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Author Topic: 70mm Presentations in Louisville
Michael Coate
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1860
From: Los Angeles, California
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 07-20-2017 03:22 PM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
New/updated article about 70mm (and other large format and roadshow) presentations in Louisville. Feedback (and reminiscences) appreciated.

Showcase Presentations in Louisville

quote:
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Showcase Presentations in Louisville

A Chronology of Large Format and Roadshow Exhibition, 1956-Present


Compiled by Michael Coate

Part 1: The Cinemas

CLARKSVILLE (Indiana)
Trans-Lux

FAIRDALE (Kentucky)
South Park Drive-In

LOUISVILLE (Kentucky)
Brown
Cinema 1 (see: Showcase Cinemas)
Penthouse
Rialto
Showcase Cinemas
Stony Brook
United Artists

Part 2: The Engagements

The roadshows (i.e. reserved-seat engagements) are listed with an asterisk following their title.

m/o = a move-over engagement (i.e. a continuation of a booking from another cinema)

IMAX and other special venue presentations have not been included.

YYYY-MM-DD … TITLE … Cinema (duration in weeks) [notes or projection process if other than 70mm]

1956-08-21 … OKLAHOMA!* … Brown (19)

1957-02-20 … THE TEN COMMANDMENTS* … Brown (14) [35mm]
1957-05-28 … AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS* … Brown (18)
1957-10-02 … RAINTREE COUNTY* … Brown (13) [35mm] [world premiere engagement]
1957-12-29 … AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS* … Brown (4)

1958-05-08 … SOUTH PACIFIC* … Brown (27)

1959-03-13 … SLEEPING BEAUTY … Brown (6)
1959-10-15 … THE BIG FISHERMAN* … Brown (6)
1959-12-25 … PORGY AND BESS* … Brown (6)

1960-02-17 … SOLOMON AND SHEBA … Brown (5)
1960-05-19 … BEN-HUR* … Brown (23)
1960-10-28 … CAN-CAN* … Brown (12)

1961-03-16 … SPARTACUS* … Brown (8)
1961-03-29 … THIS IS CINERAMA* … Rialto (15) [Cinerama]
1961-06-22 … EXODUS* … Brown (7)
1961-07-13 … SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD* … Rialto (14) [Cinerama]
1961-10-19 … CINERAMA HOLIDAY* … Rialto (13) [Cinerama]

1962-01-11 … THE KING AND I … Brown (2)
1962-01-19 … SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE … Rialto (13) [Cinerama]
1962-01-26 … KING OF KINGS* … Brown (5)
1962-03-02 … EL CID* … Brown (10)
1962-04-20 … SEARCH FOR PARADISE … Rialto (6) [Cinerama]
1962-05-30 … WINDJAMMER … Rialto (13) [Cinerama]
1962-06-27 … WEST SIDE STORY* … Brown (14)
1962-08-29 … THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM* … Rialto (12) [Cinerama]
1962-11-21 … THE BEST OF CINERAMA … Rialto (11) [Cinerama]

1963-02-06 … THE LONGEST DAY* … Rialto (11) [35mm]
1963-04-12 … LAWRENCE OF ARABIA* … Penthouse (11)
1963-04-25 … MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY* … Rialto (7)
1963-06-13 … HOW THE WEST WAS WON* … Rialto (26) [Cinerama]
1963-06-26 … CLEOPATRA* … Penthouse (23)
1963-12-20 … IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD* … Rialto (26) [“Cinerama”]

1964-08-14 … CIRCUS WORLD* … Rialto (9) [“Cinerama”]

1965-02-24 … MY FAIR LADY* … Penthouse (32)
1965-04-07 … THE SOUND OF MUSIC* … Rialto (64)
1965-09-30 … THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL* … Cinema 1 (5) [“Cinerama”]
1965-10-06 … THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES* … Penthouse (11)
1965-11-03 … THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD* … Cinema 1 (13) [“Cinerama”]
1965-12-25 … THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY* … Penthouse (6)

