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Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas
MCS 70 / Wonderama / Cinerama
The German Travelogue "Flying Clipper – Traumreise unter
weißen Segeln" in Germany and in the USA
|Read more at|
The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Gerhard
Witte, Berlin (Germany)
movie's World Premiere advert in the newspaper "Münchner Merkur" dated
Thursday, December 20, 1962 – the festive event took place one day
earlier, on December 19. "Under the patronage of the President of the
German Parliament Dr. Eugen Gerstenmaier" had been written in the
movie's announcements. At the premiere were also present the movie's
producer Rudolf Travnicek, the directors Rudolf Nussgruber and Hermann
Leitner, the composer Riz Ortolani and his wife, singer Katyna Ranieri,
and seamen of the Flying Clipper.
"Flying Clipper – Traumreise unter weißen Segeln" (Mediterranean
Holiday, West Germany, runtime 154 min, AR 1:2.21), perhaps a German
answer to the successful
Cinemiracle movie "Windjammer: The Voyage of
the Christian Radich" (USA, 1958), had its World Premiere at
Munich's "Royal-Palast" on Goetheplatz on Wednesday, December 19, 1962.
The travelogue is the first German feature film production shot in the
new wide-gauge film process called "MCS
70" which had been developed by
Modern Cinema Systems (MCS) Film KG. (Rudolf Travnicek) in Munich at the time. Recording was done with new, light
65mm reflex cameras ("Field Cameras") – weight without film cassette
around 13 kg / 28.6 lbs – which were purpose-designed and built by the
Jan Jacobsen (1916-1998). The results were then
printed onto 70mm positive film additionally equipped with 6-channel
|More in 70mm reading:
Der Reisefilm "Flying Clipper – Traumreise
unter weißen Segeln" in Deutschland und in den USA
Wolfram Hannemann's Film Introductions for the Widescreen Weekend 2010
A new 70mm print of
Dream Journeys: The
M.C.S.-70 Process and European Cinema of the 1960s
To Split or not to
Split ... That is the Hollywood Question!
Gives Wider Vistas
Witte's in70mm.com Library
American Widescreen Museum
The "Thrillarama" process
Walter Reade Organization:
"Luna del miel", the whole movie in Spanish on YouTube:
"Flying Clipper – Traumreise unter weißen Segeln" a German trailer:
Shatterhand" info and images, an impressive website by Stefan Kubale
A "Windjammer War" between Cinerama /
Cinemiracle, Inc. in New York, and M.C.S. Film KG. in Munich
December 20, 1962, with ten 70mm prints in use. The first German 70mm
major color film. "Flying Clipper – Traumreise unter weißen Segeln"
(Flying Clipper – Dream Voyage under White Sails) filmed in MCS 70,
Eastman Color and with 6-Channel Stereo Sound. Below: An advert dated
Monday, December 24, 1962 – the movie at Munich's "Royal-Palast" during
"A dream trip to the Mediterranean to the most attractive places of the
Ancient World which is left up to only few people: Portugal, Yugoslavia,
Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Spain."
The marketing of Cinemiracle's successful film "Windjammer: The
Voyage of the Christian Radich" (USA, 1958) was taken on at the time
by the newly founded Munich company Modern Cinema Systems (MCS) Film KG.
(Rudolf Travnicek) acting on behalf of the U.S. companies Cinemiracle
International, Inc. and National Theatres. Just in time of the German
Gymnastics Festival in Munich (20.07.1958 - 28.07.1958) "Windjammer:
The Voyage of the Christian Radich" debuted in Germany at "Royal-Palast"
on Tuesday, July 22, 1958. The start-up costs were about DM 70.000. At
the time, the around 16.000 kg heavy Cinemiracle equipment had been
directly flown in from Hollywood to Munich (source: "Filmwoche"). The
cinema operator, Rudolf Englberth, hired the elaborate and expensive
film equipment. Later, in 1961, when M.C.S. Film KG. began the
production of its own film initially titled "Flying Clipper –
Traumreise eines Windjammer" (Flying Clipper – Dream Voyage of a
Windjammer), the working title had been at the time "Windjammer 2", they
met with the displeasure of Cinemiracle International Pictures (by now a
subsidiary of Cinerama, Inc.) in America, and it was seen as an
infringement of rights. The Cinerama lawyers declared that the German
company at issue was, as the licence holder for the Cinemiracle film
"Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich" (USA, 1958) in
Germany, also bound by the terms of that contract. They therefore
concluded that the German party to the contract was prohibited from
producing, copying, showing or distributing a wide-screen film of this
type or from issuing a licence for one.
are in Egypt on board of the ship "Flying Clipper" and shooting will
continue as planned – to date the most expensive German film project. The
first German 70mm colour film shot in a German 70mm process named MCS 70.
