This Is Cinerama/Atom Smasher At Rockaway Playland NY

Sunday, October 14, 2012 1:52 PM

Many of you are familiar, I'm sure, with the film process called Cinerama. Back in 1952, a film was produced called This Is Cinerama. The process was later used in many films, including How The West Was Won.

This Is Cinerama was really a fore-runner to today's Imax screens and the simulators many of us enjoy at parks. The film is a compilation of sequences shot in Cinerama. Why am I posting this on CB? I'm glad you asked.

One of the POV sequences in the movie features the long-gone (1985) Atom Smasher roller coaster at Rockaway Playland in NY. My friend Ellen, who's not a coaster person, rode it when she was growing up in the area, and told me it was a lot of fun. I remember seeing the film in a Cinema 180 attraction on the Seaside Heights and/or Wildwood Boardwalk in the 1970's. It MIGHT even have been at GAdv once upon a time.

The movie is rarely shown these days, but Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will show it on Thursday, 10/18 at 9:45 Eastern. It'll be preceded by a 2002 documentary called Cinerama Adventure, which is about the process.

Last edited by Mike Gallagher, Sunday, October 14, 2012 1:54 PM
Sunday, October 14, 2012 6:08 PM

You caught my attention for two reasons, first of course was the coaster segment, but also with the mention of Cinerama, most people don't know much about theatrical history.

Cinerama was quite interesting in that it used three 35mm projectors to create widescreen video on a curved screen, definitely a precursor to modern IMAX theaters.

DVR set for both shows.

Monday, October 15, 2012 12:31 PM

Thanks for the heads up - I've always wanted to see this and documentary about Cinerama peaks my interest as well!

Monday, October 15, 2012 2:42 PM

Cool. I'll be setting my DVR when I get home. I remember reading about this when I joined ACE back in the 80's.

Friday, October 19, 2012 9:17 AM

Hope some of you got to watch it. I (bleeping) forgot all about it..maybe in my euphoria at the Yankees' disaster. It's not scheduled to air again and is not available on Netflix... don't believe it's been released on DVD.

Friday, October 19, 2012 9:39 AM

I just tried to set my DVR to record it and couldn't figure out why I couldn't find it. Then I realized, I'm a bit late to the game. If it pops up again, please let us know. :-)

Friday, October 19, 2012 10:46 AM

I just happened to stumble across the listing, as I don't watch much TV other than Jeopardy!, baseball, and The Walking Dead (nice mix, huh?) But I will keep an eye out, because I'd like to see it. I'll put the eye back in afterwards..I promise.

Friday, October 19, 2012 11:55 AM

I saw the documentary last night. It was a little long, but the topic was really interesting. It was a precursor to Imax and in some ways was superior. The medium was used as more of a thrill than the traditionally formatted films.

Friday, October 19, 2012 12:03 PM

^Did you watch the 1952 feature afterwards? If so, how well does it hold up on the small screen?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 9:52 PM

My roommate restored This is Cinerama, and is featured in this documentary on TBS! I've seen the Atom Smasher segment about 100 times, and he told me about one coaster catch-- the clock changes time during the coaster ride-- it's more than one segment pieced together. Just a quirky anecdote. Love the Atom Smasher.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012 3:20 PM

I haven't seen the feature yet, it is still on my DVR. I also ordered How the West was Won on Netflix. So we'll see.

Thursday, November 1, 2012 2:19 PM

I was going to reply to this thread a few days after the broadcast, but it looked like the conversation died. So, for those who would be interested in knowing how they approximated the Cinerama experience, the screen image was made to look curved like the original theatrical screen would have been for a Cinerama production. I'm assuming that on a large screen tv the experience would have been better than my little 39", but it was still a beautiful movie. It reminded me a lot of the Cinema 180 show we used to have at Six Flags Over Mid-America in the 70's and 80's. We called it the Chevy Show because it was sponsered by them. They had 2 of the company's current model cars displayed outside the theater every season. The Cinerama broadcast brought back great memories of my childhood at the park. Thanks to TCM, many can see this precursor to IMAX who would never have seen it otherwise.

Thursday, November 1, 2012 3:51 PM

Too bad TCM's airing was apparently a one-and-done. I could find nothing on their site about a replay, but I haven't checked recently.


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