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DP70s in Illinois (IL)

Read more at in70mm.com
Written by: Thomas Hauerslev Date: 04.07.2009
Champaign Virginia Theatre (P)
  Two DP70 (2063 + ____). The plaque on the side says, "Made in the USA". The cat. # is 3070; serial # 59-169. The Type is EL4001 and that number is followed by the designation "N.R. 2063". The projector was probably one of a pair used at the Varsity Theatre in Peoria. Second projector (Installed 2000) has no serial number. 2063 installed in the late 70's (possibly early 80's) to run the 70mm-blowups then in vogue.

The 2nd projector was installed by James Bond who owns a number of them (including one modified for 8 perf). He says the one he put in at the Virginia is the same one that ran the "Cinema Borealis" festival in Chicago's Lincoln Park in 1989. That machine came from Mark Gulbrandsen who bought it from Paul Mundt in San Francisco who had purchased a truckload of them which came out of theatres in the Boston area so the original installation for this unit was there. Lonny Jennings, then of Dolby, was at the Cinema Borealis screening and said he actually recognized that projector as a machine he helped remove back when he was a tech in the Boston area. At the Virginia it has been fitted with remaining magazine components not seen in these pics from the CB festival. Steve Kraus

Just a note: while you have no serial number listed for the machine James Bond installed as the second DP70 in the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, IL, I was just in the booth last month and noted the serial numbers for both machines. The first was Cat. 3070 59 169 as listed on your site, and the other one was Cat. 3070 59 102.

By the way, the woman who runs the Normal Theatre in Normal, IL. was a Kerasotes manager and says that the Thunderbird Theatre in Champaign had two 70mm Norelcos installed. She's seen them in the booth, and said that after the theatre became a bar they occasionally ran movies on the machines. I have a contact looking into whether or not they're still there. Bob Endres, 13 Sep 2007

November 2009 update:

The Thunderbird is now a rock club on the University of Illinois campus and is quite popular. The [old] booth is used for storage, but there was a Brenkert projector and Strong xenon lamphouse still in position. The Norelcos had been moved (I suspect at least one of them is the original one in the Virginia in Champaign), but left in the booth amidst the clutter were two Christie lamphouses and two Christie rectifiers which I would bet were the lamps for the Norelcos. Since, as far as I know, neither the Virginia in Champaign nor the Madison in Peoria had 70mm before "Star Wars", I wouldn't be surprised if Kerasotes hadn't taken the machines out of the Thunderbird at that time. If I didn't find out where the machines were after my visit, at least I knew where they weren't!

The Thunderbird didn't open until after I left the campus, but it is a pretty good sized "shopping center" theatre of the type built in the '60's, and makes a pretty nice rock venue. The stage has been extended but the original screen is still located upstage although the speakers are no longer behind it. Bob Endres, 30.11.2009
Chicago James Bond (p)
  Two DP70 (806+1642)

806 sold to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. In storage and used for spare parts.
Chicago Lincoln Park Summer Festival 1989 (T)
  One DP70 (806).

Image by James Bond
  Image by James Bond

Ran "2001:A Space Odyssey" in 70mm.

DP70 returned to James Bond, Chicago
Chicago McVickers Theatre (*»)
  3-strip Cinerama. Two DP70 installed for "Oklahoma!" 26.12.1955. 2264 seats Ampex 6 track stereo. 70mm again from 19.11.1963. Demolished 1985.
Chicago Michael Todd Theatre
  Two DP70 (621+631). Closed and gutted into a live house. The Micheal Todd was set up for Todd-AO with a huge wall to wall screen. Mike Todd removed the whole stage and ceiling to maxiumize the screen size. Opening the house with "Around the World in 80 Days". DP70 replaced by Century JJ's and finally Brenkerts. Smellorama machine was in the basement in the 80's but gone in 1994/5. The sister house to the Michael Todd Theatre was the Cinestage. 
Chicago Palace Theatre (*)
  3-strip Cinerama 1953 – 1959 and 1961 – 1962. Two DP70 installed for "Can Can" March 1960. 1600 seats. Closed now banqueting rooms
Chicago State Lakes Theatre (*»)
  Two DP70 (621+631) from Michael Todd Theatre. 2684 seats. Gutted into a video studio in downtown Chicago. Last film through was the "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" in 70mm. DP70 installed in 1965 for the premiere of "Cleopatra". DP70 removed from the State Lake in 85 or 86 and stored on the stage of the Chicago Theatre for a couple of years till Plitt sold them to Carey Williams.
Chicago Todd's Cinestage (*»)
  Two DP70. Was originally the Selwyn. Opened with Todd-AO with "Around the World in 80 Days" on 52x26 feet floating curved screen in 1957. 1038 seats. Closed and awaiting demolition. Latest report explain it is now used as live theatre under the name Selwyn. 
Chicago Carey Williams (private)
  Two DP70 (621- Todd AO base # 1011+631- Todd AO base # 1012) from the State & Lake Theatre.
Fairview Heights Wehrenberg Theatres, St. Clair 10 Cine'
  Four DP70 (2087+2089+____+____) in storage with base numbers: 6413,  6386, 6388, 6353
Hinsdale Hinsdale Theatre (P)
  Two DP70. Machines installed late 1990s. The projectors were from a big single screen UA theater in Milwaukee Wisconsin that was demolished about 1985.
Peoria Varsity Theatre
  Two DP70 (2063 + ). The plaque on the side says, "Made in the USA". The cat. # is 3070; serial # 59-169. The Type is EL4001 and that number is followed by the designation "N.R. 2063". 2063 sent to Virginia Theatre, Champaign (IL).
Streator Majestic (P)
  Two DP70 (1372+1374). Sold to Tim Burke, Los Angeles, USA
More in 70mm reading:

DP70 - The Todd-AO Projector
DP70 Story
DP70 Cinemas everywhere
DP70 Serial Numbers

DP70s in USA

70mm Projectors

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Updated 21-01-24