Image left: The M.C.S. Film KG. / Bavaria Filmverleih GmbH. information.
Image right: "Flying Clipper" – announcement of the movie's premiere at West
Berlin's "Delphi-Filmpalast am Zoo" which took place on Friday, February 15,
Around March 20th, 1962, M.C.S. Film KG. / Bavaria Filmverleih GmbH.
published a large announcement (see image) in a range of trade magazines
saying the following:
Information: We are the producers and distributors of the film "Flying
Clipper – Traumreise eines Windjammer" (Flying Clipper – Dream Voyage of a
Windjammer). We have been planning this film for over a year and filming
since May 1961 and we will continue filming as planned. We do not require
any permission for our film from Cinemiracle International Picture, Inc.,
New York, because our film:
1.) Is a travel documentary based on an original film script developed by us
and does not infringe any protected rights of others.
2.) Is not filmed using Cinemiracle's three-strip system, but using the MCS
70mm process allowing seamless projection.
3.) Has nothing to do with the Cinemiracle film "Windjammer: The Voyage
of the Christian Radich".
We must in no uncertain terms reject the claim that there has been an
infringement of the rights of the Cinemiracle company, and we reserve the
right to take appropriate action to compel the Cinemiracle company to
withdraw this accusation and forebear from making any future accusations of
this type. We chose the title "Flying Clipper" with the addition "Traumreise
eines Windjammer" (Dream Voyage of a Windjammer), because our ship is
called "Flying Clipper", and the word "Windjammer" in the title is purely a
generic term meaning nothing more than a large sailing ship. The completion
of the film will continue unhindered. M.C.S. Film KG. (Munich) Bavaria
Filmverleih GmbH. (Munich)
June 13, 1962, the following short article appeared in "New York
VARIETY": Cinemiracle Wins First Step in Suit Vs. German Producer's
"Windjammer". Munich, on Tuesday, June 05, 1962.
According to a temporary injunction issued by Munich's County Court,
Bavaria Film and producers Hardt and Travnicek are for the time being
restricted from "announcing, promoting and showing" their forthcoming
film under the title "Flying Clipper – Dream Voyage of a Windjammer".
Court order followed a complaint by Cinemiracle International, New York,
to the effect that the German picture presently being shot aboard and
around a sailing vessel on a Mediterranean trip would constitute a
copyright infringement on the Cinemiracle 1958 picture "Windjammer:
The Voyage of the Christian Radich", if already existing
similarities in other aspects were further pointed up by a monicker
containing the word "Windjammer". Defendants claim that one-word titles
could not be regarded as the result of "creative invention" and
therefore were not protected by law as the idea of doing a
cine-travelogue with a windjammer cruise as subject matter. Hearing is
set for June 18.
The movie's title was subsequently changed twice by M.C.S. Film KG. at the time. From "Flying Clipper – Traumreise eines
Windjammer" (Flying Clipper – Dream Voyage of a Windjammer) it was
renamed "Flying Clipper – Traumreise eines Dreimasters" (Flying
Clipper – Dream Voyage of a Three-Master), and eventually they agreed on
"Flying Clipper – Traumreise unter weißen Segeln" (Flying Clipper
– Dream Voyage under White Sails).
On September 01, 1962, the German trade magazine "Film-Echo/Filmwoche"
(No.70) reported: "Flying Clipper" stopped in England.
The American Cinemiracle International Picture, Inc. has obtained an
injunction enjoying legal force until October 02, 1962, which legally
prohibits M.C.S. Film KG. in Munich and Rudolph Travnicek from further
production, copying or showing of the film "Flying Clipper". This
injunction means primarily that all work on copying the film at
Technicolor London ceases. Cinemiracle, a subsidiary of Cinerama, Inc.,
alleges that Rudolf Travnicek has, with his Flying Clipper project,
breached contractual agreements that he entered into some years ago on
taking on the film "Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich".
advertisement of Bavaria Film: On the waves of success – from week to week a
constantly rising number of cinemagoers! Now 16 weeks in Germany – 12 weeks
in Austria. "This first German 70mm color film has been highly touted and
has lived up to its advertising claims." (Nuremberg newspaper)
In mid-October 1962, M.C.S. Film KG. issued the following statement in some
"The differences that existed between M.C.S. Film and Bavaria
Filmverleih on the one hand and Cinemiracle, Inc. on the other have been
settled out of court. There are no further obstacles to the film "Flying
Clipper – Traumreise unter weißen Segeln" (Flying Clipper – Dream Voyage
under White Sails) being released on the due date." Following its Munich
world premiere on 19.12.1962, the film went on to be released to various
first-run cinemas, where it subsequently met with success.
