Claude, WarnerPhonic Stereo utilized a full-coat 35mm magnetic track for the left, center and right speakers behind the screen and a mono optical track for the surround channel. The 35mm full-coat audio was on a separate roll that was interlocked with the two projectors that ran the left/right 3-D images, and the surround track was on the right print of the feature. The left print contained a mono optical composite track of the entire four channels and served as an emergency audio back-up in case the dubber went out of sync with the picture.
The tragedy of this stereo audio not surviving is the fact that it was an important element in the original presentation of the 3-D film. With fully directional sound and voices/effects that emanated from the sides and rear of the auditorium (during the fire in the wax museum, for instance) it helped to immerse the viewer in the action, adding an important element to the superb realism of the dimensional photography. At one point when Phylis Kirk discovers the body in wax, Vincent Price says from the back of the theater, "You shouldn't have done that, my dear." People in the audience were startled, to say the least.
As an example of the important role of sound in this presentation, the New York Paramount installed 25 surround speakers throughout the huge auditorium for the premiere.
From the picture above, it looks like the left and right speakers are to the sides of the screen, not behind it. Did some theatres have the left/right speakers behind the screen and others to the sides of the screen?
When you say "Vincent Price says from the back of the theater, "You shouldn't have done that, my dear." Would'nt that come from the surround channel which would be the speakers on the side walls and back wall of the auditorium? Or, could the surround channel be directed by someone to a specific group of speakers?
I haven't heard the new mix for CHARGE so I can't compare. The new WAX stereo mix utilized some existing dialogue, music and effect stems for the front channels.
So, if there are three stems for dialogue. music and effects, can't you mix them for something close to the original? Have the dialog come out of the speaker closest to the actor on the screen? Have the effect sound that you see on or off the screen come from where you see it or where it's supposed to be coming from?