Monday, November 26, 2012

Ben Hur Program, Capri, 1960

"Ben Hur" was a big deal when it opened as the Capri's first feature presentation in early November of 1960. Bob Fridley had just completed renovations on what was the Uptown Theatre on University, and a brand-new Todd AO 70mm system had just been installed. "Ben Hur" was to dazzle the Des Moines public by presenting an epic biblical tale on a giant new wide screen, with multi-channel sound playing on a system installed by Todd AO system engineers flown in from Holland.

This was still the era of the "roadshow" picture, in which the feature was presented as an entire event, often with an overture, an intermission, custom banners for the lobby, and souvenirs available for purchase at the snack counter--such as this lush color brochure detailing the making of the "Ben Hur" feature.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Here's an ad for the grand opening of the Town Drive-In, from an Elkhart paper in May 1949. This venue was later known as the Starlite, and was perhaps the most "outlying" of the Des Moines ozoners. (Ad courtesy of the Cataldo Punelli collection.)