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Wow, that was a great!
Cinerama Dome 2002 and "This is Cinerama"

Read more at
in70mm.com
The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Enthusiastic Cinerama Fans Date: October 2002
Picture by: Richard Greenhalgh

We had the 50th Anniversary Gala at the Dome last Thursday. Chris O'Kane flew in from Glasgow, and I met other folks from Australia. Martin Hart was in from Texas, another foreign country. The management of the theater complex did NOTHING to publicize this historic event. For some reason, the Arclight management HATES the Dome.

Several people came up and thanked me for the article - not just to say "Cool article" but to try and convey a deep inexpressible gratitude. Their eyes spoke volumes and reminded me yet again how passionately people care about this process. It was very touching, and I'm so proud to be a part of it.

Betty Thomas (dir, "Private Parts", "Dr. Doolittle" and "I Spy") loved it, John Landis got bored. In true Cinerama fashion, one projector broke down an hour before show time. Mad scramble, but the show came off without a hitch, easily the best presentation I've seen yet. As a coda to the evening, they also ran the 3-strip "How the West Was Won" trailer.

I saw the final answer print of reel 1 of "How the West Was Won" up at Crest on Friday as they checked it for sound sync. They only ran the B panel, which left A and C to your imagination and memory. I was surprised to find myself weeping uncontrollably. Current plans are to run "How the West Was Won" on Dec 7th, 2002 for a private audience and for the public after the first of the year. There shouldn't be any trouble filling the theater then.

Greg Kimble
 
More in 70mm reading:

Greg Kimble's Cinerama's 50th Anniversary Article

A Cinerama Holiday by David Page

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" 40th anniversary

in70mm.com's Cinerama page

Internet link:
Picture by: Richard Greenhalgh

Dear Howard: I'm typing this on Monday night, a couple of days after seeing "This is Cinerama" for the first time --- Wow, that was a great experience and so was the whole day, in fact.

I saw "Cinerama" on opening day, Oct. 4th. Not the first show (1:00) but the night show at 7:30. The news was there: Chuck Henry at Channel 4. They did a huge 5 minute piece on the Return of True Cinerama, thanks to the red alert shot over to Channel 4 by Dave Strohmaier (as well as some "B-roll", whatever that is). Anyway, Chuck Henry was there taping and interviewing in the lobby. One lady said that her father was flying into town from the mid-West, not to see her, but to see "Cinerama!" I was still at the theater at 11:00 pm so I was not able to see or tape it. A friend told me about it. He said it was an excellent, amazing piece. Five minutes long - apparently Chuck Henry saw it as a kid and loved it. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.

I had 4 tickets reserved: myself, my wife Sharmen and two friends from work, and I was looking forward to the event.

Martin Hart told me that the screen at the Dome not only is not a strip-screen (I saw "Lawrence" there in 70mm two weeks ago and found that out), but that they are "missing" or "not using" all of it... many feet of it on either side are not being used (maybe the sound system speakers are in the way, I don't know). When I later saw "Cinerama" at the Dome, it was huge, make no mistake!
 
Picture by: Richard Greenhalgh

That night, I arrived with my wife and met my friends. There was a Cinerama Camera in the lobby. They were selling souvenir programs -- facsimiles of the original-- for "This is Cinerama". On both sides of the centrally located Popcorn/Soda station, there are two windows. Inside are some display spaces filled with memorabilia. That's because the lobby sweeps upwards to the left and to the right leading to the two side doors to enter the theater. One window had a light box with Cinerama film lit up from behind, comparing it with some 70mm from "Carousel". There were photos of the building of the Dome. The other window to the right was the most cool -- Cinerama reels, lenses, clapper boards (3 connected boards - A,B,C) and documents with famous signatures on them. Lots of hardware and cool stuff.

The prologue (b/w) is very cool. When the curtains opened wide: Whammmooo. That Cinerama really draws you in -- other lens systems are very wide, but there is not the incredible depth and sense of motion that Cinerama has. Now I understand! Going forwards or backwards is thrilling; I think it's less effective with the camera facing sideways, as in the Niagara Falls section.
 
