1550 South King Street,
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Previously operated by: Consolidated Theatres
Architects: Louis Davis
Previous Names: New Pawaa Theatre
News About This Theater
- Apr 1, 2013 — "2001: A Space Odyssey" 45th Anniversary – The Cinerama Engagements
- Jan 16, 2013 — REMEMBERING CINERAMA (Part 56: Honolulu)
- May 23, 2012 — Celebrating the Original STAR WARS on its 35th Anniversary
- May 21, 2010 — Happy 30th, "Empire"
- Aug 21, 2009 — "Alien" 30th Anniversary
Situated just outside the Waikiki area, this theatre was Honolulu’s oldest operating movie house and one of its few remaining single screen palaces.
The Cinerama theatre was actually constructed in 1928 and opened as the New Pawaa Theatre on 5th January 1929 with William Haines in “Telling the World”. It was designed with a beautifully Atmospheric Tropical-style interior. The theatre was overhauled in 1962 and renamed the Cinerama Theatre on its reopening December 11, 1962. In April 1968 “2001, A Space Odyssy” opened here.
Through the 1990’s, the Cinerama continued to be a haven for classic and second run films. However, with profitability hard to come by, the theatre was closed in 1999, bringing an end to a grand chapter in Hawaii’s cinematic history.
The former Hawaii Cinerama, the theatre that delighted millions became an auto parts store. By 2022 the building was vacant.
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Recent comments (view all 106 comments)
It all began back in 1981 when John Allen recommended and arranged for us to test Klipsch speakers in our theatres; we installed the first one in the new screening room at Consolidates home office. Before I left the company plans were being made to begin installing the speakers in all the theatres. John also designed a magnificent system for the Waikiki #3 theater using Klipsh TMCM speakers. A new 70mm system was installed under the brilliant direction of Cosolidated’s Wesley Inouye who did all the wiring himself. Even the 35mm optical mono system was amazing so great someone said it sounded better than a 70mm sound system in most theaters. To which Allen quipped “wait till you hear the mag 70”
So the Cinerama was equipped with HPS-4000 for 10 years before it was closed in 99.
Such a shame, first it was the Cinerama, then the Waikiki theatres, and finally the morons at consolidated decided to remove the HPS-4000 from the newly built Ward theatre. Apparently they fell for the marketing scam of these fake Imax systems.
Oh how I long for the old days.
It was all very heartbreaking to see all those magnificent theatres closed the worst being the destruction of the Royal and Waikiki #3 We had so many great plans in the early 80s to upgrade and improve all of those theatres with new sound and projection but then all of a sudden it was all over when the new administration came in and shut it all down. I had to feel especially bad for Wesley Inouye who put his heart and soul into the new #3 only to see it all torn down. All gone now, Cinerama, Waikiki 1-2-3, Kuhio and Royal, all that remains are a bunch of little boxes they call theatres but are nothing more than screening rooms.
The Pawaa Theater was almost like a home to us in the late 50’s and early 60’s. My grandfather, George E. Lake III, was the manager of the theater and conducted Saturday morning “kiddies programs” that included him performing magic tricks (he was also a performing magician), kiddie games while he played music (musician as well) and birthday celebrations before showing a Mickey Mouse or other kiddie show. Needless to say, we were there almost every Saturday when we weren’t playing sports. I miss those days…next to the theater was a small seed store operated by a nice old Chinese man. He offered seeds and preserves in big jars as well as 5 cent green river drinks! My grandfather later moved to the Princess Theater and Hawaii Theaters in downtown Honolulu. Those were the days!
This opened as Pawaa on January 5th 1929. Grand opening ad with pictures in the photo section as well as:
Found on Newspapers.com powered by Newspapers.com
This reopened as the Cinerama theatre on December 11th, 1962. Grand opening ad in the photo section.
New Showcase Presentations in Honolulu article includes mention of the numerous Cinerama and 70mm presentations here and at other Honolulu cinemas.
Great memories of when I was stationed on Oahu from late 1983 to early 1987. This place was very “old school” cool to me, and I remember shopping for music and books at Froggies, across the street, almost every time we saw a film here. So sad that it, like so many other Honolulu theaters, is gone.
Here’s a new 4-page 50th anniversary FIDDLER ON THE ROOF retrospective featuring a roadshow playdate chronology and historian Q&A. The Cinerama’s lengthy run is mentioned in the piece.
Is now vacant, the auto parts store has moved on.