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A year-by-year, film-by-film history of 70-millimeter wide gauge exhibition in Orange County, California


 Compiled by Michael Coate and William Kallay



70mm Equipped Theatre Pictures



Theatre Specifications
Chains: National General / Mann
Opened: April 10, 1968
Remodeled: Auditorium split into three separate auditoriums; Re-opened in late-1974
Closed: Last show was on June 5, 1979 / Re-opened occasionally during the 1980s for special screenings / Closed permanently by 1986
Seats: 1180 (before split)


The last major luxury theatre built in Anaheim was National General’s Cinemaland Theatre. Sitting across from Disneyland on Harbor Blvd., Cinemaland opened on April 10, 1968 with “Far From The Madding Crowd.”  Simple in design, the boxy exterior hid a somewhat ornate lobby and large auditorium with 1180 seats.  In fact, the theatre was considered so luxurious that Mann Theatres, who eventually took it over, used it as their flagship theatre in Orange County.


The lobby of the Cinemaland had a snack bar that was built in the middle of the room behind the box office.  A large chandelier hung from the middle of the ceiling.  Moviegoers would then head to the auditorium through one of four doors.


The women’s restroom harkened back to the days of old-fashioned “powder rooms” of theatres past.  Ladies could lounge in a rest area, or “powder” their noses in front of large mirrors, ‘60s-style. 


According to professional projectionist and movie theatre historian, Bill Gabel, the theatre was equipped with a “Norelco 70/35mm projection package and 6-Track Stereo Sound system.” 


Cinemaland held a few 70mm presentations in its fairly brief life, including a reserved-seat engagement of “Tora! Tora! Tora!”  But by late-1974, the theatre’s once magnificent auditorium was tri-plexed.  


The manager of the Cinemaland, Harold Birslin, said in a newspaper article (source unspecified through the clipping), “We opened with ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ and for six years, down through the world premiere of ‘Herbie [Rides Again]’ and our closing attraction, we brought the best movies available to Orange County.  Now we will be able to present three times as many, giving our patrons the convenience of much greater choice.”  The theatre closed on September 10, 1974 for renovation.


The result of the theatre split was perhaps one of the worst “hack” jobs ever seen in the theatre business.  This once beautiful, modern theatre was turned into a haphazard mess.  The front rows of the auditorium were turned into a long theatre running horizontal to the original layout.  What was left of the original auditorium was split into two separate screens.  The auditorium on the left side, closest to the lobby, was the larger of the two.  It still ran 70mm through 1976.


The theater didn’t survive for much longer.  By the early ‘80s, the theatre was closed, except for brief times when it was re-opened for an animation film festival, and then a foreign film festival held sometime in the late-‘80s.  The theatre sat dormant for years, though there were plans to turn it into a television studio tourist attraction.  Those plans fell through and the theatre was razed in early 1998 for a parking lot and bus stop.




Fox Cinemaland for hire ad (1968)


Grand opening of NGC's Fox Cinemaland, Anaheim (1968)


Cinemaland opening day ad for "Far From The Madding Crowd"


Cinemaland in 1974 (right) — Note Disneyland (left)


Ad promoting upcoming theatre split (1974) [Enlarge]


Cinemaland stairs to lobby (c. 1992)


Cinemaland lobby from outside


Cinemaland snackbar


Cinemaland lobby to theatres


Cinemaland's screen wall


Cinemaland sign near Interstate 5 Freeway


Cinemaland sign on Harbor Blvd.


Cinemaland from above


Cinemaland from above (rest of theatre)


Destruction of most of the exterior has begun (January 1998)


Cinemaland destruction, as photographed from Harbor Blvd.


Stairs to theatre entrance


Looking from former lobby


Looking from former lobby toward Harbor Blvd.


Cinemaland hallway leading to theatre # 3


Facing what was once theatre #2 (split from the original single auditorium) — A section of theatre #3 is featured (left)


Theatre #3

[1] Anaheim Bulletin / NGC
[2] Anaheim Public Library
[3] William Kallay



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