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DP70 at the Casino in London

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Peter Phillips Date: 07.05.2013
The machines look like the US model (machines heads made in Holland), with the Philips logo on the top of the door, Cinefocus, and the big Start/Stop buttons. Picture from Peter Philips' collection

I have decided to send you three photos that were taken in 1972 at the Casino
Cinerama London when they were showing a re-run of "Zulu". I did not take the photos and I have respected the photographers wish not to pass them on but this was 40 years ago and I believe that their value now is with Cinerama fans.

The pictures are taken of the left hand DP70 projector and two show it laced up with one of the reels of "Zulu". I used to know the Chief Engineer for Cinerama at the time and I made several visits to the Casino and got shown around. Also the view of the screen from the box was immense !!!

I was there when they were taken. It was a work colleague of mine who was an amateur photographer and he was fascinated to see a cinema projection box and I organised it with Charlie Sweeney (Cinerama's London Technical Officer). One of the photos he took was of me standing next to one of the projectors but I can't find it at the moment. If I do will scan in and let you have it.

In the back of my mind I seem to remember Charlie saying that equipment at the Casino generally came from America. The Ashcraft arcs were the ones which had been used on the 3 strip equipment. They liked them because they believed the burn on the carbon rods was more stable and therefore was better for the final image on the screen.
More in 70mm reading:

This is Cinerama...at the London Casino

DP70s in England

70mm Film Presentations in London, England 1958 - 2012

Internet link:

Picture from Peter Philips' collection
Picture from Peter Philips' collection


I worked with Charlie at the renamed 'Casino' (The Prince Edward Theatre) where he taught me to lace, run and trouble-shoot on a 35mm projector with a 90 degree fisheye lens.

I was 17 in 1978 and had just joined the Prince Edward Theatre. The old 'Casino' had been converted into a West End theatre (stage re-build etc) and it was hosting the show 'Evita!' As a theatre electrician, my responsibilities were to deal with the upkeep of the theatre's electrical system and operate the show's electrical elements: 6 follow spots (known by the public as spot lights), the lighting desk and the 35mm projector.

Charlie Sweeney was close to retirement age and was kept on as the projectionist as there wasn't anything he didn't know about the job. He still wore a white lab coat (more grey and stained than white), a cigarette hanging out of the side of his mouth and a cough that would cut through steel. In his former years, Charlie used to run the Cinerama system at the Casino and would regale me with stories about the old days and how Cinerama worked.

In 1978 I was fascinated by the projector used in this theatrical show. It was mounted high up on the back wall of the stage (perpendicular to the audience), a 90 degree fisheye lens and to get to it, we used a small vertical ladder. A 2-ton screen would slide down from the back wall (with the projector hidden just behind) and eventually fill the proscenium arch. Due to the short throw between the projector and the screen, the 90 fisheye lens bent all the problems out so the image had a proper aspect ratio.

Charlie was an inspiration and I think about him from time to time - as I did last night when I stumbled across the article. He died many many years ago and with him went many stories of Cinerama London and tales of how things used to be ...

Kind regards,

Stuart Mcalister
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Updated 21-01-24