In the beautiful Hanseatic city of Hamburg the movie had its premiere in
70mm at the "Ufa-Palast am Gänsemarkt" on Friday, April 26, 1963, where it
subsequently ran for eight weeks until Thursday, June 20, 1963. The
website of the German Federal Archive reports about the newly struck
70mm print of the movie shown for the first time at the Berlin International
Film Festival in 2009.
Screening "Flying Clipper" in the USA
First in 35mm Wonderama – then in 70mm Cinerama
Information about a long
forgotten Projection Process: WONDERAMA aka ARC120
patent data – Data provided by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services: Film and
apparatus for generating wide screen images as well as methods for producing
such a film. Publication number: DE 1157913 B / Publication type:
Registration / Registration number: DE 1958B0049743 / Release date: Nov. 21,
1963 / Registered: July 22, 1958 / Priority date: April 04, 1958 – Inventor:
Leon Weliczker Wells – Applicant: Leon Bronesky.
The success of CINERAMA spawned other similar multiple 35mm projection
methods such as "Thrillarama" (1956, 2 projectors, 2 beams), "Cinemiracle"
(1958, 3 projectors, 3 beams), or "ARC120" / "Wonderama" (realized start of
the 1960s, only 1 projector, 2 beams). "Wonderama", previously already known
as "ARC120", was a very short-lived projection process invented by Dr. Leon
W. Wells*, an optical research specialist, and has been promoted / developed
by the producer Leon J. Bronesky. It has been designed specifically with the
small theatre in mind which could not afford the cost of major structural
* Dr. Leon Weliczker Wells (10.03.1925 - 19.12.2009) inventor of the ARC120
process was born in Poland and was a noted American scientist, physicist,
optometrist and author. He was a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust. He
emigrated to the USA in 1949. In May 1961, he was heard as a witness at the
trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.
ARC120 process. On the left: The splitting of the original image into
two halves (2 x spherical). On the right: The two half-images now
vertically printed "foot-to-foot" within a frame of a 35mm film using an
image area of 0,98 x 0,72 inches / 25 x 18,3 mm. The magnetic sound
tracks (e.g. Stereo) are placed outside the perforation on the film's
edges. The drawing is taken from the German trade magazine "Kinotechnik"
On YouTube there is a long
interview (1996) with him – "Jewish Survivor Leon Wells Testimony".
Wikipedia (Germany) informs about Wells and his hard life.
In order to produce films (prints) for the "Wonderama / ARC120"
projection, base material was preferably originated from high-resolution
wide-gauge negative films, like
Technirama or 65mm – to obtain best
image quality. In this process each individual image of a film was
subsequently split into two halves. Then, the two half-images were
rotated and were vertically printed "foot-to-foot" within a single frame
of a 35mm negative film (see image), which has the frame area size of a
silent film (0,98 x 0,72 inches). Anamorphic base material had been
previously optically decompressed (without distortion). Wells claimed at
the time that a major advantage is that the loss of picture quality
often due to anamorphic projection lenses is now eliminated.
ARC projection attachment ("20-16") with its two lenses developed by Zeiss
Ikon AG (Kiel) in Germany mounted on an "Ernemann VIII B" projector. (Photo:
Zeiss Ikon AG – by courtesy of ZEISS Germany)
The screening took place from a single 35mm projector (at standard 24
fps) on which had been mounted a so-called ARC120 projection attachment,
developed by "Zeiss Ikon AG" in Kiel (Germany), equipped with two projection
lenses. In Germany the method was presented to the public for the first time
at the Photokina in Cologne from 24.09.1960 till 02.10.1960. Due to the
twin-projection, the movie could be shown on a deeply curved screen without
loss of sharpness. The sound was carried as two magnetic tracks on the edges
of the film, outside of the perforation.
ARC 120 was first
presented (tested) with Michael Powell's movie "Luna del Miel"
(Honeymoon, UK/ Spain, 1959, running time 109 min - from IMDb). This was
most likely in Blackpool (England) in August 1960. "The journey across
Spain is a feast for the eyes, and the spirited, dramatic flamenco dancing
cannot fail to stir the soul!"
