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Premiere of Oklahoma! in new widescreen format

Premiere of Oklahoma! in new widescreen format

Nov. 17, 1955: Actress Marlene Dietrich and promoter Michael Todd arrive at the Egyptian Theater for the premiere of “Oklahoma!” The movie was filmed on Todd’s widescreen Todd-AO process.

Times writer Philip K. Scheuer reported the next morning:

They made a beautiful evenin’ of it last night at the Egyptian Theater: “Oklahoma!” was premiered.

The production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s own for the screen – and the screen itself made half the news. Upon it was thrown a picture bigger than any other know before except Cinerama, in the process called Todd-AO and named for Promoter Michael Todd and the American Optical Co. [The] picture and process together represented an investment of $12,000,000.

Between the two, the premiere could hardly have missed. It didn’t…..

Todd-AO is a 70-mm. film which, pulled through a single projector at 30 frames a second, reaches a screen approximately 60 feet wide and half as high. The arc is 128 degrees as compared to Cinemama’s 146, but there are no splits in the screen. The pictures do tend to run “uphill” at the sides. Stereophonic sound is dispersed through six speakers.

This photo by former Times staff photographer Ray Graham was published with Scheuer’s article in the Nov. 18, 1955, L.A. Times.

The Todd-AO wide-film process won a scientific and technical achievement award at the 30th Academy Awards on March 26, 1958.

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