Gone, Gone, Gone...
It was with sadness that I read in the Honolulu Star Bulletin that Consolidated was closing the Cinerama Theater on November 27. I've seen many movies in the old theater, which was the last stand alone of its kind in Honolulu. The old movie house will be missed because it had one of the biggest screens in town, was close to where I lived and provided me with many memories of movies gone by.
This was the theater where I first saw the movie Star Wars. At the recommendation and insistance of a friend, I went to see the movie 4 months after it opened at the Cinerama. Coupled with a great storybook plot and a spectacular set of special effects, I was totally blown away by Star Wars, mainly because it was the first movie I remember seeing in 70 mm and 6 channel Dolby stereo sound. After this initial showing, I went back to the Cinerama Theater to see Star Wars several more times to relive the swashbuckling adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Obi Wan Kenobi in all their glorious splendor.
Three years later I waited in a long line with 3 other friends to catch the opening of The Empire Strikes Back, the second movie of the Star Wars trilogy saga. Again I was treated to a big screen movie in spectacular stereo sound in a theater that had become a familiar place to catch the "blockbuster" of the day.
In another 3 years I was back to watch Return of the Jedi, and in between them and beyond, I've been to countless movies at the Cinerama, including The Last Emperor, Far And Away, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Apollo 13, Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom, and others. Every movie was an enjoyable experience because of the large, curved 66 ft. wide screen and the glorious stereophonic sound that was maintained through the years. Sadly, the age of the "multiplex" theater came about and in time drove the old and majestic movie houses such as the Cinerama out of business.
Most recently I enjoyed the movies Blair Witch Project, American Beauty and The Insider before the theater closed. The Cinerama will definitely be missed. I sure wish that there were large and wide screens in today's multiplexes. More importantly, the Ala Moana-McCully area needs another theater.
Read the article about the Cinerama's closure in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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