1966-02-02 … BATTLE OF THE BULGE* … Cinema 1 (9) [“Cinerama”]
1966-04-20 … RUSSIAN ADVENTURE* … Cinema 1 (4) [“Cinerama”]
1966-05-18 … MEDITERRANEAN HOLIDAY* … Cinema 1 (3) [“Cinerama”]
1966-06-29 … KHARTOUM* … Cinema 1 (7) [“Cinerama”]
1966-06-29 … THE SOUND OF MUSIC* … Penthouse m/o (15 [79])
1966-06-30 … DOCTOR ZHIVAGO* … Rialto (31)
1966-10-14 … THE BLUE MAX* … Penthouse (10) [35mm]
1966-12-20 … IS PARIS BURNING?* … Cinema 1 (6) [35mm]

1967-02-02 … THE BIBLE* … Rialto (21) ["D-150"]
1967-02-15 … HAWAII* … Cinema 2 (17) [35mm]
1967-03-08 … THE SAND PEBBLES* … Penthouse (20) [35mm]
1967-05-09 … ULYSSES* … Bard (3 days) [35mm]
1967-06-14 … THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE* … Cinema 2 (20) [35mm]
1967-07-12 … GRAND PRIX* … Cinema 1 (15) [“Cinerama”]
1967-12-20 … THE BIBLE … Penthouse (2)
1967-12-21 … GONE WITH THE WIND* … Rialto (26)

1968-01-31 … CAMELOT* … Cinema 2 (14)
1968-02-07 … CUSTER OF THE WEST* … Cinema 1 (4) [“Cinerama”]
1968-05-01 … AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS* … Cinema 1 (6) [35mm]
1968-06-19 … DOCTOR DOLITTLE* … Rialto (6)
1968-06-26 … 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY* … Cinema 1 (14) [“Cinerama”]
1968-11-20 … ICE STATION ZEBRA* … Cinema 1 (9) [“Cinerama”]
1968-12-19 … STAR!* … United Artists (6)
1968-12-20 … CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG* … Mary Anderson (10) [35mm]
1968-12-22 … FUNNY GIRL* … Cinema 2 (24) [35mm]

1969-01-22 … FINIAN’S RAINBOW* … Cinema 3 (5) [35mm]
1969-03-19 … THE LION IN WINTER* … Cinema 3 (10) [35mm]
1969-05-22 … SWEET CHARITY* … Cinema 1 (6)
1969-06-11 … OLIVER!* … Cinema 2 (14) [35mm]
1969-08-05 … CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG … Trans-Lux (2)
1969-08-20 … KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA … Trans-Lux (3)
1969-11-12 … PAINT YOUR WAGON* … Cinema 1 (12) [35mm]
1969-12-17 … HELLO, DOLLY!* … United Artists (16)

1970-02-04 … GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS* … Cinema 1 (9) [35mm]
1970-05-01 … 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY … United Artists (2)
1970-12-25 … SONG OF NORWAY* … Penthouse (7)

1971-02-03 … 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY … Showcase (2)
1971-02-12 … RYAN’S DAUGHTER … Penthouse (14)
1971-09-15 … 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY … United Artists (1)
1971-09-22 … GONE WITH THE WIND … United Artists (2)
1971-10-06 … DOCTOR ZHIVAGO … United Artists (2)
1971-10-20 … RYAN’S DAUGHTER … United Artists (1)
1971-10-20 … WEST SIDE STORY / AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS … Showcase (1)
1971-10-27 … WEST SIDE STORY / AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS … Trans-Lux (1)
1971-11-24 … THE BIBLE … Penthouse (1)

1972-02-16 … FIDDLER ON THE ROOF* … United Artists (19) [35mm]

1973-03-14 … THE SOUND OF MUSIC … Showcase (10)
1973-05-16 … LAST TANGO IN PARIS* … Showcase (10) [35mm]

