History, Legacy & Showmanship

The Most Beautiful Musical Love Story Ever?: Remembering “Camelot” on its 50th Anniversary

December 30, 2017 - 12:50 pm   |   by
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“It’s clear in retrospect that Camelot began the extinction process of old school Broadway musicals extravagantly transferred to the screen.” — Matthew Kennedy, author of Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the release of Camelot, the Oscar-winning cinematic interpretation of the King Arthur legend and the Lerner and Loewe stage musical which starred Richard Harris (Cromwell, Unforgiven) as King Arthur and Vanessa Redgrave (Blow-up, Julia) as Guenevere.

Camelot — directed by Joshua Logan (South Pacific, Paint Your Wagon) and which featured Franco Nero, David Hemmings and Lionel Jeffries in supporting roles — opened 50 years ago this past autumn. For the occasion, The Bits features an historical reference listing of the film’s major-market roadshow engagements and a Q&A with film historian Matthew Kennedy, who discusses the film’s virtues, shortcomings and legacy. [Read on here...]

A still from Camelot

THE ROADSHOW ENGAGEMENTS

What follows, for historical record and nostalgia, is a chronological reference listing of the North American first run “hard ticket” roadshow engagements of Camelot. These were special long-running, showcase presentations in major cities prior to the film being exhibited as a general release, and they featured advanced admission pricing, reserved seating, an overture/intermission/entr’acte/exit music, and an average of only ten scheduled screenings per week. Souvenir program booklet were sold, as well.

Out of the hundreds of films released during 1967, Camelot was among only eight that were given deluxe roadshow treatment.

Many of the roadshow presentations of Camelot were, as the promotional material proudly boasted, presented in “breathtaking 70mm” (which were blown up from anamorphic 35mm) and offered a superior projection and sound experience. All of the film’s roadshow presentations are believed to have been presented with stereophonic sound (4-track for 35mm and 6-track for 70mm).

Note that this is not a complete listing. Instead, the primary objective was to focus on the top markets in North America and also provide as sprinkling of secondary market entries to give a sense of the types of locales involved in the roadshow release. Also understand the engagements cited here represent only a fraction of the thousands of total bookings throughout the many cycles of distribution over the course of the film’s release. As well, this work does not include any general, international or re-release engagements. The duration of the cited engagements (measured in weeks) is provided for some of the entries to give the reader a sense of the movie’s popularity.

The film’s anniversary offers an opportunity to namedrop some famous and once-glorious cinemas, to provide some nostalgia for those who saw the film during this phase of its original release, and to reflect on how the film industry has evolved the manner in which event and prestige films are exhibited.

Camelot ticket

Opening date YYYY-MM-DD … City — Cinema (duration in weeks)

