DP70 at the Casino in London
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The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Peter
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.
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Cinerama...at the London Casino
Presentations in London, England 1958 - 2012
from Peter Philips' collection
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
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 ...
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