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The Regent Theatre in Buffalo

Read more at
in70mm.com
The 70mm Newsletter
Collected by: Thomas HauerslevDate: 01.07.2008
The Regent Theatre as seen in Google maps.

American Optical Company rented the Regent Theatre in Buffalo, NY (800 seats) to use it as a “test” cinema for the new wide screen technology. It was at the Regent Theatre Rodgers and Hammerstein decided Todd-AO had the visual scope and depth they needed and finally gave in and sold the movie rights to their stage play, “Oklahoma!”. On August 8, 1953 at the Regent Theatre in Buffalo, the first screening of prototype Todd-AO took place.

What did they see? A few production test sequences in color simulating scenes from "Oklahoma!" with two young people in a carriage directed by Fred Zinnemann and photographed by Harry Stradling, ACS. A young couple at a picnic on a beach and the roller coaster Atom Smasher filmed at Rockaway Playland near New York starring Evelyn Keyes and photographed June 15, 1953. There were also a scene with water skiing, the canals of Venice (Italy) photographed June 9, 1953 and a bullring in Spain filmed by Michael Todd. Probably also seen were scenes from Niagara Falls (“directed” by Fred Zinnemann).

• Go to Todd-AO Concept Tests. June 1953

Tests were shown with vintage (1934) German Ernemann 65mm projectors that sounded like stone crushers running at 30 frames per second. 65mm projection equipment were bought from Paramount Pictures.

Two other Todd-AO test sites are important to the full story. American Optical Company set up two “cinemas” in their Southbrigde head quarters. The small ½-scale Todd-AO cinema was situated in the AO Research Building and the full-scale cinema in the AO Power House.
 
More in 70mm reading:

Todd-AO

The Todd-AO Projector

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Updated 06-05-22