Royal & It' a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 70mm

Look closely at this projector and its lamphouse! There will never be a better projector built in the history of motion pictures! If you are interested in projectors, click here to get to know some of the other 70mm projection equipment presented by the Swedish Widescreen Pages...

Royal's screen revealed in this March 16 1961 newpaper clip about Malmoe's newest theatre. Standing on stage are the guys making it possible - among others Mr. Sten Löfberg, president of Götafilm and original owner of Royal.

Don't let the images fool you! The impact of the over 20 meter screen and the short auditorium was - and still is - breathtaking! Being constructed for Cinerama and Todd-AO, Royal has no compromises. It is almost the only cinema in Sweden with a zero projection angle, minimizing the distortion to a minimum. The flat gigantic beautiful silk curtain lifts to reveal yet another white curtain following the heavily curved screen.

When Royal opened in 1961, it could host all major big screen formats from Cinerama and Cinemiracle, to UltraPanavision and Todd-AO. Royal's booth had a complete two projector 70mm Philips DP70 installation (Norelco AAII) and also three Century Cinemiracle projectors. This made it possible to host every format without any special re-building. The screen was a non-strip heavily curved standard screen, so pro-scenium or screen changes for 70mm or Cinerama was of no need what so ever. Just press the button for correct screen masking!

Before modern technology made it all sound and look worse, the super high intensity arc lamps on both the 70mm and the Cinemiracle projectors provided a light that was unbelievable in clarity and brightness. The sound equipment was built by AGA/Philips and had the seven channel discrete stereophonic sound needed for playback of the Cinerama films.

Due to very lucky deals with distributing companies, combined with a fusion of theatre chains in Malmoe, Royal got almost every 70mm available during the golden years. It's rival theatre, the beautiful Scania, had a few too, but that was almost always when Royal was tied up by another program.

Today Royal is still in operation and sometimes even showing an occasional 70mm re-run. The sound equipment have been torn down to leave place for earshattering digital noises in fewer but louder channels. The arc light is of course replaced by xenon. First by a horrible installation, which I luckily got the chance to change into better stuff. Images today are good, but not by far as good as they were in the old days.

Whenever I think of my cinema engineering days and Royal in Malmoe, I always think of her chief projectionist, Åke Lindberg, a true artist and craftsman! Much thanks to him, the equipment and quality of that cinema is still intact. I hope you have a nice theatre to run in heaven, Åke!

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