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Cinerama's 65th Anniversary Event at the Cooper in Casper Wy (USA)

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Dave Strohmaier & Randy Gitsch. All Casper photos and captions by: Tom H. March Date: 17.09.2017
The Cooper Theatre was the first of three Cinerama theaters built by the Cooper Foundation in the early 1960’s. The massive screens and latest sound technology were designed to exhibit films made in the 3-strip Cinerama process. Vintage image from the internet

The theatre in Casper, Wyoming that we visited, Sept. 7-10, 2017, is modelled after the Cooper Super Cinerama theatre in Denver and its co-owner, Randy Pryde, also calls his theatre the Cooper. He is one of those Cinerama aficionados and he built his own Cooper Theatre in his Cineplex. He selected details like carpeting, sound baffles, signage, stairway railings, lighting and curtains to exactly match the style of the Denver Cooper. The seats are all recliners and spaced very far apart to provide luxury seating today just as the Denver Cooper provided luxury seating in its day.

Randy Pryde is a big Cinerama memorabilia collector and historian and he controls all 23 screens in Casper. He has a wonderful collection displayed at his Cooper Theater about the Denver Cooper Cinerama and Cinerama in general. He had always wanted to do a Cinerama event at his Cooper Theater so his Cooper theater was a natural for an event. Otherwise the Cooper is more than a fantastic place to see first run movies.

Casper's Cooper Auditorium has hosted a special Cinerama Weekend over three days to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Cinerama in the heart of Wyoming's famed Cowboy Country.
More in 70mm reading:

Cinerama Remaster

Credits: Cinerama Remastered

in70mm.com's Cinerama page

Cinerama, Dave Strohmaier and the "We have all seen it as a kid" thing

Interview with producer Randy Gitsch

DP70s in Colorado (CO)

Internet link:



The Denver Cooper Super Cinerama, circa 1961. Visitors came from all over to see Denver's Cooper Theatre with its massive 105' X 38' screen and latest sound technology. Vintage image from the internet

The Cooper proved the perfect venue for the event. Wyoming Theater's owner Randy Pryde has built this special auditorium at his Studio City Mesa West theater complex as homage to the glorious Cooper Theater in neighboring Denver, Colorado (1961-1994). That theater is fondly recalled by film fans the world over for whom admiration can now be bestowed on this Casper house. Pryde has equipped his Cooper Theater with a lavish, 64 foot-wide, curved screen. All seats are luxurious 24" wide recliners in leather. Draperies and wall coverings are in a deep shade of rusty orange and accents in powder blue, matching the Denver Cooper's scheme. Carpeting even features a bubble design, reminiscent of the Denver house.

The event got underway on Sept. 8 with a showing of "Seven Wonders of the World" in digital Cinerama. Cinerama restorationists Dave Strohmaier and Randy Gitsch travelled to Casper to introduce the road show version and discuss its difficult restoration. Later that evening, the Cooper screened Stanley Kubrick's epic feature, "2001: A Space Odyssey". "2001" had been screened in Cinerama venues during its original theatrical release.

The next day, Gitsch and Strohmaier again hosted screenings of their documentary on the widescreen process, “Cinerama Adventure”, followed by the roadshow version of “This is Cinerama”. Encore screenings of all films followed that evening and throughout the weekend.

Over a span of three days, Casper's Cooper Auditorium at Studio City Mesa West screened the type of widescreen films for which it was designed. First time Cinerama fans were awed at the experience on the Cooper's lavish 64-foot wide, curved screen. But many veteran viewers were left smiling recalling this venues perfect recreation of the Denver Cooper's movie-going experience."

Cinerama Event Program

Friday, September 8:
Seven Wonders of the World in Cinerama – 7:00 PM
2001: A Space Odyssey in Cinerama - 10:00 PM

Saturday, September 9:
Cinerama Adventure + This is Cinerama Double Feature - 1:30 PM
Seven Wonders of the World in Cinerama - 7:00 PM
2001: A Space Odyssey in Cinerama - 10:00 PM

Sunday, September 10:
Cinerama Adventure + This is Cinerama Double Feature - 1:30 PM
2001: A Space Odyssey in Cinerama - 7:30 PM

Cinerama Event Picture Report

Inside the Casper Cooper. Randy Pryde, Dave and Randy in front of the respectable 60’ X 30’ curved screen. It’s not just the biggest in Casper, it’s the biggest in the entire state of Wyoming. The whole color palate in the Cooper auditorium is a throwback to the old Cooper theatre in Denver.
The Cinerama sign touting “Seven Wonders of the World” welcomes movie-goers along the entrance way to the Studio City Theatres. It also cycles through “This is Cinerama” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
Randy Gitsch, Randy Pryde and Dave in front of the Studio City Mesa Cineplex. The other 10 screens in the complex also feature reserved seating and luxury reclining leather seats.
The electronic poster wall, Dave and Randy Gitsch

The Casper Cooper entrance off the lobby. The Casper Cooper is modeled after the original Cooper Cinerama Theater.
In the Lobby. There is a touch-screen soda machine, a self-serve coffee machine and a variety of food options that go beyond the basic pop corn and soft drinks.

Randy Pryde Showing Dave and Randy his Cooper Theatre memorabilia in one of two display cases at the Casper Cooper. He tried to imitate the Denver theatre to every extent possible, including acquiring the naming rights. Obviously, his memories of the Denver Cooper have stuck with him.
Randy Gitsch & Dave Strohmaier checking out the recliners. Press a button on the side of the leather seat and it electronically reclines. Seating capacity has been cut in half to give each person their own personal space with some really deluxe seating and with seating arrangements designed to maximize the screen’s visual impact.
The obligatory TV interview. Randy Pryde is getting miked up in front of his Cinerama curtains.
The TV interview. It’s Dave’s turn.

Randy Pryde and his Christie Projector (floor mounted). It's a 4K digital projection system that fills the 64’ wide ARQ deeply curved screen.

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Updated 04-05-22