased, providing the cost of rental is less than an outright purchase.

10. Deals for leased equipment should always include a provision for the rental to apply on the outright purchase at the end of the Cinemiracle engagement.

11. National Theatres have an enormous investment in Cinemiracle. Every means must be exercised to reduce expenses and to conserve our equipment.

12. Cinemiracle is a specialized projection system which requires careful attention in operation. One mishap could ruin a performance. Your selection of the best projectionist is important. Your local Projectionists Union must be consulted prior to the installation and a written agreement obtained indicating the installation rate, weekly rate and overtime rate. Make positively sure that film inspection is included after each Cinemiracle showing and that the projection crew is on duty one hour prior to the start of each performance for test runs and maintenance of equipment.

Cinemiracle Cinerama Presentation

1. Our film speed with sound and projection is compatible with Cinerama.

2. When Cinerama projects Cinemiracle we furnish them with two adjustable lens mounts for their end projectors.

3. These lens mounts are used for matching images where the side projected panels meet with the center screen projected panel.

4. When Cinerama use our film they back away their vignetting attachments on the three Cinerama projector mechanisms. Our vignetting on the sides of our film blends out the match lines without the use of any mechanical device.

Cinerama Cinemiracle Presentation

1. Cinerama can be projected on Cinemiracle equipment.

2. We do not encounter any distortion when projecting Cinerama film on our curved screen and besides our film is much steadier than Cinerama film.

3. Our curved screen presentation is a great improvement over Cinerama.

4. If we were to present Cinerama we would require their vignetting attachments, which could be installed on Cinemiracle projectors.

Installation For Theatre Already Equipped For Cinerama

2 - Adjustable lens mounts $120.00

Cinemiracle Theatre Surveys

Cinemiracle Truck and USS Odax (SS-484). Dick Pietschman Collection

Attached is a list of 205 theatres in the United States which have been surveyed for Cinemiracle. Out of this number of houses 102 are suitable for the Cinemiracle process.

Our Cinemiracle production WINDJAMMER has been shown in a number of situations. Our installations have been well engineered, and our projection and sound equipment has functioned perfectly.

There are several things to be considered in selecting a theatre for Cinemiracle. The theatre must be in good condition. Sometimes a small house with a large screen will be a great success. Huge houses with a large seating capacity and heavy overhead should be avoided.

Suburban shopping centers with a theatre in many situations are very successful, especially with the road show policy, which has raised the prestige of the entire motion picture business.

* = Suitable for Cinemiracle
x = Not suitable for Cinemiracle
Phoenix * Fox
Phoenix * Vista

Glendale * Alex
Hollywood * Chinese
Hollywood * Fox
Inglewood * Fox
Long Beach x Imperial
Long Beach * West Coast
Los Angeles * Los Angeles
North Hollywood * El Portal
Pasadena * Academy
San Diego * Fox
San Francisco * Alexander
San Francisco * Coronet
San Francisco x Fox
San Francisco * Orpheus
San Francisco x St. Francis
Studio City x Studio City

Denver Aladdin (Have not seen this house
Denver x Denver since remodelling)
Denver x Esquire
Denver * Tabor

Hartford * Strand
New Haven * Roger Sherman
New Haven * Whalley
Stamford x Avon
Stamford * Ridgeway

Jacksonville Arcade (Not available)
Jacksonville * Five Points
Jacksonville x Florida
Jacksonville x St. Johns
Miami Cameo
Miami Carab (Not available)
Miami x Flamingo
Miami Lincoln
Miami Miami (Not available)
Miami x Rosetta
Miami Surf (Not available)
Miami x Tower
Miami x Town
Tampa * Britton Plaza
Tampa * Park

Atlanta x Loew’s
Atlanta x Paramount
Atlanta * Roxy

Chicago x Auditorium
Chicago x Blackstone
Chicago Chicago (Not available)
Chicago x Eighth Street
Chicago x Erlanger
Chicago x Great Northern
Chicago * McVickers
Chicago x Monroe
Chicago * Opera House
Chicago x Orchestra Hall
Chicago * Oriental
Chicago x RKO Grand
Chicago Roosevelt (Not available)
Chicago x Shubert
Chicago State Lake (Not available)
Chicago * United Artists
Chicago x Woods

