Cinerama Dome

6360 Sunset Blvd.   [ just west of Vine ]

Los Angeles, CA 90028     | map |

(323) 464-4226

Website: www.arclightcinemas.com  |
     | 
showtimes more on the Dome  |


Opened:  The Dome is now 50. It opened November 7, 1963 with a 70mm run of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World."  There was a press preview on November 2. The film ran 67 weeks.

The theatre was designed with a big wrap-around booth for three projector Cinerama presentations. However, by the time "Mad World" went into production, Cinerama had converted to an anamorphic version of the 70mm TODD-AO format.  



A four minute clip of the stars arriving for
 the opening of the theatre is on You Tube.
| Cinerama opening  |

"Mad World" was photographed in Ultra Panavision, which took the 2.21 aspect ratio of TODD-AO and added a squeeze during filming and a 1.25 expansion anamorphic lens during projection to end up with a 2.76 to 1 aspect ratio image.


On the website devoted to all things 70mm,
 In70mm.com, we get an ad for the Cinerama
 Dome's opening attraction.
full size view

For projection on Cinerama  screens a "rectified" print was produced with no squeeze in the middle and more and more compression closer to the sides of the image to yield a normal looking image on the deeply curved screen. The resultant aspect ratio was once again 2.76 to 1. See the excellent discussion of 70mm Cinerama on the site Widescreen Museum.

Other 70mm "Cinerama" films were shot in "Super Panavision," a non-anamorphic process like TODD-AO only with lenses by Panavision. Many of these films didn't get special prints, even for Cinerama Theatres.


Norelco 25/70mm AAII projectors and Ventarc lamps
 getting readied for the Cinerama's 0pening. The photo
appears on the Cinerama Dome page of Ronald Lataille's
 In Cinerama website. It's from a Boxoffice magazine article.



Inspecting the theatre's original Ampex 6/4/1 sound system. The photos
are from the Boxoffice magazine issue of February 10, 1964.
 larger view | full article


More 70mm "Cinerama":
Other films that played the theatre promoted as "in Cinerama," in a list from Ronald Lataille's In Cinerama site include:
“The Greatest Story Ever Told” (2-18-1965) 43 weeks
“Battle of the Bulge” (12-17-1965) 27 weeks
“Khartoum” (6-24-1966) 24 weeks
“Grand-Prix (12-23-1966) 44 weeks
“Ice Station Zebra” (10-24-1968) 29 weeks
“Krakatoa East of Java” (5-15-1969) 23 weeks


From Roland Lataille's In Cinerama collection we
have this ad for the 1973 revival of "This Is Cinerama"
 at the Dome.  This was the 70mm version, not 3-strip.
larger view

Architect: Welton Becket and Associates. The Cinerama Dome was the first concrete geodesic dome constructed.  It was built in 16 weeks!

It's composed of 316 pre-cast concrete panels, most of which are hexagonal,  each weighing approximately 3,200 lbs.  Saul Pick was the developer for the project. The building was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument on December 18, 1998.



Architect of the Dome, Welton Becket.
It's a photo added by Alison Martino to her
Mid Century Modern Facebook page. 
full size view




A model of the Dome and a hotel to the west (which
didn't get built).  Thanks to Alison Martino for the
 photo on the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page.

The model was stashed away in Becket's office for
decades and goes on display at the theatre for
the 5oth anniversary celebration.
full size view | on FB/LATheatres

Seating: 937 originally, 856 at present.

Status:  Now wrapped around by the ArcLight Cinemas complex.  The Dome was nicely refurbished in 2002 and a great place to see a film. It's now using digital projection for most regular runs.

The Screen: Current screen size is 86' x 32' - not the original Cinerama louver style but with the size and curvature of  the original. The screen encompasses 126 degrees of arc.


A view of the original style louvered Cinerama screen
-- designed to prevent light on the sides of the screen
from washing out the picture on the other side. 