 
Picture by: Richard Greenhalgh

At intermission, I took some people up to the projection booth, at Dave's invitation. It was just a short visit, but fantastic. Some of these
projectors were using platters! Gunther Jung was up there, too. Strohmaier was operating the projector on the right hand: is that Able? After intermission, it is fantastic. The Busch Gardens stuff is great, but the B-25 Mitchell flight over America is wonderful.

I wish I could say it was sold out, but it wasn't. One good thing: the Channel 4 news was there (as I mentioned before) and they did a huge story that I can only hope woke up a few people. Even some of my friends saw nothing on the return of this movie and were surprised when it hit them in the face on the news. Then they say to me: "Where did this come from?" After the event, the audience was invited into the booth - I'd say about 35 or so made it in. I lingered in there for about 45 minutes, and would have stayed longer but my wife has little patience with my obsession. She really wanted to go soon. One guy met up with Marty Harts friend Richard - he was the official Cooper Theater scrapbook photographer (when he was 18 years old)! Richard was shocked: he had saved three of the scrapbooks from the Cooper Theaters and this guys photos were in it! Boy did they exchange cards.
 
Picture by: Richard Greenhalgh

Dave was in his element, too. They announced that they were going to screen the Lowell Thomas "breakdown reel" as a special treat for those who had lingered. That thing is truly hilarious!

Then I went home. I slept in late next Saturday, woke up, and drowsed on the bench thinking about the night before and having my coffee.  And THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS, Howard [Rust, editor]. Just thought I'd share it with you. I will send you some stuff soon as I can.

Sincerely, Tom Dankiewicz


I went to the Cinerama event at the Dome last week. It was not too well attended but a few luminaries from the film industry did turn up and the reaction overall was positive. I believe they have been running TIC three shows per day for the past four days. Greg Kimble should be able to tell you how it went. I had great fun and have found a renewed interest in Vistamorph. We would like to do something new and show it at the Dome. If we could just get our act together we could relaunch Cinerama in the 21st. Century with new products and ideas. All we need is money.

Best regards, Chris O'Kane.

P.S. we are doing the GSTA conference next year in September here at Glasgow Imax.
 
 
"THIS IS CINERAMA"

On the evening of September 30, 1952 the feature-length travel log "THIS IS CINERAMA" debuted. 50 years later, on October 4, 2002 it returns with a newly reconstructed print and seven-channel stereophonic sound - presented in its ORIGINAL THREE-STRIP PROJECTION SYSTEM on the huge, deeply-curved Cinerama Dome screen!

You can purchase reserved seat tickets now. And, this weekend you can be one of the first to experience a 5 minute preview. The trailer for "THIS IS CINERAMA" screens Friday and Saturday evenings at the Dome, prior to the 7:30pm and 9:55pm screenings of "Austin Powers in Goldmember".

"THIS IS CINERAMA"
Rating: NR

Few developments in motion pictures have had the impact on the entertainment industry that Cinerama had, when it opened on Broadway on the evening of September 30, 1952. This was the beginning of an era that brought wide screen and stereophonic sound movies to the world. Cinerama had such an impact that "THIS IS CINERAMA" was the top grossing film released in 1952, although it played in fewer than 30 theaters. In Hollywood, it played at the Warner Theater, two blocks away from the Cinerama Dome, for an amazing 122 weeks! Cinerama was too technically challenging to last and just seven films were made in the three-strip format. "THIS IS CINERAMA" is the first to be refurbished - so a new generation of moviegoers can experience the thrill of this "pre-Imax", "pre-virtual reality" visual and sound format. Essentially a travelogue, the film takes the viewer around the world and through "America the Beautiful...the heart of a continent, as seen through new eyes...a scenic tour de force of light, color, and sound...an America of breath-taking beauty and splendor that only Cinerama can picture and bring to you."

(c) 2002 ArcLight Cinema Company. All Rights Reserved
 
 
 
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Updated 21-01-24