The Passing of Joe Kelly
The 70mm Newsletter
by: Robert Weigerber, with contributions from
Dick Vetter and
of the first D-150 Theatre at the Lefrak complex in New York in New York
City. Right to left is Joe Kelly VP of projection
technology for the UA Circuit, Dick Vetter and Carl Williams co-developers
of D-150. Far left is Hal Moore President of the ASC at
September 19, 2009 8:53 PM
Another "great one" has passed. Joe and I were great friends
and I will miss him! Joe and I got along well and he was very helpful
and supportive of my
As you know he worked at Skouras Theatres (the 20th
Century Fox Studio circuit), then re branded UA Theatres when the Fox chain
and the UA chain were merged. Joe had the fantastic opportunity to work on
Todd-AO (personally oversaw the
Rivoli, the flagship
Todd-AO showcase in Manhatten) and then
Dick Vetter who is also a
great friend. Joe loved his profession and while working for UA started a
company Kelmar that provided cinema equipment and parts to the entire world
wide exhibition industry. Joe is one of the "last of a breed" movie
The three men worked on both sides of the technology, Joe on exhibition
side (lenses, masking and curved screen design) and Dick and Carl on
production & exhibition.
What Dick tells me is that Hal was very influential in getting
D-150 embraced in Hollywood! By the way he shot "The Jazz Singer",
you remember that important film. May he rest in peace! Best Always, Robert Weigerber
in 70mm reading:
Syosset Cinema, Long Island, New
for U.C.L.A. Driving Simulator: Dimension 150
photographed in Dimension 150
Richard Vetter Passed Away
Carl W. Williams Passed Away
Joe Kelly image
About Joe Kelly by Dan Leimeter
young Joe Kelly taken the early 1950's. He said it was a picture of him
doing a 35mm 3-D installation. Picture from Robert Weisgerber
Joe Kelly was one of the truly good guys in the world. He was my unofficial
technical guru during the time when Todd-AO was still affiliated with the
United Artists Theatre Corporation.
In 1979, he sent me a pair of DP70's from the Syosset Theatre on Long
Island after they had been pulled out to accommodate automation. I rebuilt
them and installed them in Studio B so that we could check 70mm prints in
more than just Studio A.
When 1021 N. Seward was sold to Hollywood General Studios, they were
transferred to the American Cinemateque and they are still running at the
Aero (?) Theatre in West Los Angeles as an adjunct to the Egyptian Theatre
on Hollywood Blvd. Paul Rayton at the Egyptian can bring you up to date on
Joe was always kindly, friendly, and helpful to me when I would see him at
SMPTE Projection Committee meetings in Hollywood and Vegas. Joe knew
everything about projection; it is indeed an understatement to say that Joe
was an immense help to this youngster fresh from running 70mm films in
upscale Detroit theatres and trouping automotive roadshows across the
country for Ford and General Motors.
Joe was a great role model for me, and I have aspired to live up to his
standards, both in technology and humanity. Thank you, Joe; we will all miss
All the best, my friend,
Working at Todd-AO
From Carl Williams
So sorry to hear of Joe Kelly passing. Joe's
unflappable demeanor resulted in the exhibition finesse of many of those
70mm roadshow attractions of the 50's and 60's. His technical ability came
with a friendly word and a smile. He will be missed.
From Richard Vetter
Joe Kelly was an enormous talented contributor
to film exhibition. Here is a transcript of the message I sent to his family
upon learning of his passing:
"Joe was my closest friend, mentor, supporter and contributor to our joint
projects during the many years we were associated with United Artists
Of all my friends, past and present, Joe was always at the top of my list.
He contributed more than I to our joint projects and I will forever be
grateful to him.
I remember vividly visiting your home on Long Island on several occasions.
Joe, Eleanor, three sons and the little sister. They are part of my
I'm having difficulty with the realization that he has left us. We were like
I hope you all receive my message of gratitude for your Father's steadfast
loyalty to me and our associates and our great times together in the US and
You should all be very proud of him, as I am.
I send you my sincere regards and trust that you will receive my memories of
your Father with rejoice that he was one of a kind and no one can replace
I will always miss him."
I loved Joe and the Kelly family.
From Joe's Family
It is with great sadness to inform you of Joe's passing. Joe passed on
Friday 9/18/09 after a long illness. We are holding services at Nolan
Funeral Home, 5 Laurel Ave, Northport, NY 11768-3166 631-754-2400
The Kelly Family, John, Tom, James and
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