Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections:
Downtown | Hollywood | Westside | [more] L.A. Movie Palaces | Theatres In Movies
To see what's recently been added to the mix visit the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.

Film and Theatre Technology Resources


Early film exhibition
 
Grand Opera House - 1896 - First film exhibition on a screen in Los Angeles.  The projectionist was one other than the legendary Billy Porter. The c.1890 photo of the Grand is from the California State Library.

Tally's Phonograph & Vitascope Parlor - 1896 - First regularly scheduled film screenings.

Tally's Electric Theatre - 1902 - Considered to be the first purpose-built theatre for film exhibition in Los Angeles.

The Bioscope - A blog reporting on the world of early and silent cinema.

Wikipedia - The Vitascope article discusses the 1895 development by Jenkins and Armat, later marketed by Edison as the successor to his Kinetoscope.


Early sound equipment
 
American Widescreen Museum - Early Sound Processes | Optical soundtrack examples

FilmSound.org - 100 Years of Cinema Loudspeakers

Lee Sound - Altec photo gallery | Altec index

Ominious Valve -  The Tube Thing  | The horn illustration is from the site's Altec Lansing Speakers page.

Wikipedia - "Sound Film" - an article covering early technology 


Later sound film history 

Robert Gitt's fantastic "The History of Sound in Motion Pictures: The Sound of Movies 1933-1975" is available free from the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Ominious Valve - Altec Lansing Speakers 


Early Color

Tally's Broadway - Tally's was the Kinemacolor house in Los Angeles, with an installation of its special projectors. For a while in 1911 it was called the Kinemacolor Theatre.

American Widescreen Museum - Early color -- index page | Kinemacolor | Technicolor history

Talkie King -  Chronochrome | The illustration of the camera and projector is from the site's article on Kinemacolor


Vintage projection equipment

See Kurt Wahlner's "The Dream Machines," an extensive history of projection equipment from 1927 onward on his site GraumansChinese.org

Tom Wilson's Vintage Photographs and Postcards set on Flickr is a great collection of photos of early projection and sound equipment. He's a collector of not just the photos but the equipment itself.


Vitaphone

Grauman's Egyptian - The main page on the Egyptian has several items relating to the 1926 run of "Don Juan."

Criterion Theatre - Leased by Warners for the run of "The Jazz Singer" (1927).

Tower Theatre - Ran a sneak preview of "The Jazz Singer" and later got the moveover run.

Warner Hollywood - The main page on the Warner has a discussion of the Vitaphone process. The booth page has several early Vitaphone-equipped views.

Belknap Collection for the Performing Arts - The Vitaphone section has items related to the runs of "Don Juan" and "The Jazz Singer" including this photo of the Warner in New York.

George Groves - A site devoted to this pioneer soundman -- with lots of information and memorabilia from his days with Bell Labs, Vitaphone and Warner Bros.

Movie Mice - John Conning's great site is all about early Western Electric sound equipment.

Talkie King - "The First Talkie"

Vitaphone Varieties - A blog about early talkies.

The Vitaphone Project - On a mission to round up and preserve Vitaphone films and discs.

Wikipedia - "Vitaphone"


70mm Fox Grandeur 1929 - 1930

Criterion Theatre - This downtown theatre may have run "Movietone Follies of 1929" in the 70mm Fox Grandeur process. The film opened May 24, 1929. Or was it just in 35mm? It's unknown.

Carthay Circle - The page on this theatre has photos of the booth and the special Simplex projectors installed for the seven week run of "Happy Days," which opened February 28, 1930.

Grauman's Chinese - The Chinese was equipped with the special 70mm projectors to run "The Big Trail," an 8 week run beginning October 2, 1930. There's more about Grandeur on the main Chinese page.

The Chinese also ran "Song o' My Heart," which opened April 19, 1930. It was filmed in both 35mm as well as 70mm Grandeur but the consensus is that that the 70mm version was never exhibited and the Chinese run was 35mm. See Mile's Kreuger's article on "Song 'O My Heart."

3-D Film Archive - See the Widescreen Documentation page of Bob Furmanek's terrific 3-D Film Archive site for reproduction of some articles on Grandeur.

