Sunday, January 05, 2014

Cinerama by Andres Roura

NOTE: I've decided to post some of Andres Roura's stories from movie theaters in Santurce. This one is about the Cinerama. I wrote him that I recall seeing "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" there. And he had a story about that:

"... “no me des cuerda” (for the unfortunate monolinguals: don’t get me started). When “Chitty-Chitty” opened at the Cinerama, we got the print late afternoon the day of the 8 PM “charity gala premiere” for a local organization. We did not have time to screen the picture in advance, we bought it (actually rented it) “sight unseen” as they say in the industry. At about 6PM, the Cinerama chief projectionist called me. We had a problem: the opening credits on the film had the “Sound of Music” opening credits soundtrack instead of the “Chitty” opening credits music. Called Jamie at United Artists who called UA in NY. Nothing could be done, we could not get a new first reel until the next day at about noon. I remembered I had the “Chitty” soundtrack LP in the office which was not far away, at the Cobian Center where the Radio City/Excelsior twins were, and went to get it. Back to the Cinerama. “Rafa” was a terrific projectionist, a graduate of the 70mm spectaculars at the Metropolitan. I told him: start the picture silent, play the first track of the LP on the record player we used for playing music while the audience came in, and as soon as the “Directed by” credit fades out in the screen, drop the phonograph and raise the projector’s volume. It worked like a beauty. No one new the difference. Cross my heart and hope to die this is a true story. Now I have to do some work in the office. An anecdote about the Metropolitan will follow, soon I hope. Andres."

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