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The U.S. Pavilion
The 1968 Hemisfair, San Antonio, TX.

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: John Stewart, The Paramount Theatre, Austin, Texas, USA Date: 16 January 2006
Picture by Jim Maloy, Austin Texas

The 1968 Hemisfair was held in San Antonio, TX. The U.S. Pavilion was where the picture of the 70mm machines came from.

This is what I remember from nearly 38 years ago.

United States Pavilion (now the John H. Wood, Jr. United States District Court for the Western District of Texas) was a large theater divided into 3 smaller theaters with curtains between each theater.

As the program began, we watched footage presented in a wide-screen format shown in 35mm. At one point in the program, the footage reverted to the 1.33 format as early silent film footage was shown. The top masking was raised at this time. Footage was shown of the Wright Brothers type of airplane flying over a pasture with horses running. (I'm sure this was recreated footage if memory serves me) As the airplane flies towards the audience and goes over head, the image fades and the noise of the engine loudly fills the theater and in the total darkness, the walls between the theaters disappear into the ceiling and the smaller screens in each auditorium folds up into the ceiling. Suddenly, we are all in one large theater with 3 large triptych screens that the 70mm machines are projecting on to.

I don't remember much about the film other than it was a social documentary of some sort. Some of the images were mulitpaneled and some were continuous across the three panels. One scene was a daughter of the mother of roller coaster type crowd pleasing footage. The 3 cameras were attached to the front of a vehicle and as it sped down the freeway, it came to a "Y" intersection and appeared to go one way when it suddenly lurched the other way causing the audience to gasp as our collective stomachs churned.
Further in 70mm reading:

70mm at the Paramount in Austin, Texas, USA

Internet link:
Picture by Jim Maloy, Austin Texas

I did not get to visit the booth as much as I would loved to have. From this picture, we can see 2 of the 70mm machines and one of the 35mm machines in this one booth.

I'm fairly certain the 3rd 70mm machine was just off to our left in the picture.

The other 2 35mm machines were in a different area located directly behind the individual sub theater.

I vaguely remember some of the other film venues but can't tell you who they belonged to. There was one 360 degree theater projected by 16mm projectors. Another theater was the Czech Kino Automat. This theater had muiltipanels of action around a stage and sometimes the actors ran out of the movie panel onto the live stage. Seems like we had a devise so the audience could decide how the program would continue.

One other thing, the Texas Pavilion is still there. It is now know as the Institute of Texan Cultures at UTSA. In this exhibit, there was a large multi paneled dome that had an array of 35mm, 16mm and 35mm slide images projected on to these various sized panels. You could sit anywhere on the floor and see a complete show. The images were repeated 3 times around the dome.

The dome is still there but the movie projectors were replaced with video a few years ago.
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Updated 21-01-24