Indianapolis x Circle
Indianapolis * Indiana
Indianapolis x Keith
Indianapolis x Lyric

IOWA ____
Des Moines * Des Moines
Des Moines x Paramount
Lexington x Ben Ali
Lexington * Kentucky
Lexington * Strand
Louisville x Sard’s
Louisville * Brown
Louisville x Kentucky
Louisville Loew’s United Artists (Not available)
Louisville x Mary Anderson
Louisville x Ohio
Louisville x Rialto

New Orleans x Globe
New Orleans x Joy
New Orleans Loew’s (Not available)
New Orleans x Orpheum
New Orleans * Patio
New Orleans * Saenger
New Orleans x Tudor
Shreveport * Saenger

Baltimore * Century
Baltimore x Charles
Baltimore x Hippodrome
Baltimore * Mayfair
Baltimore x New
Baltimore x Stanton
Baltimore x Town

Minneapolis * Academy
Minneapolis x American
Minneapolis * Century
Minneapolis x Edina
Minneapolis * Gopher
Minneapolis x RKO Orpheum
Minneapolis x “ Pan
Minneapolis * St. Louis Park
Minneapolis x Suburban World
Minneapolis * Uptown
Minneapolis x World
St. Paul x Loew’s
St. Paul x Paramount
St. Paul * Strand
St. Paul x World

Omaha * Cooper
Omaha * Omaha
Omaha * Orpheum
Omaha “ x State

Asbury Park * Paramount
Asbury Park * St. James
Atlantic City * Absecon Drive-In
Newark x Proctor’s RKO
Upper Montclair * Bellevue

Albany * Ritz
Bronx * Castlehill
Bronx x Dyker
Brooklyn * Albee
Brooklyn x Albemarle
Brooklyn x Nostrand
Buffalo Buffalo (Not available)
Buffalo x Center
Buffalo * Paramount
Buffalo * Teck
Buffalo * United Artists
Long Island * Floral
New York x Alden
New York x Beckman
New York x Coliseum
New York * Eighty-Sixth Street
New York * Fordham
New York x Murrayhill
New York * Radio Music Hall
New York x RKO 58th Street
New York * Roxy
New York x Sutton
New York * Valentine
Rochester Loew’s (Not available)
Rochester * Monroe
Rochester x Paramount
Rochester x Regent
Rochester “ * RKO Palace
Rockaway * Strand
Syracuse x Cinema
Syracuse * Eckel
Syracuse Loew’s State (Not available)
Syracuse * RKO
Syracuse * Shoppingtown
White Plains * Keith

Charlotte x Carolina
Charlotte x Imperial
Charlotte * Manor

Oklahoma * Cooper
Tulsa x Municipal
Tulsa x Orpheum
Tulsa * Ritz

Portland * Hollywood

Providence * Elmwood

Memphis * Crosstown
Memphis x Loew’s
Memphis * Malco
Memphis x Princess
Memphis x Strand

Dallas * Delman
Dallas x Fine Arts
Dallas x Inwood
Dallas Majestic (Not available)
Dallas * Melba
Dallas Palace (Not available)
Dallas * Tower
Dallas * Village
Dallas * Wynnewood
Houston * Majestic
Houston * Metropolitan
Houston * Tower
Houston * Uptown
San Antonio * Aztec
San Antonio * Broadway
San Antonio x Josephine
San Antonio x Laurel
San Antonio x Majestic
San Antonio x State
San Antonio x Texas
San Antonio * Woodlawn

Norfolk x Grandby
Norfolk * Loew’s
Norfolk * Naro
Norfolk * Norva
Norfolk * Rosna
Richmond x Colonial
Richmond * Loew’s Richmond
Richmond * National
Richmond * Willowlawn

Seattle * Fifth Avenue
Seattle * Paramount

Charleston x Capital
Charleston * Kearse
Charleston x Rialto
Charleston x Virginian

Milwaukee x Palace
Milwaukee * Strand
Milwaukee * Wisconsin
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Updated 06-05-22