A major restoration of this film, not the ARC120 version, had been done by
Charles Doble. He presented it with a new 35mm Scope print at the San
Sebastian Film Festival (Spain) in September 2002 and gave following
information on the subject:
"At the time of the movie's release it was originally produced in stereo – a
four track magnetic version. Visually, it was released in both ARC120 and
Technirama. These were very new processes. One of these, ARC120, was an
attempt to get over the problems of loss of focus where projection was onto
large curved screens. This involved a complicated and heavy series of
projection lenses (author's comment: The Arc120 attachment) mounted on the
front of the 35mm projector. Each cell of the film was divided vertically
into two halves. From a projection point of view it was a nightmare to get
the two halves to meet seamlessly in the center of the screen and at the
information about the
movie, and from the
Powell & Pressburger Pages.
"Even with the largest projectors, the colossally heavy adaptor for the
ARC120 process caused uncontrollable picture shake. It is remarkable how
much material has survived for the restoration – both the original
ARC120 and Technirama prints and negatives (the prints having turned to
a "claret" shade of pink), all the original stereo magnetic track negs
and, interestingly, many original outtakes not ever included in the
In Germany, the movie got the title "Honeymoon – strahlender Himmel,
strahlendes Glück" (runtime 100 min). It premiered at the Munich
"Film-Casino" on December 18, 1959 (see advert) and on December 21,
1959, in various German cinemas (information from "Filmblätter" /
"Film-Echo"). It was not an ARC120 version – most likely a 35mm Scope
"Flying Clipper" not successfully
presented in Wonderama
advertisement of the movie "Mediterranean Holiday" presented in the U.S. in
"Wonderama" for the first time. "Wonderama in Trenton" images courtesy of
Roland Lataille from
For screenings in America Walter Reade Jr., owner of a small theatre chain
and a film distribution company, and chairman of Walter Reade-Sterling
Company, bought the rights to the German-made 70mm film and converted it
into the unusual "ARC120" projection process now renamed "Wonderama". The
movie got the new title "Mediterranean Holiday" and had its public "Wonderama"
World Premiere at the "Strand Theatre" in Plainfield, New Jersey, on
Thursday, March 05, 1964. It had been additionally fitted up with
commentaries and songs by Burl Ives and perhaps with some extra shot brief
In the advert is written:
The Miracle Screen Process That Places You Right In The Middle Of The Most
Incredible Adventure You Ever Lived! A Walter Reade-Sterling Presentation,
filmed in Glorious Eastman Color and Sensational Surround Sound. You
do all this and more because the magic of "Wonderama" makes you part of the
picture! Your Host: Burl Ives, who also sings Ballads of the Sea! You Ride
The White Hot Sands As You Rush Fierce Camel-Combat! – You Are Caught Right
In The Middle Of The Strange Turkish Saber Ritual! – You Join Princess Grace
And Prince Rainier As You Spin The Curves Of Monaco's Dangerous Race Track!
– You March Through Ancient Ruins In Step With The World-Famed Greek Guards!
– You Are Dangerously Dangled From A Helicopter In A Daring Rescue Over A
Storm Swept Mediterranean!
The first U.S. "Wonderama" premiere (screening) had been planned with
"Mediterranean Holiday" at a cinema, most likely at the "Cinerama
Theatre" (former "Colonial") in Hartford, Connecticut, in the third calendar
week of 1964 (January) *). But it gave technical problems and the screening was
postponed at the time. Another premiere was announced at Reade's "RKO Trent
Theatre" in Trenton, New Jersey, on Thursday, January 23, 1964. Use
order to study a leaflet (see image) which had been distributed for the
expected premiere of "Mediterranean Holiday" in the "Wonderama"
process in Trenton at the time.
But then, unsolved technical issues unfortunately forced further delays and,
ultimately, a cancellation of the movie at both cinemas. Finally, the
movie's festive "Wonderama" public premiere took place at the "Strand
Theatre" in Plainfield, New Jersey, on Thursday, March 05, 1964.
From the author new information 08.10.2017:
The public premiere should take place at Hartford´s "Strand Theatre" (the
same name as in Plainfield), and not at the "Cinerama Theatre", on Friday,
January 17, 1964. Previously, the cinema had been closed for 3 days for the
installation of a big, 60 feet wide, and deeply curved screen that covered
120 degrees of vision.
this can be read in following interesting articles: "New York
VARIETY" dated Wednesday, January 22, 1964: Reade Postpones "Wonderama"
Bow. Hartford, January 21, 1964.
