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Cinerama Theatre


2013 Photo from the Scott Neff collection
2100 Fourth Ave
Seattle WA 98121
(206) 448-6680

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Record #2571  
 Opened: 1963
Capacity: 808 seats
Architect(s):
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As: Martin Cinerama
 Previously operated by: Martin Theatres, United Theatres, SRO Theatres, Cineplex Odeon Theatres, General Cinema Theatres, AMC Theatres

Information for this tour was contributed by Dave Felthous & Craig Hyland.

Built by the Southern-based Martin circuit, the Cinerama is the first and only Seattle theater built expressly to show the huge, three-projector image. Unfortunately, when it opened in the early 1960s the format was in its waning days. But local audiences had been able to view the series of mostly travelogue features at the Paramount Theater, which was outfitted with Cinerama equipment.

In the late 1950s Cinerama concluded its run at the Paramount, which Fox theaters resumed operating as a first-run movie house. Until Martin came along there was no true Cinerama shown in Seattle.

The Cinerama Theater has been through a series of owners. When Martin pulled out, the United circuit took over, then Sterling Theaters, which was bought out by Cineplex Odeon in 1986. Through it all, the theater gradually deteriorated over the years, and Cineplex showed no interest in reviving the place. Enter Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, who had fond memories of going to the Cinerama as a kid -- and who had the bucks to restore the place.

So the Cinerama closed for a number of months for remodeling. What emerged is a stunning auditorium complete with lavender-velvet draperies and hundreds of tiny fiber-optic stars sprinkled across the ceiling. The lobby and restrooms are done with 1950s-style colors and furnishings. Allen installed a Cinerama screen behind the "regular" 68-foot screen and announced plans to build a three-projector setup so that the early Cinerama films could be shown as they were originally. This has not happened so far.

Allen leased the Cinerama to General Cinema, which continues to operate it with mostly blockbuster films such as "Gladiator" and "Pearl Harbor."

Also, the Cinerama Theatre in Seattle has shown 3-strip since it was refurbished. How the West Was Won and This is Cinerama were shown on Friday, June 2, 2000 as part of the Seattle International Film Festival. And I might add that there was not a dry eye in the sold-out house. Absolutely amazing on the 90' curved strip screen.

The theatre was equipped with a digital projector for the opening of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones on May 16, 2002. This was the only theatre in Seattle to present the movie this way.

AMC stopped managing this theatre on August 29, 2010 when the theatre closed briefly for installation of new digital projection and a remodelling before management was assumed by Greg Wood, the owner and operator of the Roseway Theatre in Portland, OR.

 Photos
 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

August 2013 photos from the Scott Neff collection.


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June 2008 photos from the Mark Campbell collection.


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Photos from the Scott Neff collection.


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 Postcards
 Images remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

Postcards from the Daniel Wright collection.


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 External Links

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Last featured 1/23/2005. Last edited 2/22/2014.

 
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