Friday, September 12, 2008
Remembering the Cinerama
The Cinerama theater in San Juan, Puerto Rico was one of my favorite movie theaters when I was a kid. It's curved screen and spectacular achitecture made it a special place to watch movies. The Cinerama specialized in showing epic movies, but even the cheapest exploitation movies (and they ocassionally showed those), looked great on the giant screen.
One reason I am posting about the Cinerama is that this week a special edition of the movie "How the West Was Won" appeared on DVD. This was the first movie shown at the Cinerama way back in 1962. It was also the first real movie shown in the Cinerama process which featured three projectors showing the movie at the same creating, creating an effect which made scenery even more real than today's IMAX. Unfortunately, the cost of making movies and the fact that only a few theaters in the world could show real Cinerama made it unprofitable and Cinerama died.
So it is interesting to think that San Juan was one of the few cities in the world with a Cinerama theater. I was too young to see "How the West was Won" there, but I remember seeing " Reds" and "Krakatoa, East of Java" there. Unfortunately, the Cinerama, like most Santurce theaters became a victim of the urban decay and crime ridden 1980's and it closed. I was able to take a photo of it before it became a carpet store. A carpet store, What a sad ending to one of San Juan's most special, magical places.