The Pacific Cinerama Dome – Hollywood’s Most Uniquely Shaped Theatre
Over the weekend Patrick and I went to see the highly anticipated Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, but we chose to see it at the iconic Cinerama Dome, which is used, albeit extremely briefly, in the film.
Across the front of the Dome was a banner advertising the film 1969 Krakatoa: East of Java, but why you ask? Because that is how the Dome appeared for its cameo in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, as seen in this screencap from the trailer…
As you can see they did have to do some CGI work to remove the 24 Hour Fitness, Salon Republic, and Veggie Grill that are the Dome’s contemporary neighbors.
In addition to the sign, two of the cars used in the film were on display.
Designed by Welton Becket and Associates, the Pacific Cinerama Dome was originally a prototype to showcase the new Cinerama experience, which used three projectors to immerse the audience in the film, think of it as an early version of IMAX. Becoming the first theatre to be constructed in Hollywood since the Pantages in 1931, the Dome was also the first concrete geodesic dome in the world, build in just 16 weeks using 316 pentagonal and hexagonal panels that were bolted together, using the technique patented by innovator Buckminster Fuller. Originally Fuller’s design was suppose to solve the housing crisis of post-war America, but never caught on. While the Dome is iconic to LA, his most recognizable work is Spaceship Earth at EPCOT.
The Dome emerges from Sunset Boulevard standing 69 feet high, and inside it seats over 800 movie goers, although originally sat 949. The uniquely designed theatre opened on November 7, 1963 with the premiere of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, which ran for 63 weeks.
As for the movie, I absolutely loved it. I’m a picky fan of Tarantino’s work, and do not much care for is trademark over the top violence, but I think this had the least amount of violence of any of his films. Many have called Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood Tarantino’s love letter to LA, and I won’t really argue with that. The film tells a story that happened to quite a few actors, but is often overlooked in the history of Hollywood. Additionally, the film is just plain gorgeous. Tarantino and his crew did a lot of work around LA and even as far south as Tustin, making places look like they once did, and in many cases these locations are in the film for a split second, serving no purpose other than to further immerse the audience in the time period. Additionally, the film included multiple songs by one of my favorite bands, Paul Revere and the Raiders, who I blogged about not long ago, as well as one of my favorite songs, “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” by The Royal Guardsmen. If you love LA, especially old LA, you’ll love the film.
Stay tuned for another piece of Hollywood history and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood filming location. In the meantime, you check check out my post on El Coyote which was also used in the film.
See a movie inside this mid-century marvel at 6360 Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. To see what’s playing visit Archlight’s website.
April 2021 Update: Archlight has left the Cinerama Dome, and sadly the future of the Dome remains uncertain. There is a petition to save it.
Cinerama Dome. Los Angeles Conservancy. Accessed: 29 July 2019
The Dome. Arclight Accessed: 29 July 2019
Plaques on site
Shirt: Worn Free
Shorts & Purse: Buffalo Exchange
Turquoise: Here and there…
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One comment on “The Pacific Cinerama Dome – Hollywood’s Most Uniquely Shaped Theatre”
Love! I was in San Jose a few weeks ago and they still have the buildings of Century 21 and Century 22 which were also domed theaters. Sadly they are not open right now but I found them interesting and immediately thought of you.