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Friday, December 30, 2005


A 3-D Surprise (At Least For Me)

Here's an October, 1953 ad from the small-town theater where I grew up, although 1953 pre-dates me by a few months. Anyway, I'm digging through the microfilm at our local Community College, checking out those first engagements of 3-D in our small town, and this ad jumped out at me (like a lion in my lap!). I mean, whoever heard of a feature being shown both ways during a single engagement? Maybe such things were commonplace, and I just never heard (or read) about them. Our beloved Liberty Theatre was owned and operated at that time by a great showman named Ivan Anderson (with son-in-law Colonel Roy Forehand), who'd started out in vaudeville and was heavily involved in the promotion and exploitation of 3-D for the Southeast region (how do I know this? --- he was featured in Boxoffice several times during 1953). We all know that 3-D was a flash in the pan, and by October of '53, I suspect Ivan knew it too. His willingness to offer I, The Jury both ways may well have been a response to patron requests. So many 3-D presentations were hampered by a myriad of technical problems, and those glasses had to be a drag (plus, they weren't free!). By the Autumn of that year, the novelty had definitely worn off, even in a small town like ours. When I finally had the opportunity to search all the storage rooms and closets at the Liberty, around 1975, I found boxes of unused 3-D glasses, mute testimony of a fascinating period of film history that had come and gone.

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