It's from Greg Kimble's great article "This is Cinerama"
on the widescreen site In70mm.com.



  A typical early Cinerama sound installation using 5 Altec A-2
Voice of the Theatre speaker systems with double 90 degree HF
horns for the stage channels. The photo is in Lee Sound Design's
Altec photo gallery and also appears in a 1953 SMPTE paper
on speakers and amps for stereo theatre sound.
 full size image

The Cinerama Dome originally had Voice of the Theatre
speakers. That's been replaced with newer JBL equipment
with the speakers mounted in a THX-style infinite baffle.

Current booth equipment: Two Christie CP 4230 4K projectors and two GDC digital cinema servers. Most regular film runs at  the Dome are now digital.

For the occasional film presentation, there's a Kinoton FP75E 35/70mm machine. A 4Kw lamp is typically used for 35mm, a 7.5 Kw lamp for 70mm presentations.  For 70mm, both DTS sound time code synched with the film and 6 channel mag are options. There's Dolby Digital and Dolby analog sound processing. "The Master"  2013 and "Interstellar" in 2014 got 70mm runs.

In addition, there's the gear for 3-strip Cinerama presentations using 3 Century/Cinerama projectors fed by platters and the separate full coat 35mm mag dubber for the 7 channel stereophonic sound. Selsyn motors keep the 4 units in synch. See the ArcLight website's "learn more" page for a nice tech summary.

Speakers are JBL (including 44 surround speakers).  Sound absorbent material was added in each of the ceiling's hexagons.

Three Strip at the Dome: Since 2002 the Dome has been equipped to run 3-strip Cinerama, which it missed out on originally.  It's hosted revival screenings of "How The West Was Won," "This is Cinerama" and other titles.  On In70mm.com see the article about the initial three strip presentations at the Dome:  "Cinerama Dome 2002."


An ad for the 2002 3-strip revival of
"This is
Cinerama" at the Dome.    


Here are some sample three-strip process Cinerama frames are from Greg Kimble's  "This is Cinerama" article.  Note the 6 perforations per frame pull down.





The Cinerama Process at 60: 
The Dome had a a 3 strip festival in September 2012 to celebrate Cinerama's 60th Anniversary. It featured both new and vintage three strip Cinerama footage as well as 70mm presentations.  See the In70mm.com article for many photos.  Also see the photos on the same site from Anders Olsson of the event.



A three strip Cinerama camera back in action in 2012 --
for the first time in over 50 years. On YouTube there are several
shorts by Michael Cahill about film historian Dave Strohmaier
shooting new 3 strip Cinerama footage in Los Angeles:
 "Cinerama 2012"  Part 1  | Part 2





A three strip Cinerama camera displayed at the Dome
during the September 2012 "Cinerama at 60" festival.
 The photo on Photos of Los Angeles is by Mark Tipton. 
full size view




A look at the lens end of the Cinerama camera.
It's a 2012 photo by Mark Tipton.
full size view




A closeup view by Mark Tipton of the
three very tiny Cinerama lenses.
full size view

See the trailer on YouTube for "The Last Days of Cinerama,"
 a short documentary about the 2012 shooting of 3 strip
Cinerama footage in Los Angeles.

And from What Happens Next
Productions, the full 24 minute short:


The Cinerama Dome in the Movies:


We get an aerial view of the Dome in "Earthquake"
 (Universal, 1974).  The screenshot comes from Clifford Scott
Carson on Vintage Los Angeles. The film ran at the Chinese,
where Ted Mann put a net under the ceiling, allegedly to
catch debris falling during the earthquake scenes.
larger view | on Vintage Los Angeles



We look down on the Cinerama Dome in a flyover of Hollywood
in Julien Temple's "Earth Girls Are Easy" (Vestron Pictures, 1989).
We don't stop as we're headed over the hills to the Valley. There,
we get a later scene shot in front of the Studio City Theatre.
larger view



We get to see the Dome in the David Strohmaier Cinerama film
"In The Picture" (2012). Leonard Maltin did a blog post about the
film and the rest of the "Cinerama at 60" festival. The photo here from
his post is of the Dome, as it appeared in 3 strip at the Dome itself.
larger view



The Dome appears prominently in David Chase's
"Not Fade Away" (Paramount Vantage, 2012) as we
 look west on Sunset in the 60s for a lengthy shot
 that concludes the film.