American premiere of "Wonderama" process of projection and screening was
postponed here last week when discovery was made that special German
lens was of wrong caliber and did not respond to mathematical
computations for the process. Quickly obtained American-made optic could
have served the purpose but didn't fill out the curved screen and it was
decided to postpone until proper lens was secured. Radio and TV time as
well as newspaper ads informed public of the cancellation of the
showcasing. Press preview was also cancelled. Film scheduled to be shown
in color was "Mediterranean Holiday", a travelogue. "Wonderama"
is owned by Walter Reade-Sterling, Inc. It is another version of the
wide screen, in depth optic type of screening. It is expected "Wonderama"
will be packaged and franchised on an exclusive basis to film houses
across the nation. The special film lens has to be adapted to
projectors, and the screen will be furnished by Reade. It is expectedly
a low cost factor to theatres in so far as there is no great investment,
no major structural changes (author's comment: Except for the large
deeply curved screen), no specially educated or additional operators
needed by theatres.
Reade will get a percentage of house take and understood also that it
will allow film houses to compete with Cinerama and other widescreen
projection methods – almost any print of any make and size is compatible
to the process and a minimum of cost is required to adapt a print to "Wonderama".
"Wonderama" had been tried out in England and in Argentina. A showing
this week in Trenton, New Jersey, has been postponed, pending the
Hartford showcasing. Inventor of the system is Leon W. Wells, a New York
physicist and designer of motion picture equipment. The producer Leon J.
Bronesky started the development of the new film projection process in
principle of the optical system for the ARC120 wide-screen projection. The
drawing is taken from the German trade magazine "Kinotechnik" (No.11/1960).
(1) Lens – (2) Prism – (3) Centre Prism – (4 + 5) Front Prisms – (6 + 7)
Projection Lenses – (8) The Impulse Blender, an integral rotating shutter,
in order to conceal (reduce) the look of the seams where the two half-images
(panels) are joining – (9) A speed variable direct current motor for the
Luftbild = Optical Picture, the overhead optic on which the two partial
images come together.
Information taken from the German trade magazine "Kinotechnik" (No.11/1960):
The dividing line that normally appears in the middle of the projection
screen due to the overlapping of the two partial images as they are
projected is made almost invisible by the Impulse Blender (8). It is driven
by a variable direct current motor (9) at about 10,000 to 15,000 revolutions
per minute. In the plane of the Optical Picture, the four edges of the
Impulse Blender interrupt the overlap zone of the two partial images with a
frequency of about 666 to 1000 Hertz. The procedure could also be described
as "optical wobbling" by way of comparison. The speed of the motor is
variable, so that periodic luminance fluctuations that may occur due to the
creation of beats between the blender frequency and the wobble frequency can
be shifted into a range that is no longer detectable to the eye.
"New York VARIETY" dated Wednesday, February 26, 1964: "Wonderama"
Process Test in Jersey.
Walter Reade-Sterling's U.S. premiere of its "Mediterranean Holiday"
in the new "Wonderama" process, originally skedded to be held in Hartford
last month, has been reset for the "Strand Theatre" in Plainfield, New
Jersey, on the evening of March 04 (author's comment: A screening for the
press. The movie's public premiere was one day later, on March 05). The
Hartford showing had to be cancelled some time ago at the last minute when
the proper lenses didn't arrive from Germany. Reade-Sterling is planning to
bus film people, reporters and members of the financial community from New
York and Philadelphia for the invitational showing in Plainfield. "Wonderama"
is a new deep-screen process utilizing 35mm film.
of the ARC 120 wide-screen projection process: The ARC120 attachment,
mounted on a 35mm projector, projects two intersecting beams onto a huge
curved screen. The movie is shown on the screen in an aspect ratio of
1:2.64. The drawing is taken from the German trade magazine "Kinotechnik"
An extract from an article about the "Wonderama" process written in "Boxoffice"
magazine dated March 09, 1964: "Wonderama" Unveiled – New Screen
Process. Plainfield, New Jersey, in March 1964.
