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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Large Format Forum   » Caesars Palace Omnimax 1979-2000 RIP

   
Author Topic: Caesars Palace Omnimax 1979-2000 RIP
Paul Mayer
Oh get out of it Melvin, before it pulls you under!

Posts: 3835
From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Feb 2000


 - posted 05-26-2000 05:17 PM      Profile for Paul Mayer   Author's Homepage   Email Paul Mayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Caesars closed their Omnimax theatre Wednesday, 24 June after an almost 21-year run. It was the last full-time IATSE staffed projection booth in the state of Nevada (three FT and one very PT). I was privileged to operate there myself 1989-1991 and again in 1996. Even though in its later years it wasn't a very good theatre (the screen had been painted over, plus it was stained from fire-pipe and dome leaks), Dave Huskinson and the rest of the staff there during the last five years did a heck of a job running a clean and professional booth on the budget they were given. I for one will miss the place.

Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9431
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-26-2000 05:25 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Having visited that booth many times it will be sadly missed especially when greated by Sam

Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 4025
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 05-26-2000 05:55 PM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wow that's a surprise. Does anyone know the circumstances? Do they need the space for something else?

Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16057
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-26-2000 08:24 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well for the last say 10 to 15 years the screen in there has been realy awful. I never could understand why Imax let them run that way. It should have been closed long ago.
Mark

Nicholas McRobert
Film Handler

Posts: 38
From: Belfast, N. Ireland
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 05-26-2000 09:07 PM      Profile for Nicholas McRobert   Email Nicholas McRobert   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One would have thought that they would have heard of "refurbishment" in a town like Las Vegas. Why is it that Theatre owners *milk* the hell out of projects like this with not so much as a decent spring clean...? Damn corporate greed rearing it's ugly head again.

Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16057
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-27-2000 06:02 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well none of us know why but perhaps they will build another one or something different. We do work for alot of casinos in Nevada and its customary for at least the big casinos to tear stuff like that out and replace. They rarely refurbish. In the live theater end of things there in Vegas they have been know to literally rip out an entire theater, stage et all and rebuild it differently for the next show. I'm not just talking about the sets, etc. I mean they gut the place with a bulldozer!
Mark

Tim Reed
Better Projection Pays

Posts: 5242
From: Northampton, PA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 05-27-2000 09:10 AM      Profile for Tim Reed   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That's surprising indeed. I figured Las Vegas would have a strong local. ' guess it's like everywhere else, though. That's too bad.

------------------
Better Projection Pays!

Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1452
From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 05-27-2000 10:20 AM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That's too bad, but I guess the casinos need the most bang for the buck and this must not have been doing it.

Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9431
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-27-2000 10:34 AM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The omni was getting old and the new 3d Imax was getting the first films as well.

Ky Boyd
Hey I'm #23

Posts: 314
From: Santa Rosa, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-27-2000 09:04 PM      Profile for Ky Boyd   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sad news...I saw my first Imax/OmniMax movie there in 1982 or 83. It was one of the very first fictional films produced for the format. It was essentially a chase film starring Cloris Leachmann - I can't remember the name of it - does anyone recall?

Paul Mayer
Oh get out of it Melvin, before it pulls you under!

Posts: 3835
From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Feb 2000


 - posted 05-27-2000 11:25 PM      Profile for Paul Mayer   Author's Homepage   Email Paul Mayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just a little Caesars Palace Omnimax background:

"My Strange Uncle" starred Cloris Leachman. The film was backed in-part by Caesars, in an attempt to get something into the theatre other than museum films. Unfortunately it bombed big time, boxoffice wise. There was still a print of it stored in the booth (as of '96, the last time I worked there) but we weren't allowed to run it, even privately. Apparently there were financial/legal problems with that production that rendered even a mention of it taboo.

Sam White was the Head Projectionist from practically the first day until he retired in 1995; I broke in as an IMAX operator under him (Art Schruhl, my IA mentor, was the dept. head during construction and the first month or so of operation). Dave Huskinson was the only other Head Projectionist at the place. If you fit in, Caesars is a very good place for a stagehand to work.

Caesars is in the middle of a long-term expansion and modernization project, and the focus on entertainment in the hotel is being scaled back. Originally the dome was going to come down in 1996, but it got a reprieve until now due to hotel ownership and expansion plan changes. My understanding is that the phase-two tower (adding another 850 rooms) is to go up where the dome is now. The hotel has already announced that the Circus Maximus showroom will be closed later this year, to make room for the phase-three tower (another 850 rooms plus more high-roller suites).

Yeah the dome screen looked terrible--it was an embarrassment to all of us. The problem was the dome leaked badly from day one, and continued to do so despite repeated attempts by the hotel over the years to seal it. We used to take the theatre down for a week once a year, mostly to clean the rusty water stains from the screen. Then around 1990, some accountant figured he'd save some money by painting rather than cleaning the screen. Some Spitz Dome people heard about this and came by to see the result--and just laughed. The paint job, plus more water stains on top of it, finished us off image quality wise, and the hotel didn't want to pay for a new screen (about $300,000 USD at the time). The opening of the Luxor 3D IMAX (staffed by a non-IA ex-Century crew) and a 3D IMAX DOME simulator ride (also non-IA) next door in the Forum Shoppes were more nails in the coffin. The hotel started booking only the cheapest titles that IMAX producers were offering, refusing to get into bidding wars with the competition. That pretty much killed the old place off.

Local 720 is hanging in there with about 900 members, but the emphasis of the work is changing. It is a mixed local with three active Craft Divisions--1-Stagehands, 4-Convention Techs and 5-Wardrobe. Craft 2-Theatre Projectionists died in the '80s when Syufy (Century) and UA bought all of the screens in town and took them non-IA. Craft 3-TV Techs exists but most of its members work non-union these days. Craft 1 has been dominant with the most members, but with more old showrooms closing (and many of the new ones voting to be non-IA) the emphasis is shifting more and more to Craft 4 and convention work. In the mean time, the internal politics of the local have gotten nastier with lots of factional in-fighting (in the same year I earned a 20-year pin, I became a target of one of these factions and was forced to withdraw my membership). I think eventually the majority of IA720 members will be in Craft 4.


John Eickhof
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 578
From: Wendell, ID USA
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 05-28-2000 11:29 PM      Profile for John Eickhof   Author's Homepage   Email John Eickhof   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Paul, Im sorry to hear of the closing...Tell old 'Husky I hope him well..(Im an old IA friend from Sacramento) I don't think there are any other IA projectionist jobs left in vegas? As long as I knew Dave, he always ran a TOP show! Anyway, "another one bites the dust" Long live PROFESSIONAL projection!



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