More information:  See our Arclight Cinemas page.  Also see the page on Cinema Treasures for many discussions about the Dome by enthusiastic fans. Michael Coate has listed the roadshows that played the Cinerama on this page. 

The Cinema Tour page on the Cinerama Dome has lots of photos (including booth views) and a brief history.  L.A. Times had an October 2013 story about the theatre turning 50.

More 70mm Information: For a rundown on 70mm engagements at Los Angeles theaters, go to Michael Coate's terrific site fromscripttodvd.com.  Head for the main 70mm page.   And don't miss the site's  Cinerama in L.A. page.

See our Egyptian Theatre page for lots of data about TODD-AO, the 70mm process that kicked off the big screen roadshow era in 1955. The Egyptian was the first theatre in the area equipped for the process.

More Cinerama Process Information: For more information on the history of the Cinerama projection process see the Cinerama section on our Movie Links page.

And check out the main Warner Theatre page where there's lots of Cinerama information. Prior to the opening of the Dome, the Warner was the Cinerama theatre for southern California. And for lots of fun check out the site about the documentary "Cinerama Adventure."

See Roland Lataille's In Cinerama web site for lots more data and Cinerama memorabilia.


The "Cinerama Adventure" site also has information
about the 2012 Cinerama production "In The Picture."

See the very informative From Script To DVD website's This Is Cinerama in Los Angeles page compiled by Michael Coate.   Check out the site This Was Cinerama for historical articles and reviews of recent Dome events.

The site In70mm.com has lots of Cinerama information. See their Cinerama page and the article on Cinerama pictures on digital For the latest Cinerama filming in Los Angeles there's the article "Cinerama 2012."

And don't miss the six page Cinerama section on Martin Hart's amazing site Widescreen Museum

The name "Cinerama" and the distinctive zig-zag logo are trademarks of Cinerama Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Pacific Theatres. 



Hollywood Historic Photos

www.hollywoodhistoricphotos.com


  A look at the Dome during its grand opening in 1963.
full size view  | on FB/LATheatres

more from Hollywood Historic Photos |


In 70mm

www.in70mm.com 


This photo is of one machine in the large curved
Cinerama
Dome booth. It's pictured in an article
on a 2002 screening
of "
How the West Was Won" in the 3 strip process.  
full size image

 

This image of the front of the auditorium is from an
article on a 2002 3-strip screening of "This is Cinerama."
Note that the Dome here is
still with its original color
draperies -- before the
change to dark blue.  
full size view



The Kingsley Collection

thekingsleycollection.yolasite.com



A luscious view of Hollywood and, of course, the Dome.
Early 80s?  It's one of many great classic Los Angeles views
on this site from the estate of Barbara Harlen (1915-2003)
full size view

The photo also appears on Photos of Los Angeles.
Thanks to Howard Berk for sourcing this one.


L.A. Public Library Photo Collection

The Library has a number of aerial construction
views taken by Howard D. Kelly.  Here we're
looking east on August 5, 1963.
full size view

The 18 story highrise beyond the theatre is the 1963 Sunset
 Vine Tower, the first such building to be constructed after
the city repealed the 13 story height limit. It was designed
by Douglas Honnold of the firm Honnold & Rex.



A view looking north.  That's the RCA Building rising
 across Sunset just to the left of the theatre.
full size view




Another construction view looking north across the
 site of the Dome. That's Sunset Blvd. running left to right
 in front of the theatre.  It's a Howard D. Kelly photo.

full size view

The photo above also appears on Vintage Los Angeles 
and on our Los Angeles Theatres
Facebook page.