A new and revolutionary screen process known as "Wonderama" was unveiled
for the press here on Wednesday (4) at the "Strand Theatre". The
innovation was the result of an electronic and prismatic lens invention
which involved the printing of the picture frames vertically in two
halves instead of horizontally. The two parts are projected and joined
together by prismatic optic lenses to fill a deeply curved screen, as in
the "Strand Theatre", more than 60 feet wide, more than 21 feet high and
a depth in the center of 20 feet. (Author's comment: Another source
gives a depth of 16 feet, which is more likely). The first picture to be
shown in the new process was "Mediterranean Holiday", in which 20
teenage sea cadets sail a three-master clipper ship to Mediterranean
countries. It is a Continental Distributing release, a division of
Walter Reade-Sterling, Inc., which also controls the process. "Wonderama"
was also designed to provide an evenly lighted picture through the use
of one light source, with that light providing double the brilliance
normally used in theatre projectors. The "Wonderama" picture uses up to
140 amps of electricity against the normal around 65 amps. (Author's
comment: I think that the brilliance of the picture also depends on the
screen's size and its light reflection properties).
Reade-Sterling claims it is the first system to be developed in which
two separate pictures (half-images) can be shown from one projector and,
therefore, the first of its kind that can project a motion picture in
depth onto a curved screen from a single unit. Ordinarily, it was said,
it would not be possible to project depth onto a curved screen with only
one lens, because it would be impossible to obtain a complete clear
focus at all the different depths of the curve. "Wonderama" does this by
dividing the picture and projecting the half-images through prismatic
lenses. It can be attached to any 35mm projector. The process was
invented by Dr. Leon W. Wells, who was born in Poland and studied in
Munich. He came to the United States in 1949 to work at Lehigh
University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He holds many awards. According
to the brochure on "Wonderama", prepared by Reade-Sterling, the key to
the process is in the special 35mm print, which can be run through a
standard projector to produce a giant image on the screen.
schematic representation of diverse projections onto a deeply curved screen.
The drawing is taken from the German trade magazine "Kinotechnik"
a.) One projector (1 image "B", curvature "d" is large)
b.) Three projectors "Cinerama" (3 partial images "B1/B2/B3", curvature "d"
c.) One projector "ARC120" (2 partial images "B1/B2", curvature "d" is
An extract from a review about the "Wonderama" premiere in Plainfield:
"New York VARIETY" dated Wednesday, March 11, 1964, written by Vincent
Canby: Bugs Still Infest Reade's "Wonderama", But Promise of Medium Is
Premiere presentation of Walter Reade-Sterling's new deep-screen process, "Wonderama",
at the "Strand Theatre" in Plainfield, New Jersey, Wednesday (4) night, was
marred by some eye-straining technical difficulties. The 35mm projection
technique, however, does seem to hold promise – if not the poor man's
Cinerama, as the small exhibitor's Cinerama, if and when the bugs are ironed
out. "Wonderama" is shown in Plainfield via the German-made travelogue
feature named "Mediterranean Holiday", which was designed as a sequel
to the Cinemiracle film "Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich"
and called in its release overseas "Flying Clipper". "Wonderama"
splits the original image of the movie in two, with the two halves then
being printed vertically within the 35mm film frame. Via a special prismatic
lens fitted onto the projector, the two halves are re-fused on the screen.
With what is called a "decoder", within the lens, the seam of the two
overlapping partial images is (theoretically) eliminated. However, at the
showing caught by this reporter, the seam at screen center was seldom
eliminated, and, being at screen center, it was much more annoying than were
the seams in the original three-panel Cinerama system. Eye interest
inevitably was drawn to the middle of the picture which, because of the
seam, was usually out of focus. Additionally, the two halves of the picture
seemed to jiggle separately (although both were originating from the same
print) and occasionally to converge on one another so that, for example, it
once looked as if the clipper ship sailing along at screen center was
suddenly "devouring" itself.
The screen for the "Strand Theatre" run is 62 feet wide, 22 feet high and 16
feet deep. According to Reade-Sterling chairman Walter Reade Jr., "Wonderama"
is being expressly developed for use in those smaller cities and towns whose
exhibitors cannot afford to equip for the more expensive Cinerama or 70mm
processes. No exhibitor should have to pay more than $3,000 for the proper "Wonderama"
screen which can be supplied by any dealer, says Reade. When ready,
Reade-Sterling will make the special "Wonderama" lenses available to
exhibitors on a "royalty-per-seat basis". At the present time, only
"Mediterranean Holiday" has been printed in the process, but Reade told
400-plus reporters and exhibitors, whom he ferried to Plainfield for the
occasion that Reade-Sterling plans to have another picture ready before the
end of the year. As it now exists, "Wonderama" is simply a process of
printing, and requires no special production devices, though it was apparent
with "Mediterranean Holiday", which was originally shot on 65mm
stock, that the nearly three-to-one aspect ratio of "Wonderama" was obtained
at the cost of losing some of the original picture at the top or bottom of
American commercial art for the movie "Mediterranean Holiday".
