This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Here’s a bit of nostalgic promotional hype associated with this one:
“Before ‘Star Wars’ There Was… And There Always Will Be…”
Summer 1969: This one was harder than the others in this series to nail down. Perhaps, it was because I was only 14-years old at the time (as the 60s were petering out) when I took in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. I certainly didn’t have my own wheels during the summer I transitioned from junior to senior high school — or a date to share this, for that matter. And I certainly don’t recall how the hell I got to Hollywood itself to see this one-of-kind and enjoyably stupefying sci-fi film.
Unquestionably, I appreciated the fact Stanley Kubrick’s movie looked simply stunning. This grand movie hall, which was (and still is) the Hollywood Pacific Theatre, had one of the largest screens around. During its reign, this film palace was one of the very few that could present the 3-strip Cinerama experience. No kidding. My then young teen mind became totally enthralled with the incomprehensible and irresistible film. Especially when it was beautifully presented on to that huge screen (projected from a Super Panavision 70 print).
I think I saw it three times total that summer, the two from its balcony. The first time being a cherished memory I only wanted to share with others my age. Few did. Still, it hit me that much. Years later, I’d pick up the They came from outer space : 12 classic science fiction tales that became major motion pictures book and read Arthur C. Clarke’s source story, The Sentinel. The film retained a significant pull on me, even as an adult. Just like it did for the late-Roger Ebert. Believe it or not, this film was booked at this theater for 80 weeks. Additional trivia:
“During the 1968-69 engagement of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” ownership of the Warner Hollywood Theatre changed hands from Stanley-Warner to Pacific Theatres, at which time the name of the venue was changed to the Hollywood Pacific.”