Technobabble: This is Cinerama!

  • Article by: Randy A. Salas , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 9, 2008 - 6:57 AM

Today's DVD release of a restored "How the West Was Won" recalls the glory years of St. Louis Park's Cooper Theatre.

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magicmanrexSep. 9, 08 9:54 AM

.......there are plenty of home-theater enthusiasts who are priced out of the high-def blue-ray format. I've been an enthusiast from way back when, had laserdiscs, then dvds--and I have a large collection. But I can't keep up with this expensive "upgrade", until the prices of high-def tvs come down quite a bit. Right now, this hobby is for "elitists" only (or for people living above their means).

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magicmanrexSep. 9, 0810:42 AM

......the Cooper theatre was THE place to see any film that came out. I saw the rerelease of "A Star is Born" and "The Sound of Music" and "Oklahoma!" there, as well as "Alien" and many others in all of their widescreen splendor. That experience can never be duplicated, and I sure miss that theater!!

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sheepySep. 9, 0811:10 AM

I miss it terribly. But, there are still some lovely theaters in the Twin Cities that would love your support.

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mvaraniSep. 9, 0811:29 AM

I had the honor and pleasure of working the Cooper Theatre as a projectionist from 1980 to 1990. By 1980, the Cooper was not showing movies in the Cinerama format, but the main theatre was still regarded as a great venue for films. The advent of Dolby stereo and a revival of sorts of the 70mm format allowed movie goers in the 1980's to see newer films such Star Trek II, The Mission, Willow, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit as well as restorations of Oklahoma! and Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm on the big screen. It is regretable that the theatre could not be preserved as a venue for today's movie goers to enjoy films in their original Cinerama splendor, such as HTWWW. mvarani.

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Flash_GordonSep. 9, 0811:57 AM

From 1971 to 1975, I worked at the Cooper, first as doorman and groundskeeper, (Remember that big sweep of lawn? I was just off the college track team as a distance runner. It still took me 6-8 hours to mow that lawn with a push mower. The manager insisted that I bag all the clippings.) and eventually as assistant manager. It was a great place to work! Celebrities would show up with their dates/spouses. We even had a world premier! I recall the director and the other bigwigs crossing highway 12 after having had "a few" at the "Boulevard. The Cooper had smoking lounges off on the side where people could smoke and watch the movie. What I remember most is how professional the staff was. Tuxes and uniforms, tearing tickets, etc. Cinerama was not being used but a special lens matched the picture to the curved screen. Good memories.

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coachlynnSep. 9, 0812:42 PM

It was so special to go to movies like this at the Cooper. We had reservations, and would dress up and even buy a book about the movie to take home. There were special effects movies also, no plots, just train rides, etc. The refreshments were unique too,like little candies in tins, not something we got often in those days. I was taken to the Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm for my birthday, and still remember it (and kept the book!) Oh, I'm sad they're not planning to redo it. But my copy of How the West Was Won is already on its way to me. I can't wait!

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lmockSep. 9, 0812:52 PM

My first job was working at the Cooper. It was an amazingly fun place to work, even though Plitt had bought it out at that time and the tone was taking a bit of a dive. It was sad that they had to add the Cameo, but it was great when we were running both "Ordinary People" and "Kramer vs. Kramer" (OP was on the big screen--and KK was sold out every night in the Cameo). So much fun. So many fond memories. *sigh*

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magicmanrexSep. 9, 0812:57 PM

....the movie, "Magic", with Anthony Hopkins and Ann Margaret when it opened---it was in the smaller theatre, but we had to wait in line forever to get in!! It was worth the wait, though---I even enjoyed the smaller theatre. The weirdest one I saw there, was "Zombie" with Tisa Farrow, and that was on the big screen!! I'd watch T.V. commercials on that big screen if it were still around!

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MarkMcHenrySep. 9, 08 1:26 PM

I worked at the Cooper Theatre as a doorman/ticket-taker in late 60's - early 70's era. I remember it didn't pay much, not even as much as restaurant jobs. But, for a high school kid, the work was relatively easy and the girls behind the concession stand were cute. The movies weren't always outstanding. "Who is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me" premiered there. Our always-punctual manager was upset when the soundtrack-contributing rock band, Dr Hook and the Medicine Show, made a very, very late appearance to a less-than-appreciative and dwindling crowd. Kind of an early indication where that movie was headed. As much as I initially enjoyed most of the films, seeing and hearing them over and over again begins to wear on you. It got to the point where the Cooper employees could repeat the lines well before the actors on screen. In promoting food and beverage sales during the run of "Lawrence of Arabia", our manager was looking for ideas. I suggested turning up the heat in the auditorium to give folks a real feeling of the desert. Then, during intermissions (yes, we had intermissions!), promote concessions at a redubbed "Oasis". Funny, he never took advantage my marketing genius.

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mn55066Sep. 9, 08 4:31 PM

Tne most memorable films I saw at the Cooper were 2001, How The West Was Won, and Lawrence of Arabia. It was without a doubt the finest theater in the Twin Citie--a class act all areound. I felt badly when it was torn down. The Terrace in Robinsdale was also spectacular. I can't believe we used to be able to smoke in the theaters!

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