1974-10-16 … 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY … Showcase (2)

1975-10-22 … CAMELOT … Showcase (1)

1977-12-14 … CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND … Showcase (23)

1978-12-15 … SUPERMAN … Showcase (22) [70mm from Week #12]

1979-02-23 … THE EXORCIST … Showcase (7)
1979-05-25 … ALIEN … Showcase (14)
1979-11-07 … SLEEPING BEAUTY … Showcase (6)
1979-11-09 … THE ROSE … Showcase (15)

1980-05-21 … THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK … Showcase (37)

1981-02-06 … ALTERED STATES … Showcase (7)
1981-05-22 … OUTLAND … Showcase (6)
1981-06-12 … RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK … Showcase (57)

1982-03-19 … QUEST FOR FIRE … Showcase (5)
1982-06-04 … POLTERGEIST … Showcase (28)
1982-06-04 … STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN … Showcase (9)

1983-05-25 … RETURN OF THE JEDI … Showcase (29)
1983-06-17 … SUPERMAN III … Showcase (8)
1983-09-30 … BRAINSTORM … Showcase (4)
1983-10-21 … THE RIGHT STUFF … Showcase (7)

1984-05-23 … INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM … Showcase (18)
1984-06-08 … GHOSTBUSTERS … Showcase (28)
1984-12-07 … 2010 … Showcase (7)
1984-12-14 … DUNE … Showcase (6)

1985-07-19 … THE BLACK CAULDRON … Showcase (sneak preview screening)
1985-07-24 … THE BLACK CAULDRON … Showcase (10)
1985-12-04 … YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES … Showcase (7)

1986-05-10 … TOP GUN … Showcase (sneak preview screening)
1986-05-16 … TOP GUN … Showcase (32)

1987-06-03 … THE UNTOUCHABLES … Showcase (10)

1989-05-24 … INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE … Showcase (29)
1989-05-26 … LAWRENCE OF ARABIA … Stony Brook (8)
1989-06-09 … STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER … Showcase (11)
1989-12-22 … THE TEN COMMANDMENTS … Stony Brook (2)

1990-06-15 … DICK TRACY … Showcase (15)

1992-05-09 … FAR AND AWAY … Showcase (sneak preview screening)
1992-05-16 … FAR AND AWAY … Showcase (sneak preview screening)
1992-05-22 … FAR AND AWAY … Showcase (8)
1992-12-25 … HOFFA … Showcase (7)

Note that some of the 70mm presentations included in this listing were presented in 35mm during the latter weeks of engagement due to print damage and the distributor’s unwillingness to supply a 70mm replacement print or because the booking was moved to a smaller, 35mm-only auditorium within a multiplex. As well, the reverse may have been true in some cases whereas a booking began with a 35mm print because the lab was unable to complete the 70mm print order in time for an opening-day delivery or the exhibitor negotiated a mid-run switch to 70mm. In these cases, the 35mm portion of the engagement has been included in the stated duration figure.

References/sources: Various issues of Boxoffice, The Courier-Journal and Variety; plus Dolby sound system installation records and projector and sound system trade advertisements.

Special Thanks: Louis Bornwasser and Vince Young.

If you believe this article contains any errors or omissions, please consider emailing the author or editor.

Dedicated to Rick Mitchell, 1946-2011


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Michael Coate
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Thanks to Louis Bornwasser I was able to track down the screening date of an item missing from the article posted above: a sneak preview of William Girdler's "The Manitou." It screened on December 10th, 1977 (several months ahead of its release), and it looks like the tech details were borrowed from the "Close Encounters" ad material.

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Louis Bornwasser
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Try again: 70mm went into the Brown with Raintree County. Yes, advertising was for 70mm prior, but the AA2s were not bought yet. The theatre owner advertised 70mm fraudulently and was "found out" by Mike Todd.

