Today I saw my second Cinerama movie, "This is Cinerama." It was the first movie made on the new process and is just a showcase of what Cinerama brings to the theatre (7 channel sound and a huge, super-wide screen with three projectors). We arrived about an hour before the show started and we were able to walk right in. I was afraid we were too late to get good seats, but luckily we were able to sit in the second row. About a 3 dm behind me and one 1 dm to the right was the X that marks the "sweet spot."
My mom, brother, and I went up to check out the balcony. On our way down, we noticed the door to one of the projection rooms was open, so I snapped a few pictures. The nice projectionist (from the middle booth) noticed our interest and offered to take us to Projection Booth Beta (the center one). I happily agreed and followed him.
In the main room, we saw an old backup 70 mm projector, the film for our movie, and the Boeing digital projector with anamorphic lenses. We also saw the servers that hold the approximately 60 GB movies and a DLP chip. Along with the four projectors and three racks located in this room was a bathroom. He may have noticed our interest and my reasonable amount of knowledge about film and digital projectors, so he offered to take us to the Charlie booth, where another Cinerama projector and the Cinerama sound reels are located.
When the movie started, I was very, very happy to see that it was kept authentic to the original showing because they only opened part of the screen during the introduction. After his history of motion and movies, the man said (I had wanted to see this part of this movie for a few years), "Welcome to CINERAMA!" The curtain opened to reveal a huge screen (it was big during How the West Was Won, but I was sitting a lot farther away) and we were taken on a roller coaster ride.
As the presentor mentioned, Cinerama is in anagram for American. If you have seen any of the movies (This is Cinerama and How the West Was Won (the ones I've seen), especially), then you can really see the patriotic influence. For example, in HTWW they say stuff like, "let's get us some Injuns." You could also see the influence of patriotism in this movie. They dedicated half the movie to America (and American water-skiing babes) and they played songs like God Bless America, America the Beautiful, and a whole bunch of religious songs I don't know the name of. They also had a section in the beginning showing a singing church choir, located in a "place that we are all familiar with," yeah right.
During the tour of the United States, they flew around Mt. Rainier *applause*... and they flew past the "weird coast of the Pacific Northwest." In the first half (I am splitting up half based on the intermission), they took us on a trip around the world, and by world I of course mean Europe (this was the '50's, Asia hadn't yet been discovered yet, right?). After the movie was over, I went up to check out the screen (because other people were showing interest in it and I wanted to see what was so special). The screen is made up of about 2000 venetian blind-like strips, which prevent one side of the screen from reflecting light onto another (I guess that would be a problem when it is so damned curved). I could see a few vertical black stripes during the movie, but I didn't realize it was because the screen was actually in pieces.
Check out the rest of my photos.
Update 2009-01-24: Edited post to improve grammar, sentence structure, and flow. Also added paragraphs and fixed broken links. See the original post at Archive.org.