American Widescreen Museum - "70 Millimeters" - An American Cinematographer article from February, 1930 - the article includes sample frames

From Script To DVD - "70mm & Wide Gauge: The Early Years" - A list of early wide film exhibition dates in Los Angeles. 

In70mm.com - "Magnified Grandeur -- The Big Screen 1926-1931" -  A fine article by David Coles about early widescreen processes. The article "Grandeur" by Dan Sherlock is a discussion of "Movietone Follies of 1929" and whether it played as a full feature in 70mm. Also see the List of films exhibited in widescreen 1929 - 1931.

The photo above of one of the specially built 35/70 Grandeur machines from the Carey Williams Collection appears on the In70mm.com page "Simplex Grandeur 70 Projector." There's also a photo of the Simplex 35/70 machine in the August 1, 1931 issue of Motion Picture Herald, on Internet Archive.

Wikipedia - "Fox Grandeur" | list of film formats


65mm Warner Vitascope 1929 - 1931

Warner Hollywood - The main page on the Warner has a discussion of the 65mm Vitascope process. The Warner ran two features in 1930 and 1931 in 65mm: "Kismet" and "The Lash."

Warner Downtown - The theatre ran "A Soldier's Plaything" in 65mm in 1930.

From Script To DVD - "70mm & Wide Gauge: The Early Years" - A list of early wide film exhibition dates in Los Angeles. 

In70mm.com - "Vitascope" - a list of productions | "Magnified Grandeur -- The Big Screen 1926-1931" - A discussion about early widescreen -- including Vitascope. Also see the list of films exhibited in widescreen 1929 - 1931.


Disney's Fantasound 1940 - 1941

Carthay Circle Theatre - This venue got the full stereo roadshow treatment for an engagement opening January 30, 1941. The page has lots of information on the process.

American Widescreen Museum - Start your Fantasound explorations with the American Widescreen Museum's Fantasound section: page 1 | page 2 | page 3 |

Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers - A Fantasound technical paper. It also appears in the Widescreen Museum Fantasound section


More Early Widescreen Adventures

3-D Film Archive - See the Widescreen Documentation page of Bob Furmanek's site for information about Magnascope in the 20s.

American Widescreen Museum - "70mm is Born, Dies and is Resurrected" | more early widescreen articles

From Script To DVD - "70mm & Wide Gauge: The Early Years" - A list of early wide film exhibition dates in Los Angeles. 

In70mm.com - "Magnified Grandeur -- The Big Screen 1926-1931" - The article by David Coles offers lots of discussion about early widescreen processes. | list of films exhibited in widescreen 1929 - 1931 | "The Bat Whispers in 65mm" - Magnifilm | "Magnifilm" | "Natural Vision" | "Realife"

Wikipedia - "List of Early Wide Gauge Films"

There were a number of films photographed in various wide film formats that only got exhibited in conventional 35mm.


Cinerama - 1952

Warner Hollywood - See the page on the Warner for a discussion of the three strip Cinerama projection process. The Warner later also ran 70mm films as "Presented in Cinerama."

The Cinerama Dome - Opened in 1963 with 70mm and later ran revivals of the original three strip Cinerama process films.

Forum Theatre - This theatre on Pico was a test house for both the 3-strip and 70mm Cinerama processes.

American Widescreen Museum - Cinerama - A great section of this amazing website.

Cinerama Adventure - A site about a Cinerama documentary by that name and also information about the new Cinerama production "In the Picture." Also see the site's page of  "Cinerama and Widescreen Related Links."

In Cinerama - Roland Latalle's website about everything Cinerama and Cinemiracle. The site has lots of ads, articles and more. See his pages on the Cinerama Dome and the Warner Cinerama.

From Script To DVD - "This is Cinerama in Los Angeles

In70mm.com - Cinerama section "From Broadway to the Dome" | "This Is Cinerama" by Greg Kimble

Observations on Film Art - David Boardwell's blog has a nice article on the "Wayward charms of Cinerama."

Ominous Valve - "Cinerama II: The Revival"

Vintage Theatre Catalogs - Bob Foreman has the program from the initial 1952 New York engagement of "This Is Cinerama" on his site.