More 1963 aerial views:
| northeast -b&w | northwest - b&w |
| looking east - color| looking northeast - color |



Here's a 1963 photo from the Library's collection with
"Mad, Mad World" on the marquee as the Cinerama
Dome's inaugural attraction.  It's a premiere night
photo from the Herald Examiner collection.

The theatre was built with 3 strip projection
in mind but opened with 70mm.
full size image



A 1966 view of the Cinerama Dome. The theatre
is running "Greatest Story Ever Told."
full size view


Another version of the photo above was posted
by Nile Hight on Mid Century Modern:
Cinerama Dome 1966  |




A 1988 view taken by Chris Gulker during the
 run of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."
   full size view



A Chris Gulker shot from 1988 during the
 70mm revival of "This is Cinerama"
  full size view

Also in the Library's collection:
  |  another night view - "Mad, Mad World"  |
|   entrance in 1966 - "Grand Prix"  | 1979 signage - Anne Knudsen  |
| 1980 exterior - "Blue Lagoon" - Roy Hankey photo  |
looking toward downtown - 1987 - Paul Chinn |
dome texture - 1988 - Chris Gulker  |
| aerial view - 2002 - Gary Leonard  |
parking lot and Dome - undated - Gary Leonard  |



Ominous Valve

www.ominous-valve.com  


Visit the article "Cinerama II: The Revival" for Hugh's
 informative review of a 3-strip screening of "How the
West Was Won" at the Dome as well as a discussion
of the technical aspects of the Cinerama process itself.
full size image 

Bonus feature: aspect ratio chart.


A photo of the original Altec A-2 Voice of the Theatre
speaker system installation at the Cinerama Dome.
 slightly larger viewfull size on Lee Sound.com  

Also see the site's Altec page for a discussion
of the original sound system at the Dome.


Vintage Los Angeles

www.facebook.com/VintageLosAngeles



Searchlights are in the sky over Hollywood for
the opening of the Cinerama Dome in 1963.  It was
added to the Vintage Los Angeles collection by
contributor Laurel Canyon Rider.
full size view  | on FB/LAtheatres

It's a Hollywood Citizen-News photo by
Peter Banks. Ethereal Reality has all the data
 on his Noirish Los Angeles post #7127.

The photo above also appears on the
Facebook pages Garden of Allah Novels
and Photos of Los Angeles.



The Dome in 1963 with its opening attraction on the
 marquee. Thanks to Alison Martino for the photo.
full size view -- and lots of comments.

The photo above also appears on our
Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.



A 1963 view looking east with "Mad World" on the
marquee taken by George Mann. Thanks to Alison
Martino for posting the photo on Vintage Los Angeles.




A look west on Sunset during the run of the
Dome's opening attraction.  It was posted by
Richard Wojcik
on Vintage Los Angeles.
full size view | on FB/LAtheatres



A 1974 dress-up for "Mame."
full size view



A 2013 look up at the signage
by Alison Martino.
Also on Vintage Los Angeles:
| "Greatest Story Ever Told" - 1965 - Richard Wojcik |





The Cinerama Dome is still an arresting sight
 at Sunset and Vine. 
Note the newer 14 screen
ArcLight complex showing at the rear.


photo: Bill Counter - 2007 

[ click on any of these to enlarge ]




A view looking north on Sunset.

photo: Don Solosan - Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation


LAHTF is active in preserving the historic theatres of
Los Angeles and regularly sponsors events and tours.
 

www.lahtf.org | LAHTF on Facebook




Looking east toward the boxoffice.

photo: Don Solosan - Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation




The Dome at dusk.

photo: Don Solosan - Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation




The signage at night.

photo: Don Solosan - Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation




A view from across the street.

photo: Don Solosan - Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation



The doors are open - let's go in!