An extract taken from an article written in the trade magazine
"International Projectionist" dated May 1964: "With the Small Theatre
in Mind" – Wonderama Augments Capabilities.
Walter Reade Jr., said in his company's "Strand Theatre" in Plainfield,
New York, that total "Wonderama" conversion of a theatre would cost
approximately $3.000. The specialized lens is intended to be lent
exhibitors by distributors handling "Wonderama" films. Furthermore, he
said that the Strand's per ticket price of $1.25 had increased for
"Mediterranean Holiday" to $1.50, and that he expected the picture
would run about six weeks, in comparison to two or three weeks for a
usually strong feature. Any 35 or 70mm film can be reproduced optically
for the "Wonderama" lens, at a cost similar to that for printing a
standard 35mm film. To replace a flat or slightly curved screen with a
deeply curved "Wonderama" screen can be done between the close of a
night performance and the start of the next night performance. The
Strand's Simplex X-L projectors and Ashcraft lamphouses were used in the
normal 140-ft throw for the "Wonderama" presentation. Lenses are now
available for immediate "Mediterranean Holiday" bookings. For
now, these lenses are being tooled and ground by Zeiss Ikon works in
Germany. Walter Reade-Sterling is now negotiating with an American firm
to make the lenses. (ip).
Author's comment: Another wide-screen process called
"Smith Carney System" was developed in 1958. It also involved the
positioning of parts (this time 3) of an image within a single 35mm film
frame so that they could be projected through 3 separate optical systems
from one projector onto the appropriate portion of a huge curved screen.
"Mediterranean Holiday" in 70mm Cinerama – only
CINERAMA can take you on the most wonderful holiday you ever had!
Tuesday, December 15, 1964, the movie re-opened, now with a 70mm print,
at New York's "Warner Cinerama Theatre" on Broadway advertised "in
Cinerama", where it subsequently ran for 9 weeks. They reported at the
time: "New York Area Premiere Engagement of 70mm version – previously
screened in 35mm multi-panel `Wonderama'."
Use following link in order to get additional information about Cinerama
presented at this cinema (with numerous images):
An interesting review written in "New York VARIETY" dated Wednesday,
December 23, 1964: Mediterranean Holiday (COLOR - CINERAMA)
A Walter Reade-Sterling (Continental) presentation of a Bavaria Film
Production – Directed by Hermann Leitner, Rudolf Nussgruber – Features:
Burl Ives, Captain Skoglund, officers and cadets of the "Flying Clipper"
– Screenplay: Gerd Nickstadt, Arthur Elliot, Hans Dieter Bowe – English
narration: Burl Ives, William Lovelock – Camera: Siegfried Hold, Heinz
Hölscher, Toni Braun, Klaus König, Bernhard Stebich – Aerial shots:
Heinrich Schäfer, Heinz Hölscher – Prologue: Howard Dennis, Howard
McKenzie, Edward Campbell – Sound: Jean Neny – Music: Composed and
conducted by Riz Ortolani – Songs: Music by Ortolani – Lyrics: George
Weiss (sung by Katyna Ranieri) – Burl Ives` songs from Decca Records
Reviewed at the "Warner Cinerama Theatre" in New York on Tuesday,
December 15, 1964. Running time 158 min: German-made 70mm travelogue
gains much with added Burl Ives narration and projection in Cinerama.
Natural for Cinerama houses though reminiscent of "Windjammer".
This 1962 travelogue, filmed by producers Rudolf Travnicek and Georg M.
Reuther for Bavaria Studios in Munich, has been acquired by Walter
Reade-Sterling. It had been additionally fitted up with a prologue
introducing narrator Burl Ives and also got an English narration spoken
by Burl Ives (author's comment: This has most likely already been for
the "Wonderama" presentation). The transition has been smooth and
painless. It has been decided to present it in the single-projector
Cinerama process with the help of a special projector lens which
compensates for the Cinerama screen (it's a bit deeper than standard
70mm screen). With this film another worthy feature has been added to
the Cinerama library. Appeal should be general. There is a considerable
resemblance in concept to Louis de Rochemont's Cinemiracle film
"Windjammer", which also dealt with a sailing ship manned by cadets.