Wikipedia - "Cinerama"

A new 3 strip Cinerama production: "In The Picture" premiered in September, 2012 at the "Cinerama at 60" festival at the Dome. It was the first footage shot in the 3 strip process in over 50 years. On YouTube: "Cinerama 2012" | "Cinerama 2012 - Part 2"


Transition to Widescreen

3-D Film Archive - See the Widescreen Documentation page of Bob Furmanek's terrific site for great research on the industry's transition to widesceeen and stereo sound presentation. 


Cinemascope - 1953

Grauman's Chinese - The Chinese got the premiere of "The Robe," the first Cinemascope feature. For years it advertised itself as "The Home of Cinemascope in Hollywood." See the main Chinese page for a discussion of the process. The photo is of the signage going up in fall 1953.

The street view timeline pages from 1926 to 1954 and from 1955 to the present offer some nice views of the elaborate signage for Cinemascope features, illustrating how it changed from picture to picture.

American Widescreen Museum - main Cinemascope section | "Cinemascope - Information for the Theatre" | "Cinemascope 55" -- an 8 perf process on 55mm film. It was vertical, not horizontal like Vistavision.

Wikipedia - "Cinemascope"

YouTube - "The Cinemascope Story"


VistaVision - 1954

Warner Bros. Beverly Hills - One of the few theatres in the country to actually get an installation of the horizontal Century projectors with an 8 perforation per frame "pull across" for Paramount's "high fidelity" process. See the page for a discussion. 

The El Capitan - There are stories that the El Capitan (then called the
Paramount) got an installation of horizontal projectors for VistaVision. It's unknown what features were run.

American Widescreen Museum - The illustration is from the site's VistaVision section. Also see the article "Horizontal VistaVision Projector" and "The Development of VistaVision."  Thanks, Martin!

Wikipedia - "VistaVision" | "Technirama"  a 35mm horiontal process like VistaVision but with an anamorphic lens | list of film formats


70mm TODD-AO - 1955

Egyptian Theatre - This was the first Los Angeles Theatre equipped for the process. It got the premiere engagement of "Oklahoma" in 1955. The main page about the theatre discusses the process, with several illustrations.

United Artists - Equipped in 1955 to add a second theatre to the run of "Oklahoma."

Carthay Circle - Ran the second film in the process, "Around The World in 80 Days," in 1956. See the page for photos of the renovation in process and the finished screen installation.

From Script To DVD - The "70mm in Los Angeles" section has detailed information about 70mm runs and 70mm equipped theatres. 

In 70mm.com - "70mm Projectors" | "TODD-AO" | "TODD-AO - The Show of Shows" | DP70 projector index page | "DP70: A The Story of the TODD-AO Projector" | "Construction of the DP70" | "DP70 Projectors in the USA (Los Angeles)" | The faded 70mm clip from "The Alamo" is featured on "Dust To Dust," a discussion of film presentation.

Red Balloon - 70mm theatres list -- updated 2016

Wikipedia - "TODD-AO" -  A view of a 65mm negative and 70mm release print in the process. Click on it for a larger view. Also see: roadshow releases | list of film formats


Cinemiracle - 1958

Grauman's Chinese - Equipped in 1958 for the 3 strip presentation of "Windjammer."  The main page on the theatre has a discussion of the work done to get a 100' wide screen installed in the theatre.

Music Box Theatre - This venue (then called the Fox) got a 15 week moveover run of "Windjammer."  They cited improvements in both screen and projection technology for that engagement. Meaning they probably made a composite print and ran it in 35mm scope format.

Melrose Theatre - This venue was set up as a test house for the process. See the page for a photo of the temporary projection installation

GraumansChinese.org - See Kurt Wahlner's extensive research on Cinemiracle and the installation at the Chinese on page two of "The Dream Machines," his history of projection and sound at the theatre.

