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How Cinerama Got It's Name - The True Story!

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Peter Kline

Peter Kline


  • 2,409 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 09 1999

Posted October 22 2004 - 07:07 AM

I thought I'd post this letter written to www.in70mm.com earlier this month.

How Cinerama got the name

Written by:* Richard C. Babish
Date: 1. October 2004*

Dear friends,

Sorry that I cannot identify the truck for you,--it seems to be a much later model than existed at the time I left the company and lost intimate contact with their activities. All the trucks we used up to that point were compact, van type delivery models that could go anywhere,---with one possible exception.

In Europe, Bill Latady, one of our vice-presidents, organized a portable version of Cinerama by which he was able to set up quickly and move from place to place rapidly and not require a long run. He might have used something of the sort, but I don't believe ti would have survived all these years.

Marty Hart reminds me of something on which I can shed some light however. He mentions that "Cinerama" is an anagram of "American". I can assure you that it is purely accidental, however delightful!

After the war Fred Waller moved Vitarama, the company that he formed to produce the Gunnery Trainer, to Huntington Station on Long Island, New York, taking with him some of the people who worked on it. After getting my degree, I rejoined them there. After some time, when we had established a going business, Fred determined to resume the development of the wide screen process that had been his long time dream, and proceeded to assemble a small group of investors. In order to name the process, Fred called a meeting of all the employees and offered to award a prize of a case of champagne to the one who came up with the most appropriate name. The winner was Waldo McLaury, a designer-draftsman who came up with Cinerama. He explained that he used "Cine" as a prefix for motion pictures and "rama" for panorama, --no mention of "American". The occassion is particularly memorable in that we all shared in his award. He did not go home with a full case! Indeed, in all the years that intervened before I was invited to attend the 50th Anniversary Celebration at Bradford, England, I had never heard of the relationship! Thus I can assure everyone that the anagram relationship is indeed a pure accident, however appropriate!

Thanks for keeping me in the loop. It is much appreciated.

Dick Babish