Piccadilly Cinema Centre

700 Hay Street,
Perth, WA 6000

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Piccadilly Cinema Centre 700 Hay Street, Perth, WA - 1955 VistaVision Comes To Perth’s Piccadilly

Piccadilly Cinema Centre 700 Hay Street, Perth, WA

VistaVision Comes To Perth’s Piccadilly

Greg Lynch says – VistaVision Comes To Perth’s Piccadilly – Photo of Piccadilly interior, courtesy of Roy Mudge - During 1954 management installed new lenses, a large seamless Miracle Mirror screen, (to suit all existing ratios) and made major structural alterations in preparation for Paramount’s “White Christmas” which was to be presented in VistaVision (Motion Picture High Fidelity). Yes the Piccadilly was getting ready to give “The Ambassadors” located further up Hay Street, who were playing big screen CinemaScope a run for their money..

The proscenium was widened

The proscenium was widened, almost wall to wall. Roy Mudge (A legendary industry identity) who had a lifetime association with Perth cinema tells me that the two front exits got in the way and had to be dropped down level with the stage. This meant going down below floor level with a three stair step down, which required the installation of hand rails. Then it was discovered that when the curtains were fully opened they were gathering on the sides, and reducing the size of the screen, and thus it was decided to install drop down curtains. So there it was at great expense – a wall to wall screen with magnificent gold curtain drapes, along with new lenses and apertures. White Christmas in VistaVision debuted at The Piccadilly, 23rd April 1955.


During the season this writer was lucky enough to catch an intermediate session, and felt that the on screen results were most impressive. VistaVision was also installed at the sister venue “The Princess Theatre, Fremantle”. In my opinion these two locations were the only optimum installation of VistaVision ever made in Western Australia. I suspect that the VistaVision four sprocket, single frame compromise playing at the Piccadilly and The Princess was appreciated more by those within the industry, rather than the general picture going public who had no access or understanding of the original double frame horizontal format.

A large seamless screen

Make up your own mind, here is the 1954 publicity blurb from Paramount directed at Exhibitors – Quote “ VistaVision release prints will play in any theater anywhere in the world with an improvement in picture quality. Some improvement will be apparent even on the old “postage stamp” screens in theaters where not one cent has been spent to improve the presentation. Theaters that have large seamless screens and good projection equipment will gain full advantage of VistaVision without further change or expenditure.“ end quote.

During that same period I can recall extended seasons at the Piccadilly for Rock Hudson’s “Magnificent Obsession” and it’s sequel “All That Heaven Allows” also “The Glenn Miller Story'” all from Universal Pictures, and all were box office bonanzas for The Piccadilly – The Piccadilly VistaVision installation details courtesy of Roy Mudge –

Contributed by Greg Lynch -

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