In Cinerama - Roland Lataille's great Cinerama site has extensive "Windjammer" coverage. The postcard of the premiere at the Chinese is in his Chinese Theatre postcards section. Also see: Cinemiracle main page | "Windjammer" at the Chinese | 1958 listings -- ads, articles |

In70mm.com - Cinemiracle section

Widescreen Museum - Cinemiracle section

Wilfried Wittowski - an article on "Windjammer."

A view of a typical 3 machine Cinemiracle booth from the now-vanished site Swedish Widescreen Center. Shown are 3 modified 35mm Century projectors plus a regular machine in a single booth. The process used mirrors to bounce the left and right panel images to the screen.


Smell - O - Vision

Fox Ritz Theatre - The page on the Ritz has information about the 1960 run of Mike Todd Jr.'s "Scent of Mystery," the only film in the process.


70mm Dimension 150 - 1968

Egyptian Theatre - The Egyptian was the showcase venue for this wide angle system and got a new 75' screen and masking system. The main page has a bit of discussion, the auditorium page has photos of the D-150 installation, and the booth page has a look at the new downstairs booth. The photo of the D-150 screen is from a 1969 Motion Picture Herald article.

Rosemary Theatre - This venue on the boardwalk in Ocean Park was used as a test house for the process.

American Widescreen Museum - Dimension 150 section

In Cinerama - Roland Lataille's site has a section on Dimension 150. Also see his Dimension 150 at the Egyptian page.

In 70mm - D-150 section | "Come Back D-150..." | "The D-150 Super Curvulon Lens"


Other post-1955 70mm processes

From Script To DVD - The "70mm in Los Angeles" section has detailed information about 70mm runs and 70mm equipped theatres. The page allows searching the engagements by year and notes what process (Ultra Panavision, Technirama, etc.) the films employed. The site's 70mm Long Runs page is a great list of the longest running films in the 70mm format in Los Angeles.

In70mm.com - "The Original First Week Engagements of Star Wars" - Michael Coate


Links to more movie links

Cinerama Adventure -- links page | Film Sound -- links page | Silents Are Golden -- links page | Silent Film Still Archive -- links page | The Vitaphone Project -- links page


Lists of film and sound formats

Wikipedia - "List of film formats"

Lenard Audio - "Cinema Sound Formats"


Film Preservation

Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

The Film Foundation

National Film Preservation Foundation

Nitrateville

San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Silents Are Golden

The Vitaphone Project


Current film tech information and suppliers

American Cinema Equipment - booth equipment and supplies

Barco Digital Projectors

Bay Area Cinema Products - soundhead retrofit kits and lots more

Big Screen Biz - a blog and discussion forum for exhibitors

Christie - digital projectors and servers

Cinemeccanica - film and digital projectors, sound systems, servers, lamphouses and more

Claco Equipment & Service - parts and soundhead upgrade kits for Norelco projectors plus a full line of booth supplies

Component Engineering - sound system components including LED and Dolby Digital retrofit kits for existing soundheads -- plus a line of sound equipment and automation for digital theatres

Digital Cinema Initiatives - information about specs and practices for DCI compliance 

Digital Cinema Today

DLP - Texas Instruments - digital projector components

Dolby - digital and analong sound, Dolby 3-D process, Dolby Atmos

DTS - In70mm.com - "What is 70mm DTS Sound?" | In70mm - "DTS 70mm requirements" | The 70mm frames with the DTS timecode track are from the In70mm article "Vertigo in 70mm DTS"

Film Tech - supplies, vintage projector and sound manuals, theatre photos, and lots more | threading a platter | threading a projector

Future Lighting - specialists in large scale outside projection

Harkness - theatre screens

IMAX - IMAX Corporation website | Wikipedia article on the process | "Destroy Fake Imax" - a blog from 2009  | Cinema Sightlines: TJ Edwards on the problems with the digital mini-IMAX format |    

Kelmar - sound, automation, misc. booth equipment.

Kinoton - film and digital projectors, lamphouses, transport system

Large Format Examiner - articles on large format processes including "Large Formats," a comparision of various film and digital formats and a page of links to articles on the early digital IMAX controversy.

Lenard Audio - Cinema Sound | Sound formats

Motion Picture Technology  -- a Facebook page of interest

NEC Digital Cinema

Projector Reviews.com - consumer equipment

QSC Cinema - projectors, sound, the works

Qube Digital Cinema - servers, etc.

