Saturday, March 30, 2013

This Is Cinerama

During my childhood in Western New York I remember visiting a  "movie attraction" at a local amusement park. It boasted a "realistic experience" of riding a roller coaster and flying.
Curious, we decided to check it out. I recall a circular theater that was standing room only. In front of each row were bars that you could hold onto in case you lost your balance.
As the movie started, I was amazed at just how real it felt. So realistic in fact, that I succumbed to motion sickness and left rather pale and queasy. 
The movie I watched so many years ago was the 1950's sensation, "This Is Cinerama".

The technology was revolutionary in its day.
You see, during the late 1940's and early 1950's television was gaining popularity and movie theaters were suffering.Cinemas were losing as much as 40% of their audiences and many were closing down all across the United States.
To try and win back movie goers, the film industry strived to make the big screen, bigger than ever.
The first of the widescreen experiments was Cinerama.
Three 35mm cameras would shoot the scene. Then three projectors would beam the final films side by side on a huge 90 foot curved screen.
The curved shape gave a 3D effect by using the movie goers peripheral vision.
Lastly, stereophonic speakers were placed behind the screen and around the cinema. It gave an amazing realistic effect.

The movie "This Is Cinerama" was the launching film for this new and exciting process.

It was released in 1952, grossed over 20 million dollars and ran for over three years.

Today, there are still a few Cinerama theaters that survived. There is one in Hollywood  Seattle, Dayton, Ohio and Bradford, England. 

                                                 Pacific Cinerama Hollywood

Rachel Davies Google+ March 31st, 2013

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Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Rachel! You have a fantastic blog and I have decided to follow. Your posts bring back many memories of my own childhood in 1950s Pennsylvania. This one reminds me of the first movie I ever saw which was House of Wax, the Vincent Price 3-D horror feature. I was only three years old at the time and you can imagine my excitement experiencing such a spectacle. My blog is a celebration of the best music and memories of my youth in the 50s and 60s and I invite you to follow. I think you'll enjoy my blog and I would really appreciate having you as a new friend. Thank you, Rachel!

Rachel Davies @ Old Soul Retro said...

Shady Del Knight thank you so much for your kind words. It is my hope to rekindle memories of days gone by for all who read my blog. I enjoyed your writing as well and look forward to your posts. All the best...

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