photo: Google Maps - 2012


 [ click the photo to enlarge or head
to the interactive view from this spot ]


The snackbar and the view toward
the house right side of the lobby.

photo: Google Maps - 2012


 [ click the photo to enlarge or head
to the interactive view from this spot ]


Looking toward the center of the lobby from the house left
ramp to the auditorium.  The stairs go to the upper crossaisle.

photo: Google Maps - 2012


 [ click the photo to enlarge or head
to the interactive view from this spot ]


The lobby from the house right ramp. 

photo: Google Maps - 2012


 [ click the photo to enlarge or head
to the interactive view from this spot ]



The house right ramp from the
lobby up into the auditorium.

photo: Don Solosan - Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation



A look toward the screen.

photo: Don Solosan - Los Angeles
Historic Theatre Foundation




The view from the rear of the house.

photo: Google Maps - 2012


 [ click the photo to enlarge or head to
the interactive view from this spot ]



Looking back at the booth setup.

photo: Google Maps - 2012


 [ click the photo to enlarge or head
to the interactive view from this spot ]



The center and house left booth ports.

photo: Google Maps - 2012


 [ click the photo to enlarge or head
to the interactive view from this spot ]

The rear of the Cinerama Dome.

photo: Bill Counter - 2013

We're looking north toward Sunset Blvd. At the right is the
 entrance to the ArcLight lobby. At the left is the portion of
the new development containing restaurants and retail.




about the photos from other websites...

 
We've tried to give appropriate credit.
The links near the images will direct you to a full size version
on the website hosting it.  Please contact us if there are incorrect
attributions or links that no longer work.   All images are subject
to copyright.  Contact the webmaster of the site in question
concerning reproduction or other use.



Adventures with the Daws Brothers

www.dawsbrothers.com



The Daws Brothers' post about the 2012 TCM Festival
includes this look at "How The West Was Won" on
the screen in three strip.
full size view  | on FB/LATheatres




Boxoffice

www.boxoffice.com/the_vault



An article from the Boxoffice magazine issue of
September 9, 1963 has this construction photo.  The
 sign says
"'It's A Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World' opens in
12 weeks."  Total construction
schedule was 16 weeks! 
larger photo view
  |
the Boxoffice page



Here's an early view of the Cinerama Dome interior  from
 an R.L. Grosh ad in the Boxoffice issue of January 6, 1964.
 larger photo view
  | full ad

The Boxoffice article also appears on the Cinerama Dome
 page of Roland Lataille's In Cinerama web site.


Card Cow

www.cardcow.com



A view showing the Dome running their first attraction.

See Card Cow for thousands of great vintage postcards.

full size view


 Also on the site:
 | glamorous Hollywood premiere  |  another view looking east  |



Film Tech

www.film-tech.com    


An exterior view of the dome.
full size view

 Many  more photos of the theatre and equipment
for 3 strip Cinerama projection are on this site's
 great Cinerama Dome page.



A view of the center of the booth at the
Cinerama Dome with a Kinton 35/70mm
projector behind the platter and the center
Cinerama projector behind that. 
full size view

The theatre was running at the time with a 4000 watt
xenon lamp for 35mm and a 7500 watt lamp for 70mm.
 Most regular film runs at  the Dome are now digital. 




Here's a view of one of the
Cinerama projectors.
 full size view



The 35mm full coat mag sound reproducer
for three strip Cinerama presentations.  It's a
7500' reel. Originally the 3 film sections were
on 7500' reels as well. Currently, platters are used.
full size view

Visit the site for many more pictures by
 Mark Ogden and John Sittig.

Also go to the site's home page and click on
 "pictures" for a list of great theatre photos.  The site
 is also storehouse of other technical film lore.



From Script to DVD

www.fromscripttodvd.com   


See the site's Cinerama Dome page for lots of
great photos. The three construction views here
 are from the Pacific Theatres collection.






The construction views are from 1963. The
construction schedule was 16 weeks.