Later the same projectors moved to the Penthouse for Lawrence. Penthouse was newly created out of the balcony of the United Artist. (This twin split was the "pattern" for the Baronet/Coronet in NYC, which is wrongly credited as the first up/down twin split.)

Also the Rialto was our original 3 strip Cinerama theatre; later 70mm only JJ for 70. When the Rialto was torn down, the machines were sent to Century and remanufactured for 35/70 and installed in the United Artists. That is why the Rialto disappears in the listing to be replaced by the UA.

I serviced all these theatres for Altec from 1972 onward. At one point I had 70mm in UA/Penthouse, Trans Lux in Clarksville, South Park (never had a print booked; only what I tested with), Showcase Cinemas #1 and #4.(#4 was originally #3; relabeled after #2 was split.)

Note Showcase never had any 70mm except #1 and #4. (#2 was always XL-4 track 35mm only to the end.)#1 was originally to be a real Cinerama theatre so it had the screen. #4 was JJ.

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Michael Coate
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quote: Louis Bornwasser
Try again: 70mm went into the Brown with Raintree County. Yes, advertising was for 70mm prior, but the AA2s were not bought yet. The theatre owner advertised 70mm fraudulently and was "found out" by Mike Todd.
Oh, come on! Are you just sayin' this to wind me up, or is this what you honestly believe/remember? Whatever the case, go ahead and debate away whether or not "Raintree County" played in 70mm, but your other claim that the Brown's owner/operator was lying about playing 70mm prints of "Oklahoma!" and "80 Days" is preposterous.

I think this falls into the category of: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

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Sam D. Chavez
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quote:
Oh, come on!
I don't know. Those are the details us techs recall because they are so outrageous.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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Michael,

The Foxchase 4 in Virginia only ever had 3 screens. There is no limits to what theatre owners have done, claim wise, versus reality. I'm not saying that all or even most but I actually would belive Louis on this sort of thing.

Dolby used to have people scanning the newspapers to see if people were fraudulantly claiming Dolby Stereo back in the 70s/early 80s.

Heck stereo claims from mono systems due to multiple SPEAKERS being used (Same sound track). Surrounds that were turned on when the projectionist felt like it to simulate surround sound.

There was a lens advertised to give that 70mm type show from ANY film format (it was a magnifier and not even a real good one at that). It was sort of in the vein of the old TV magnifiers with with a blue tint on the top, green tint on the bottom to make your B&W TV "color."

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Leo Enticknap
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After the first three movies on that list, customers at the Brown must have been badly disappointed by Raintree County, whether it played in 70 or not. Cliche-ridden script, dragging continuity, melodramatic ham acting ... it would easily make my "bottom 10" list of the worst movies ever made. Weird, because Edward Dmytryk was no slouch. But even he and a blank check budget couldn't make anything out of the poor quality source material and clashing egos he had to work with. I saw it panned and scanned on a seat-back screen on an airplane. The only reason I stuck through it to the end was that the alternative was sitting in sleepless, dark boredom over the middle of the Atlantic. Even so, I still wished that the whole bloody lot of them had ended up in that swamp.

This must be one of very few widescreen epics from the '50s and '60s that has not had any significant restoration or remaster/rerelease done (Porgy and Bess is another, but that's because, it has been alleged, the Gershwin estate refuses to co-operate over rights clearances; not because no-one wants to restore the movie). Just looking at the first reel will be enough to tell you why.

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Michael Coate
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quote: Sam D. Chavez
Those are the details us techs recall because they are so outrageous.
quote: Steve Guttag
There is no limits to what theatre owners have done, claim wise, versus reality. I'm not saying that all or even most but I actually would belive Louis on this sort of thing.
I'm not doubting that on occasion theater owners have lied or made exaggerated claims, but in this instance why would you believe Louis? I mean, he was a little kid at the time all of this took place. (But it doesn't surprise me that some Film-Techers would side with a fellow tech instead of siding with a journalist because, well, you know, journalists and historians are all clueless and tech-challenged.)

