Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Hollywood Preview Old-Time Spectacle

Cleveland Press November 4, 1963

HOLLYWOOD -- Stanley Kramer's "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" opened here last night in a special preview for the stars of the film and some 250 newsmen from more than 20 countries.

It was an old-fashioned gala affair which supposedly went out of fashion in recent years during which television and foreign films took much of the fun and spectacle out of such things.

The opening of the Stanley Kramer Cinerama production -- which will be reviewed when it opens in Cleveland at the Palace Dec. 19 -- was also the occasion for opening of a new and newly designed Cinerama theater, the Pacific Cinerama, which construction crews barely finished in time for the event.

Since Producer-Director Kramer has been emphasizing for the last several days that this is the "new" Hollywood -- that "Hollywood is the entertainment capital of the world," it presumably was fitting that the affair was marked with kleig lights, ribbon-cutting, celebrities and crowds.

(A United Artists' press agent admitted privately that the kleig lights always remind him of the opening of supermarkets and gas stations in recent years, but they went ahead with the plans anyway.)

Followed by Ball

The preview was followed by a mad world ball at which Milton Berle, Ethel Merman Phil Silvers, Dick Shawn and Jonathan Winters -- all in the film -- entertained.

Single admission tickets for both affairs, both formal were reportedly worth $150 for the pair on the scalpers' market.

The film, which gets its formal world premiere here Thursday, is important in the over-all cinematic scheme of things because it is the first film to be projected in the new Cinerama single lens projector technique.

In less technical terms, that means that those two jiggling lines are gone, that the viewer sees a single image, not two that are often mismatched and never the same in color.

The theater, referred to as having a geodesic dome, looks like a giant mushroom from the outside. Inside, the image is improved from almost all seats and the projector is above the audience, not on the ground floor.

Hundreds to Come

It is reported to be the prototype for several hundred such structures to be built here and abroad in the next several years. The dome is made of precast concrete panels.

Among those present, in addition to many stars of the comedy film, was California Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, who personally handled the scissors at the ribbon-cutting.

Inside viewers caught glimpses of Dick Shawn and English comic Terry Thomas enjoying their own performances and sitting quietly through the antics of other comics, while Phil Silvers was serious throughout his own moments on the screen but seemed to enjoy immensely the work of his colleagues.