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Copyright © 1800 - 2070. All rights reserved.
Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas
Abbey Cinerama Theatre - Liverpool U.K.
|Read more at|
The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Mike
Cinerama Theatre - Liverpool fitted out for Cinerama.
Screen width 62 feet.
Cinerama came to Liverpool in 1964 following Manchester in
1963 and after some ten years in
London. Cinerama Inc. had wanted a city
centre theatre and had looked at the Empire. The owners - Moss / Stoll were
not prepared to let go of this theatre as it was the top live show venue in
the city. One of Liverpool's leading independent exhibitors Mr John F. Wood
of Bedford Cinemas (1928) Limited approached Cinerama and offered the
Abbey Cinema some three miles from the city centre. This was a "Super"
cinema built in 1938 just before the second world war.
Constructed for the Regal Cinema Company (Liverpool) limited to the design
of Alderman Alfred Ernest Shennan JP, FRIBA. at a cost of £50,000 pounds. It
seated 1870, 1126 on the ground floor and 744 in the circle. The grand
opening took place on the 4th March 1939. After four years it was sold to
Bedford Cinemas and Mr John F Wood to enhance his small circuit of some
super "Art Deco" cinemas across Liverpool.
The conversion to Cinerama cost
£75,000 pounds plus £30,000 for the special projection equipment. The
seating capacity was reduced to 1260. Cinerama was
a great initial success showing all the travelogues and the Merseyside
"How the West Was Won"
and "The Wonderful World of the
|More in 70mm reading:|
The Projected Pictures Trust. A
Visit to the archive in Halifax, UK
70mm Cinema and Film
in the United Kingdom
in70mm.com's Cinerama page
Projection team for Cinerama presentation.
From left: Ron Checkley, Jim Wood, Ian Brown, and Des Mcgreal - who took this photo
with a timer. Two of the projectionists are still alive. Ron Checkley is in Liverpool and
Ian Brown is living in Guernsey on the Channel Isles.
Cinerama commenced here on the 17th March 1964.
Sadly, the late arrival of Cinerama and no further productions, the three
panel system ended in April 1 1965. Bedford Cinemas changed over to single
lens Cinerama using 70mm film for the screening of "Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad
In March 1971 Cinerama films at the Abbey ceased after a eleven week run of
“Song of Norway”. A
number of screenings of epic 70mm productions followed. The Abbey survived
for another five years of mixed presentations, but finally closed on 4th
August 1979 with a showing of "The Towering Inferno" in 70mm. After
closure there was an auction of the buildings fixtures and fittings
including the projection equipment and
within three months the building was converted to a supermarket and snooker
hall. Apart from a name change, the exterior does not look any different
from when it first opened.
The current supermarket wanted to demolish the building and build a new one
on the carpark. But I am pleased to say that English Heritage have listed
the building Grade Two as it is a fine example of a 1930,s "Art Deco" cinema
and one of the best of its type in the country. The supermarket have
withdrawn their plans for a new one.
Photo List from PPT Collection
building converted to German supermarket LIDL.
interior prior to Cinerama
publicity poster - for Cinerama
follower on left, and rewind equipment.
Prologues for Cinerama
where shown from the original projection room above the circle using Kalee
night before closure. Screening of "The Towering Inferno" in 70mm.
Local shopkeeper took advantage of Cinerama for a new shop sign.
• Go to
"Rama" - In all it's screen splendour!
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