Ambassadors Theatre 625 Hay Street, Perth, WA - Installation of CinemaScope equipment at The Ambassadors.

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Date time: 2022-11-18 17:39:03 +0000

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Ambassadors Theatre 625 Hay Street, Perth, WA  -  Installation of CinemaScope equipment at The Ambassadors.

The first CinemaScope installation in Perth was at Hoyts Ambassadors theatre with 20th Century Fox’s The Robe.

Ambassadors Theatre 625 Hay Street, Perth, WA -

George Griffith, the Southern District Supervisor of Hoyts Theatres Ltd arrived in Perth on Oct 22, 1953 to meet with Sydney F. Albright, the managing director of Westrex and organise the installation of CinemaScope equipment at The Ambassadors. Hoyts Theatres Ltd, managing director Ernest Turnbull made an advance press announcement.

Hoyts will spend £20,000 equipping the Ambassadors for CinemaScope. He went on : “Instead of the limited, almost-square picture we know today, CinemaScope gives real-life perspective on a curved screen, two and a half times the normal width". “Sunday Times” newspaper Perth, 22 Nov 1953.

Fri, Nov 13 1953. Mr. W. Nicholls, Perth supervising manager of Hoyts greeted Vic Basham and his co-workers as they arrived at The Ambassadors to begin the installation of this new state of the art technology. Great care had to be taken with the new Miracle Mirror screen which measured 39 feet wide by 15 feet high. A Miracle Mirror screen is fragile, the surface can be damaged by rubbing or pressing, this is usually represented by dark spots that cannot be removed.

The nervous handlers mounted the huge screen on a steel tubular frame with a curvature created of l8 inches. Supplementing the new screen motorized black masking was installed to cater for all known screen ratios. Reorganisation in the theatre for the new screen meant the loss of 14 seats from the front stalls edges. The lenses were supplied by The Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. This also meant the installation of the Westrex four channel magnetic sound system. A process that records on 4 separate magnetic tracks at point of origin, and is distributed through three speakers (left, center, right) arranged behind the screen, with the 4th effects track piped around the auditorium via strategically placed (APs) audience participation speakers. Aside - Strangely, films carrying 4 magnetic tracks were advertised as being in stereophonic sound, when stereo is only two tracks while four would be quadraphonic.

The Ambassadors - Viewing CinemaScope for the first time was an eye-opening experience. Possibly the most impressive example of the wide screen anamorphic process ever in a Western Australian cinema.

The Ambassadors was always a special place for Vic as he would fondly describe to anybody that would listen, that thrilling moment after the installation was completed, when the crew settled in the middle stalls to view their handy work, as the masking opened to reveal The Robe, presented in CinemaScope and Stereophonic sound. The likes they had never heard or seen before. Viewing CinemaScope for the first time was an eye-opening experience. Possibly the most impressive example of the wide screen anamorphic process ever in a Western Australian cinema.

The American director of Hoyts Theatres Ltd. (Mr. Harry C. Seipel) arrived in Perth to host the CinemaScope industry day on Tues, 22 Dec 1953. Film exhibitors and reviewers crowded in and were treated to a demonstration of CinemaScope along with special film clips designed to showcase the directional qualities of stereophonic sound. Vic Basham and a contingent of Westrex staff were present to answer technical questions. The task now was to convince Western Australian exhibitors of the benefits of installing CinemaScope in their theatres. The press described the demonstration in glowing terms.

The Sunday Times wrote - CinemaScope on Its great wide screen is going to come as an astonishingly pleasant surprise to the people of Perth. Sunday Times Sun 27 Dec 1953.

The Robe opened at The Ambassadors to turn away business on Dec 31,1953, which included a special midnight screening on New Years Eve. The advertising boasted that The Robe would be presented in lifelike realism through the only Anamorphic lenses and curved Miracle Mirror screen in WA..

Contributed by Greg Lynch -

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