Real D - hardware and software for 3D exhibition

Sony Digital Cinema

Ballantyne Strong Cinema Products - digital projectors,screens, servers, signage

Technicolor

Tru-Roll - rigging, curtain tracks, draperies, projection frames and screens

Wikipedia - cue marks | film formats | movie projectors | 35mm film | 70mm film

Xpand Vision - active and passive 3D systems


Stage tech resources -- historic

Rick Boychuk - See Rick's Facebook page for fascinating posts of his visits to old theatres to examine vintage rigging equipment. Also check out his website CounterweightRigging.com. He's the author of  "Nobody Looks Up: The History of the Counterweight Rigging System 1500 - 1925."

Vintage Theatre Catalogs - Bob Foreman is Atlanta-based and while his major mission is documenting the technical aspects of the Atlanta Fox, he has many interesting articles on other vintage technical topics as well.

| 1949 stage specs - Theatre, Arena & Auditorium Guide | Frank Adam switchboards | Land of Luxtrol | Major Equipment Co. - stage lighting catalogs - 1919, 1922, 1931 | Major Equipment Co. - 1958 catalog | Westinghouse Theatre Switchboards - 1930 | Cinerama program - NY - 1952San Francisco Fox - stage information |  About the Atlanta Fox: Backstage at the Fox 1929 | Fox Fact - a companion siteFanchon & Marco at the Fox |


Stage tech resources - sound

Apogee - speakers, amps, EQ

dbx - crossovers, limiters, processors

Clear-Com - intercoms

EAW - loudspeakers, amps

Full Compass - snakes, cabling, equipment

JBL Pro

Klark Teknik - signal processing

Meyer Sound - speakers, equalizers and related products

Odyssey - equipment cases, racks

Pro Sound Web - articles and forums on many topics including "Sound on Broadway," a 2009 article by Mark Frink

QSC - amps and speakers

Quam Loudspeakers - L pads, dressing room monitor speakers, etc.

Shure - mics, monitors, mixers

"Sound and Recording" - on Google Books

Star Case - racks and cases

Sweetwater - cabling, connectors, pro audio items

Yamaha Pro Audio - consoles, EQ, processing


Stage tech resources - lighting

Altman Lighting - instruments

ETC Connect  - instruments, dimmers

Leprecon - dimming systems

Lycian Stage Lighting - followspots

MBS Equipment Co. - lights, rigging, misc. stage equipment

Phoebus Lighting -SF based supply house

Strand Lighting - dimmers and instruments

Strong - xenon followspots

Union Connector - connectors, cabling, company switches, patch panels, portable power distribution

Vision Quest Lighting - instruments, etc. including the old Lighting & Electronics line


Stage tech resources - rigging and drapes

J.R. Clancy - rigging equipment, stage hardware

Grosh Scenic Studios - backdrops, drapery, curtain tracks

H & H Specialties - rigging equipment, curtain tracks

Rose Brand - curtains, fabrics, stage hardware, miscellaneous stage supplies

Tiffin Scenic Studios - rigging, drapes

Tru-Roll - curtain tracks, draperies, projection frames and screens

Wenger - music stands, risers, orchestra shells, SECOA and Clancy rigging products


Stage tech - seating

Irwin Seating - new & restoration


Stage tech resources - historic restoration

Evergreene Architectural Arts - paint, plaster, decorative finishes

Amy Higgins - building restoration artist. The photo is of Ms. Higgins at work on the ceiling of Grauman's Chinese during a 2001 restoration project.

Cole Lighting - light fixtures both new and reproduction


Stage tech resources - theatre supply houses 

Mainstage Theatrical Supply - a Milwaukee based supply house

PNTA - Seattle

Stagecraft Industries - Portland

Texas Scenic -  A full service supply house in San Antonio, Texas and Rockville, Maryland.


| back to top | Hollywood Theatres: overview and alphabetical lists | Hollywood Theatres: list by address | L.A. Theatres: main alphabetical listL.A. Theatres: list by address | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |

No comments:

Post a Comment