Saturday, May 13, 2017

1963 ads for the Rialto, Louisville's million dollar movie palace

The Best of Cinerama, a compilation feature which signaled the end of the Cinerama travelogue era, had started its run on November 21, 1962 and played through the holidays.  January 14, 1963.
Then came the big black and white spectacle, The Longest Day, which Richard Zanuck made while Fox was spending every cent they could find on Cleopatra.  I presume this was not a 70mm print though it was a roadshow engagement.  It was shot in CinemaScope and black and white.  The ad appeared January 20, 1963.
                                                                       Feb 3, 1963
                                                               March 24, 1963
The big, big remake of Mutiny on the Bounty was filmed in the super-wide Ultra-Panavision 70, but since there's no boasting about that in the ad, I presume this was not shown in 70mm at the Rialto.  I was on the Bounty (that was built for the movie from the original's plans) around 1970 when it was docked in St. Petersburg, FL. It was also resued as the Edinburgh Trader in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) Sadly, it sunk during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  It is now at the bottom of the Atlantic. This ad appeared April 14, 1963.
April 21, 1963
And then there was How the West Was Won, the very last three panel Cinerama movie to play the Rialto, and it would prove to be a giant hit. Some kids I knew got to see it with school groups but not mine. I didn't see it in Cinerama until the early 2000s when it played -- along with most of the restored travelogues -- at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.  June 2, 1963.
                                        June 9, 1963.  What stars?  What sort of fun galore?
Before Rialto get its own Cinerama theater, I knew kids whose parents drove all the way to Cincinnati to see Cinerama movies. Not mine -- my parents considered going into downtown Louisville something akin to a voyage to another galaxy.  If we went to any movies, it was usually to a drive-in. But I studied these ads in the Courier-Journal just the same. July 21, 1963.
                                                                    October 6, 1963
I'd seen the ads for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and wanted to see it desperately. I finally did get to see it in the summer of 1964 but not at the Rialto.  Since it's advertised in Cinerama, it would have played in Ultra-Panavision 70.  I saw Mad World twice at the Cinerama Dome in Ultra-Panavision.  They said at the time it was tricky to place the image on the screen without giving it a lot of distortion. November 24, 1963.
                                                              December 1, 1963
December 8, 1963.  Little did anyone know that this would be their very last chance to see three panel Cinerama in Louisville.  Forever. The Cinema 1 would open with a Cinerama screen in 1965, but it was only equipped for 70mm.
             I don't know what it meant to have a 'gala premiere' at the Rialto. December 15, 1963

All articles and advertisements appeared in The Courier-Journal in 1963.

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