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Old Fashion Disruption

November 21st, 2013 by ccrouch
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The glowing screens and electronic chirp of cell phones are a uniquely modern disruption to the movie going experience. However, as this cinema slide (circa 1915) illustrates, theatre patrons of a century ago faced their own unique disruption.

hat slide

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Exotic Adventure At The Fox West Coast

October 11th, 2013 by ccrouch
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Today’s picture captures Santa Ana’s Fox West Coast Theatre decorated for the 1934 adventure film “Wild Cargo”.

Fox West Coast

A pseudo documentary, “Wild Cargo” depicted exotic animal trapping by big game hunter/celebrity Frank “Bring Em’ Back Alive” Buck. In reality, the harrowing adventure was shot, under highly controlled and staged circumstances, on the Malayan estate of the Sultan of Johor (one of the world’s wealthiest men at the time).

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Grauman Estate Auction

August 14th, 2013 by ccrouch
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I’ve been conducting research for a pending post on the last years of Sid Grauman’s life. Among the interesting items I have run across is this 1950 newspaper advertisement for his estate auction. 

Grauman Auction

While I’m sure a great many of his former belongings are long vanished or forever separated from their history, one can’t help but wonder where some of these items now reside.

An interesting side note/warning for memorabilia collectors: In a 1950 court deposition, it came to light that Sid Grauman very rarely wrote his own correspondence or even personally signed much of anything; the bulk of such output actually came from the hand of his personal assistant, Gertrude Skall. According to Ms. Skall, “about the only thing he ever wrote was an autograph and that only on a picture for someone particularly close to him.”

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Cycloramic: The Magic Screen of the Future

July 17th, 2013 by ccrouch
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Those who attended Corona Del Mar’s Port, during the theatre’s inaugural years, were treated to “The Magic Screen of The Future”.

Port Theatre Cycloramic

Branded with a somewhat schlocky name and grandiose marketing, at the time of its’ 1949 launch, the Starke Cycloramic Custom Screen was promoted as offering a brighter, more uniform, picture, via the exclusion of perforations. Where most movie screens utilized/utilize a perforated surface to allow for better sound transfer, the Cycloramic screen possessed a “silky smooth” surface. According to promotional literature, in addition to creating a 20% brighter image, this eliminated the strobe effect found on perforated screens and reduced eye strain.

The company’s marketing claims, that Cycloramic screens improved depth “to the third dimension” and made every seat in the house “a winner”, were certainly suspect. However, Cycloramic did help popularize the movement towards larger screens, which were customized to better fit venues of varying sizes. In addition to the modestly sized Port, Cycloramic screens were also featured in more grand venues, such as Los Angeles’ Carthay Circle and New York’s Radio City Music Hall, on a larger scale.

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Forgotten Cinema: Westbrook Twin

July 13th, 2013 by ccrouch
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This past week marked the 40th anniversary of Garden Grove’s long forgotten Westbrook Twin.

Westbrook Twin Cinema

Opened on July 3, 1973, the 800 seat Westbrook Twin was typical of the quick build, “no frills”, design, which was prevalent throughout the 1970’s. Serving as more of a territory place holder for the Edwards chain, than true movie going draw, the theatre never experienced a great deal of success and quickly lost ground to a new generation of multiplexes; resorting to discount bookings by the close of the 1980’s. In a less than politically correct fashion, Edwards cited the area’s “oriental” demographic as the root cause for the Westbrook’s lackluster box office take and shuttered the venue on October 25, 1990.

In the spring of 1991, a group of Vietnamese-American entrepreneurs sought to make better use of the site’s close proximity to Little Saigon, as a Vietnamese/Chinese/French language venue, and sublet the theatre from Edwards. Rebranded the Thu Do Cinema, the theatre managed to hang on for another few years, before shutting down for good, circa 1996.

Westbrook

Abandoning any further use as a cinema, the facility was gutted and subdivided for office space shortly after closing. Today, the former “All New and Beautiful” Westbrook Twin serves as the home to a collection of doctors’ offices and auto insurance outlets.

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Happy 4th of July

July 4th, 2013 by ccrouch
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Cinelog wishes all of you a safe and happy Independence day.

4th

The “Chinese auditorium” at Edwards Irvine Spectrum pictured above.

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The Grand & Miss Jones

July 4th, 2013 by ccrouch
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A 1941 program from Anaheim’s Grand Theatre, featuring the Jean Arthur Comedy “The Devil and Miss Jones”.

Grand Theatre Program

Some thirty-five years later, a very different “Miss Jones” feature would screen at the theatre, via the adult film “The Devil in Miss Jones”. While the two films hold nothing in common, outside of their titles, they provide rather telling bookends to the Grand’s history.

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Behind the Scenes at a Legend

May 25th, 2013 by ccrouch
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Today’s pictures come from a 1927 “Scientific American” feature on New York City’s legendary Roxy Theatre (1927-1960); depicting a few of the industrial caliber support features that went in to running the massive venue (the 5,920 seat Roxy even had a “completely equipped” hospital!).

Roxy Theatre Ammenities 2          Roxy Theatre Ammenities

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A Modern Annoyance?

May 7th, 2013 by ccrouch
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Think those annoying pre show commercials are a recent addition to the movie going experience? Well, here is a 1947 trade publication advertisement for the Movie Advertising Bureau, promoting the benefits of running sixty to eighty second spots in movie theatres. Yes, even in the “good old days”, there were television style commercials, hawking everything from Ford’s latest automobile to do-it-yourself fabric dying with RIT.

1947

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The Parallel of MPTOA 31′ & NATO 13′

April 14th, 2013 by ccrouch
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This week, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) convenes in Las Vegas for the organization’s yearly meeting/trade show/schmooze fest, Cinema Con. Eighty-two years ago, one of NATO’s predecessors, The Motion Picture Theatre Owners of America, came together at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, for the day’s premiere industry convention.

MPTOA

While separated by some nine decades, there stands an interesting parallel between the two conventions. Back in 1931, the exhibition industry had reached a point of finality in the conversion from silent pictures to “talkies”; sound was no longer a burgeoning technology or novelty, but a necessity for survival. Move forward to 2013 and the industry has once again reached a technological gate, with digital projection. Be it at Grauman’s Egyptian in 1931 or Caesar’s Palace in 2013, the conventions mark a similar “last chance” ultimatum for those exhibitors who hadn’t/haven’t changed with the times.

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