Anyway, consider these:

Is it plausible that the Courier Journal newspaper's coverage in August *1956* that described the Louisville "Oklahoma!" premiere and renovations made to the Brown Theatre (i.e. new screen, new projection system, new sound sysytem, reduction in seats, demonstration shorts screened before feature) was all a lie?

Is it plausible that the trade reports describing the sequence and locations of the initial Todd-AO installations were a lie?

Is it plausible that the Norelco projector serial numbers and installation dates are erroneous?

Is it plausible it was a lie that trade reports claimed only reserved-seat Todd-AO presentations of "Oklahoma!" would be booked for the film's first year of release?

Is it plausible that trade reports were a lie when they announced the first 35mm presentation of "Around the World in 80 Days" would take place in another city on a date after the film had already opened in Louisville?

Is it plausible that trade reports were a lie that announced MGM would release "Raintree County" only in 35mm reduction prints?

Is it plausible that the Brown ownership would lie about the presentation type for both "Oklahoma!" and "80 Days," day after day, week after week, for the entire months-long run, even in the co-op ads placed in conjunction with the studio?

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Steve Guttag
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quote: Michael Coate
(But it doesn't surprise me that some Film-Techers would side with a fellow tech instead of siding with a journalist because, well, you know, journalists and historians are all clueless and tech-challenged.)
Hold up there swifty.

I tended to believe Louis because of my past experience with theatre owners and fraudulent claims on possessed technology. Hearing that an exhibitor lied about having something just wouldn't raise an eyebrow by me or any other "old-timer." Seen/heard it too many times. That is why I didn't strike me as odd that Louis would dispute a claim by a theatre owner, even if in the paper.

As for the press, in general, throughout my career, their "reporting" have been less than accurate more than accurate with respect to the cinema industry, its technology and in most other respects. They are often the blind leading the blind (movie goers). Why do that write about celluloid and silver screens, as if they're the norm? I can just about see Mike Blakesley "cringe" when he reads another report about the theatre business (by someone who is not in the business).

YOU may do your research like nobody's tomorrow and get the facts right, it is not the "norm," in my experience.

As to your other claims/pieces of information listed, I'll leave it to Louis to defend his claims for it doesn't matter to me one bit if they are true or false (but I appreciate why it would matter to you and others). I can only speak, to some degree, of the status of 70mm in the DC area...including those theatres that predate my existence on the planet. One need not be alive or in the business yet to know the history of the theatre they are working in. I didn't have to step foot in the Ontario (DC) to know it had a pair of Norelcos and that they moved to the MacArthur and then to the Fine Arts and finally Indianapolis' White River state park (one if them went their the other was stored, dropped and trashed). Theatres that did/didn't have things like 70mm tend to have tell-tale signs in the booth, even if equipment was transferred in/out plus the history of the place (once upon a time, theatre people were long-timers and ALWAYS had long-stories about its past). There is nothing new there.

I could go on but there wouldn't be any point. I would presume that Louis would have similar tales from the Louisville area. Of course, he could remember things wrong, I certainly have (not about what theatres were 70mm capable and when but about where I might have seen a movie and what format...thus far, I haven't forgotten about what movies I've show in 70mm...yet.

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Leo Enticknap
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My mother was a journalist and I have done quite a bit of historical research myself. The issue Michael appears to be confronted with is primary sources contradicting each other - for example, published material contemporaneous to the release stating that Raintree County played at the Brown in a 35mm reduction print, versus Louis' recollection that it played in 70.

There are many reasons why those sorts of contradictions occur. In answer to what I suspect is a rhetorical question from Michael, yes, it can happen that multiple contemporaneous sources all lie. They may all have got their deliberately false information from the same place. It may also have been mistakenly false information.