This site is a  great collection of 70mm and

Cinerama lore compiled by Michael Coate
and William Kallay.

This lobby shot from 1964 is courtesy
of
Pacific Theatres' John Sittig.  
full size image



Here's the auditorium in 1964, also
in a
John Sittig photo. 
full size view



A 1977 view of the theatre showing "Close Encounters
 of the Third Kind." The photo comes from Pacific
Theatres' chief projectionist John Sittig.
full size view | on FB/LATheatres

The photo above also appears
on Photos of Los Angeles.

Also see Script to DVD's  Cinerama in L.A.
page for a history of Cinerama engagements.



Mid Century Modern

...and Historical Los Angeles in the '60s, '70s and '80s

www.facebook.com/groups/75888708987




A 1966 look east on Sunset Blvd. during the run of "Grand
Prix."  It's a view from the Richard Wojcik collection. 
full size view | on Mid Cent Modern



A 1966 view from Richard
Wojcik -- "Battle of the Bulge"
in "Super Cinerama."
full size view | on Mid Cent Modern

The view above also appears
on Vintage Los Angeles.



A shot of the "Mame" getup in
1974 from Kevin Miller.


Historic Hollywood Theatres: The Cinerama Dome on Sunset Blvd.

A view from across Sunset Blvd. during the 1981
run of "Zoot Suit." It was posted by Alison Martino
on her terrific Mid Century Modern Facebook page. 
full size view

Much of "Zoot Suit" was filmed nearby
 in the Earl Carroll Theatre.



An undated postcard view
from Alison's collection. 
full size view


Modern Home Theatre

www.modernhometheater.com 


There are some nice photos of the Cinerama Dome
 in the story on this site about the ArcLight Cinemas

And you get a pan around 360 degree tour!




New York Times

www.nytimes.com


A panoramic view taken from the house
 right side of the wrap-around projection booth by
Edward M. Pio Roda graces Stuart Elliot's 2013 article
 "TCM Moves to Lure Film Buffs Out of Their living Rooms."
The article discusses TCM's efforts to extend the brand
with film festivals, memorabilia and guided tours.
On the Dome's screen is the 70mm presentation of
"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," part of the 2013
TCM Festival in Hollywood. In this image the screen
 doesn't look very big but it's actually 32' x 86'.



Photos of Los Angeles

www.facebook.com/groups/244565982234863



A look at the Cinerama Dome in 1968 during the run of
"Camelot." It's one of many great vintage views of the city on
Kenneth McIntyre's Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. 
full size view




A look in 1974 as the Dome is getting
decorated for the run of "Mame." 
full size view   |  another "Mame" view 




A 2004 view of the Dome added by Ken McIntyre to
the Photos of Los Angeles collection that was taken
during during the run of "Shrek 2." 
full size view




The Dome got all dressed in yellow for "The Minions" in
June 2015. Thanks to Lydia Zerne for her photo, which she
added as a comment on a PoLA post about this Dome page.

Also see:
| "Blue Lagoon" - 1980  |



Roloff on Flickr



Visit Roloff's great collection titled
 "Cinema Postcards from the Americas." 
This card is of the opening of the Dome with
"It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."
  full size image

  Also see the non-postcard version of this photo from
Richard Wojcik's collection on Vintage Los Angeles.
 


Stutefish on Flickr

www.flickr.com/photos/stutefish


An interior shot (prior to the blue re-do) by Stutefish.
    full size image


Vista Entertainment Solutions

www.vista.co.nz   


A recent view of the Cinerama Dome interior on the
website of the company that provides the software
for
the ArcLight complex's ticketing, merchandising
and
 membership programs. See the Pacific Theatres page.  
 
full size view   



More Cinerama Process History

For more information on Cinerama projection
 see the Cinerama section on our Movie Links page.

And see the section on the Warner Theatre,
Hollywood's original 3-strip Cinerama theatre.