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to the switch room (just left of the
                                                                                Cinerama At The Plaza
                                            auditorium entrance) with strict
                                                                                Start dates and seasons in weeks
                                            instructions not to let anyone in. Then
                                                                                Three projectors:
                                            with an easel at the Collins St entrance  This is Cinerama  26.12.58 (40)
          Cinerama At                       announcing ‘Operating on Our Own    Cinerama Holiday    21.10.59 (40)
                                            Plant’, the premiere went ahead with
             The Plaza                      patrons none the wiser!             South Seas Adventure  25.8.60 (37)
                                               With 2001, A Space Odyssey, staff
                                            were asking “Was this a statement of  Seven Wonders of the   1.6.61 (40)
          A Personal Experience.            something profound or just a weird
                                            movie that most people found        Search For Paradise   5.4.62 (15)
                   By Ian Williams
                                            confusing?” Fortunately, it found its  Windjammer        26.7 62 (21)
                                            audience in later screenings.
            Many things were brought back to                                    How The West Was Won  1.1.63 (49)
          me by Eric White’s informative article,  A creek flows under the Plaza. In  Wonderful World of the
          Cinerama at the Plaza. (CinemaRecord  the Hoyts days the water level was  Brothers Grimm  10.12.64 (23)
          43.) Being on the Hoyts City Theatres  managed by a pump, which
          front-of-house management team, I was  automatically switched on before water  70mm Single Projector
          at the Plaza at various times during the  rose into the orchestra pit. This  It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad,  3.6.65 (59)
                                                                                Mad, World
          years that this visual wonder occupied  seepage was to cause problems in the
          the theatre.                      70’s when both theatres were stripped  Greatest Story Ever Told  28.7.66 (26)
                                            and all power turned off. Water first
            Eric mentioned that ‘the floor had                                  Hallelujah Trail      9.2.67 (11)
                                            built up in the front stalls area, and was
          to be lowered.’ Lowering in this                                      Battle of the Bulge   4.5.67 (11)
                                            getting into the Chapter House at St.
          instance meant excavating an additional                               Khartoum             27.7.67 (15)
                                            Paul’s Cathedral.
          couple of feet into rock to achieve a
          pronounced slope downwards to the    Going past one day I saw workmen  Grand Prix         16.11.67 (22)
          new stage apron!                  pumping this water out into Flinders  2001, A Space Odyssey  2.5.68 (11)
                                            Lane. After going home to get a torch, I
            He mentioned the Cinerama                                           Around the World In
                                            was able to go through both theatres via  Eighty Days    25.7.68  (9)
          company’s policy of a red colour
                                            an unlocked Collins St door to the
          scheme for the stage curtain and for                                  Charge of the Light Brigade 7.11.68 (14)
                                            office building, for the first time since
          curtains along the sides of the                                       Custer of the West   20.2.69  (5)
                                            closing. Well, there was to be a lot
          auditorium hiding the wide                                            Ice Station Zebra     3.4.69 (10)
                                            more ‘water under the bridge’ (sorry,
          promenades. Sadly, this decree was                                    Krakatoa, East of Java  18.12.69  (7)
                                            Plaza), before its restoration as
          carried through to the magnificent
          Spanish style foyer, taking it from a  originally designed - as a ballroom!  ★
          bronze-like antique look to a not so
          beautiful pink!
            I used to love going into the theatre
          to see the audience reaction when the
          curtain parted after the standard screen
          prologue to the Cinerama image! The
          best seats were about ten to fifteen rows
          from the screen, to get you almost
          wrapped in the picture. However, it was
          often difficult to convince prospective
          patrons of this!
            During the fifties, many power
          strikes closed theatres that did not have a
          stand-by generator. The heaviest load
          was when the carbon of the second
          projector was struck. At the
          Regent/Plaza, the plant that did both
          theatres could cope with this - until
          Cinerama came along. Three projectors
          operating simultaneously in the Plaza
          and with the change-overs in the  It’s all illusion. Presented as an image for Melbourne, an authoritative source has
          Regent, meant that on a day of a power  identified every aspect of this picture as a composite. The wall is the Plaza Sydney, the
          ban, the Plaza usually had to shut down.  audience could be from anywhere, and the screen and its images are obviously
            A Cinerama premiere happened to  superimposed.
          coincide with one such day, but the
          Managing Director of Hoyts, George
          Griffiths was not to be outdone. He put
          the mechanist, Pat Quinlan, on the door

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