But it also happens that people's memories can be unreliable about events they experienced and took part in several decades ago. I could cite you countless occasions in which I listened to or read transcripts of oral history tapes made in the 1980s and 90s, of people describing their work in the 1930s and '40s, in which they asserted facts that I knew to be untrue - or at least, I had multiple, credible sources, created at the time of the events in question, contradicting them. This can happen for a number of reasons. Most of the time, it is simply a hazy memory. But sometimes, the subject is trying to make sure they go down in the history books in a certain way, and/or are trying to play up some aspects of their past and bury others (the most infamous example in cinema probably being Leni Riefenstahl, who spent literally half a century trying to convince anyone who would listen that she was never an ideologically committed Nazi, and threatening to sue anyone who didn't buy it).

It is for these reasons that I've never been much of a fan of oral history.

As far as this particular issue goes, what caught my eye was Louis' recollection that Mike Todd caught this theater in Louisville fraudulently advertising screenings as being in 70mm when they actually weren't. Presumably the action he took when he discovered this must have been documented somewhere. I wonder if he had a collection of personal papers, that ended up in a university library or research center somewhere? Court records generated by any lawsuits? That sounds like a very interesting topic for a feature article - dishonest technology advertising by exhibitors as a means of drumming up business. I'd be very interested to know if that happened on a significant scale.

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Michael Coate
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Just to clarify and simplify this before things spin out of control, the actual point of contention is the installation date of the 70mm projectors at the Brown Theatre in Louisville. My research suggests the installation took place in August 1956 while Louis' memory is suggesting it took place in October 1957.

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Buck Wilson
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I, too, have seen plenty of false information in newspaper articles/ads regarding theaters. In my experience it has mostly been unintentional, but I wouldn't doubt cases of intentional misinformation. Several times, even, working at a theater that was a few times part of local news, I would give the journalist specific and direct information about the building/equipment, only to see it in some way twisted/backwards/incorrect in the finished article. I knew he wasn't in the theater biz so I was as clear and concise as I could be, and explained why and how, and he was writing stuff down the whole time, yet still got stuff wrong. I'm positive it wasn't intentional, as what the finished story reported didn't even make sense. Not saying that's what happened here or not, but it does happen, perhaps enough to even say 'regularly'.

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James Westbrook
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In 1990, the local newspaper sent a reporter to ask theater employees about the movies they saw that summer and their reactions. The paper correctly had me comment that I thought Total Recall was a dark comedy but then she quoted me commenting about a movie I didn't comment on nor even saw.

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Leo Enticknap
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Most journalists try to do a good job, but keep in mind that unless you're talking to someone from Image Technology or SMPTE Journal (specialist trade publications covering our industry), they have to write about everything they're given the assignment on. Today it'll be a story about the new sound system in the local movie theater, tomorrow it'll be an auto wreck at a notorious intersection in town, the day after it'll be a college physician caught sodomizing teenage girls in his doctor's office, etc. etc.

So in order to avoid your quote being mangled, or the point you're trying to get printed being misunderstood and not making it into the story intact, keep to simple, bullet point stuff, of the sort that can pack a punch within the 300-word (or whatever) limit they're probably working to. Same thing with radio - unless it's a specialist podcast, whose audience will happily listen to people talking about movie technology for hours, they're after short, sharp soundbites.

quote: Michael Coate
Just to clarify and simplify this before things spin out of control, the actual point of contention is the installation date of the 70mm projectors at the Brown Theatre in Louisville. My research suggests the installation took place in August 1956 while Louis' memory is suggesting it took place in October 1957.
Combine that with the allegation that for at least some of the time between those two dates, they were fraudulently advertising 35mm shows as being 70, and that Mike Todd himself found out about it and put a stop to it, and you've stumbled across what would be a very interesting side project, IMHO.

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Brad Miller
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 - posted 02-05-2018 04:18 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
I know of one independent theater that put "digital sound" on their marquee in the 90s when that was the big selling point.

Now TECHNICALLY he wasn't lying, but he WAS however intentionally misleading.

They had no digital sound with their film presentations, but they DID have digital sound coming off of a cd player for intermission music.

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