For those of you wondering what has happened to the Los Angeles Cinerama
Dome Theatre, there is good news. According to press reports, Pacific
Theatres has given up its plan to gut the 1960s landmark's interior spaces
and remove the original curved Cinerama screen. Thus ends, according to the
New Times (24-30 Dec) "one of the unlikeliest L.A. preservation struggles
in recent memory."
"Michael R. Foreman, the company's chairman, spoke of being `moved by the
passion' of Dome aficionados." The reality of the situation was a bit
different. Apparently, the controversy generated so much bad press for
Pacific Theatres that they could not find retailers to rent space in their
planned expanded shopping mall (One response from a large book store chain
was supposedly laughter). The best the developers could do for a "theme"
restaurant in a converted Dome lobby was a fast food, near bankrupt chicken
In return for leaving the Cinerama Dome untouched, preservationists will now
support Pacific Theatre's plans for a smaller development at the rear of the
property, including film screens, a food court, retail shops, and a health
L.A. City Council and the Community Redevelopment Authority still also need
to approve funds for a $20 million parking facility.
A big thank you goes to Hollywood Heritage, the Los Angeles Conservancy, and
The Friends of Cinerama for saving a treasured part of our history. No
thanks to L.A. City Council, whose members sat on their hands through most
of the fight, while allowing developers to gut L.A.'s already pitifully weak
landmark protection laws.
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