This one, however, sails from Gothenburg (Sweden) to the countries
bordering the Mediterranean. Their ship is an American-designed,
British-built three-master with the English name "Flying Clipper",
while the crew is Scandinavian, including 20 Swedish Merchant Marine
cadets. Their cruise includes visits ashore in Egypt, Portugal,
Yugoslavia, Turkey, Lebanon, Greece, Italy, Monaco and Spain and a
lengthy sequence aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier "Shangri La" when one
of the cadets needs an emergency appendectomy.
and information courtesy of Martin Hart from the website of the
American Widescreen Museum
Ives in a prolog shot by a Hollywood camera crew at Santa Monica pier,
appears on screen to set the scene, but remains an off-screen singing and
narrating voice through the remainder of the film. His occasional singing of
sea chanties are lifted from one of his Decca albums. William Lovelock's
narration, while erudite, also contains considerable whimsy. With exception
of a wild bus ride down a mountain, there is little of the familiar
"Cinerama audience-encompassing feeling" in the film (author's comment: Such
as the well-known roller coaster ride in "This is Cinerama"). Best of
the photography is the aerial filming by Heinrich Schäfer and Heinz Hölscher.
Color work throughout is tasteful and a great asset. Helicopter-made shots
enable the viewer to see such stretches of little-visited country as the
eerie Anatolian flatlands.
Portuguese fishing villages, Lisbon, Dubrovnik, Port Said, a trip up the
Nile to Karnak, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings, Cairo,
Giza (and a "race" to the top of the Great Pyramid), Beirut, Baalbek, Les
Cèdres (the Cedars of Lebanon), Antalya, Göreme, Istanbul, the Shangri-La
(the aircraft carrier), Santorini, Mykonos, Kalymnos, Rhodes and Athens,
Naples and Capri, Monaco and the Grand Prix de Monaco, Barcelona, Granada
and Seville are stopping points for the ship. Bits of humor are introduced
but the film's real appeal are the spectacular views of ship and ports and
people. The music, whether Burl Ives` songs or Riz Ortolani's breezy score,
ably underscores the screen imagery. Some of the songs in the movie were
composed by Ortolani and sung by his wife Katyna Ranieri. They are equally
atmospheric. "Mediterranean Holiday" was shown earlier in "Wonderama"
process but it was never completely satisfactory. It will, of course, become
available in standard 35mm / 70mm when necessary but the Cinerama projection
adds much to its appeal as a cinematic treat. (Robe)
Author's comment: At the time, in America the "CineVision" name was coined
for some 70mm screenings on curved screens (but not in Cinerama).
The Score composed by Riz Ortolani
the left: The German "Decca" Original Soundtrack Album of the MCS 70
movie "Flying Clipper – Traumreise unter weißen Segeln" (from the
author's collection). On the right: The American "London Records" LP (a
U.S. division of the British Decca Label).
On the "London Records" LP cover is written: "You do all this and more
because the Magic of "Wonderama" makes you part of the picture! New…for
the first time! WONDERAMA. Filmed in Glorious Eastman Color and
Sensational Surround Sound. A Walter Reade-Sterling Presentation." The
German record sleeve (reverse side) gives following additional
information: Music performed by the Munich Kurt Graunke Symphony
Orchestra. Composer and conductor: Riz Ortolani – Lyrics: George David
Weiss – Choir: Rudolf Lamy.
Side A.) Overture*, Arrival At Beirut, Impressions Of Greece, Have
Faith*, At Monte Carlo, The Theme From Pharaohs, The Storm, Finale I
Side B.) Sing Sagapo*, Sailor's Day Out, Wherever You May Go*, Twist
Around the World, Portugal (Ave Christo), Spanish Feria, Corrida, Finale
(*sung by Katyna Ranieri)
a MCS 70 Superpanorama movie with 6-channel Stereo Sound mix ("music only"
is told): "Old Shatterhand" (West Germany / France / Italy / Yugoslavia,
1964). Advert taken from the "Münchner Merkur" newspaper. The festive World
Premiere took place at Munich's "Mathäser-Filmpalast" on Thursday, April 30,
1964. The movie ran there until May 28, 1964.
"A unique experience on our giant screen. Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, the
two heroes of the Wild West, are having great new adventures. During 06.00
and 08.45 pm performances all protagonists are present." (Author's comment:
The musical score of this movie was also composed by Riz Ortolani)
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