  • 1967-10-25 … New York, NY — Warner (34)
  • 1967-10-27 … Chicago, IL — Bismarck (47)
  • 1967-10-30 … Boston, MA — Music Hall (benefit premiere only)
  • Camelot newspaper ad1967-11-01 … Boston, MA — Saxon (32)
  • 1967-11-01 … Detroit, MI — United Artists (32)
  • 1967-11-01 … Los Angeles, CA — Cinerama Dome (51)
  • 1967-11-01 … San Francisco, CA — Coronet (39)
  • 1967-11-02 … Edmonton, AB — Varscona (18) [35mm]
  • 1967-11-02 … Montreal, QC — Westmount (15)
  • 1967-11-02 … Vancouver, BC — Stanley (18)
  • 1967-11-02 … Winnipeg, MB — Gaiety (18) [35mm]
  • 1967-11-07 … Cleveland, OH — Colony (20)
  • 1967-11-07 … Miami (Miami Beach), FL — Lincoln (33)
  • 1967-11-08 … Cincinnati, OH — Kenwood (25)
  • 1967-11-08 … Dallas, TX — Inwood (23)
  • 1967-11-08 … Honolulu, HI — Kuhio (21)
  • 1967-11-08 … Houston, TX — Alabama
  • 1967-11-08 … Minneapolis, MN — Academy (49)
  • 1967-11-08 … Oklahoma City, OK — Tower (24)
  • 1967-11-08 … Pittsburgh, PA — Squirrel Hill (24)
  • 1967-11-08 … Washington, DC — Warner (31)
  • 1967-11-09 … Philadelphia, PA — Stanley (33)
  • 1967-11-14 … Kansas City, MO — Capri (36)
  • 1967-11-14 … Seattle, WA — Music Box (25)
  • 1967-11-15 … Atlanta, GA — Martin Cinerama (28)
  • 1967-11-15 … Omaha, NE — Cooper 70 (21)
  • 1967-11-15 … Ottawa, ON — Nelson (14)
  • 1967-11-15 … Portland, OR — Paramount (29)
  • 1967-11-16 … New Orleans, LA — Saenger-Orleans (18)
  • 1967-11-22 … St. Petersburg, FL — Center (27)
  • 1967-11-22 … San Antonio, TX — Wonder (16)
  • 1967-12-20 … Albany, NY — Madison (12+)
  • 1967-12-20 … Baltimore, MD — New (18)
  • 1967-12-20 … Hartford (Wethersfield), CT — Cine Webb (18)
  • 1967-12-20 … Milwaukee, WI — Towne (31)
  • 1967-12-20 … Rochester, NY — Waring (19) [35mm]
  • 1967-12-20 … St. Louis (Richmond Heights), MO — Esquire (23)
  • 1967-12-20 … Syracuse, NY — Eckel (14)
  • 1967-12-20 … Toronto, ON — University (22)
  • 1967-12-21 … Buffalo, NY — Teck (15)
  • 1967-12-21 … Calgary, AB — Chinook (13)
  • 1967-12-21 … Indianapolis, IN — Circle (23)
  • 1967-12-21 … Phoenix (Scottsdale), AZ — Camelback Mall (23) [35mm]
  • 1967-12-21 … Providence, RI — Elmwood
  • 1967-12-21 … San Diego, CA — Cinerama (41)
  • 1967-12-21 … Tucson, AZ — El Dorado (13) [35mm]
  • 1967-12-22 … Charlotte, NC — Park Terrace
  • 1967-12-22 … Columbus, OH — Cinestage
  • 1967-12-22 … Des Moines, IA — Ingersoll (23) [35mm]
  • 1967-12-22 … Memphis, TN — Paramount (13)
  • 1967-12-22 … Portland, ME — Empire [35mm]
  • 1968-01-10 … Las Vegas, NV — Cinerama (9)
  • 1968-01-17 … Springfield (West Springfield), MA — Showcase 3 (15)
  • 1968-01-26 … Palm Beach (West Palm Beach), FL — Florida (7) [35mm]
  • 1968-01-31 … Louisville, KY — Showcase 2 (14) [35mm]
  • 1968-02-07 … Dayton (Trotwood), OH — Salem Mall (12+)
  • 1968-02-07 … Fresno, CA — Hardy [35mm]
  • 1968-02-07 … Newark (Upper Montclair), NJ — Bellevue (20)
  • 1968-02-07 … Norfolk, VA — Lee [35mm]
  • 1968-02-07 … Wichita, KS — Uptown (14)
  • 1968-02-14 … Denver, CO — Aladdin (40)
  • 1968-02-14 … Harrisburg, PA — Eric
  • 1968-02-14 … Richmond, VA — Willow Lawn (19)
  • 1968-02-14 … Salt Lake City, UT — Centre (40)
  • 1968-02-27 … Toledo, OH — Showcase 3 (16)
  • 1968-03-13 … El Paso, TX — Pershing (7) [35mm]
  • 1968-04-03 … Akron, OH — Village (15) [35mm]
  • 1968-04-03 … Asbury Park, NJ — St. James (12)
  • 1968-04-03 … Green Bay, WI — West (21) [35mm]
  • 1968-04-03 … Lawrence, MA — Showcase 2 (11)
  • 1968-04-03 … Madison, WI — Hilldale (18) [35mm]
  • 1968-04-03 … Oakland, CA — Grand Lake (16) [35mm]
  • 1968-04-10 … Binghamton, NY — Capri (11)
  • 1968-04-10 … Palm Springs, CA — Camelot (6)
  • 1968-04-11 … Lubbock, TX — Cinema West (7) [35mm]
  • 1968-04-12 … Cedar Rapids, IA — Times 70 (10)
  • 1968-04-12 … Dubuque, IA — Strand (11) [35mm]
  • 1968-04-17 … New Haven, CT — Whalley (23)
  • 1968-04-?? … Atlantic City, NJ — ?
  • 1968-05-28 … San Jose, CA — Century 23 (34)
  • 1968-05-31 … Orlando, FL — Beacham (10)
  • Camelot newspaper ad1968-06-07 … Evansville, IN — Ross (8) [35mm]
  • 1968-06-12 … Colorado Springs, CO — Cinema 70 (6)
  • 1968-06-12 … Greenville, SC — Astro (8)
  • 1968-06-12 … Raleigh, NC — Colony (10) [35mm]
  • 1968-06-12 … Shreveport, LA — Strand (6) [35mm]
  • 1968-06-13 … Nashville, TN — Green Hills (12) [35mm]
  • 1968-06-18 … Sacramento, CA — Century 22 (26)
  • 1968-06-19 … Albuquerque, NM — Lobo (12) [35mm]
  • 1968-06-19 … Austin, TX — Americana (8)
  • 1968-06-19 … Lynbrook, NY — Lynbrook
  • 1968-06-19 … Reading, PA — Shillington (12) [35mm]
  • 1968-06-26 … Burlington, VT — State (8) [35mm]
  • 1968-06-26 … Reno, NV — Century 21 (7)
  • 1968-06-27 … Greensboro, NC — Terrace (7)
  • 1968-06-27 … Youngstown, OH — Paramount (13)
  • 1968-06-28 … Columbia, SC — Richland Mall (7)
  • 1968-06-28 … Springfield, IL — Frisina (5) [35mm]
  • 1968-06-?? … Birmingham, AL — Ritz
  • 1968-07-03 … Monterey, CA — Cinema 70 (15)
  • 1968-07-03 … Pensacola, FL — Rex (5) [35mm]
  • 1968-07-03 … Winston-Salem, NC — Winston [35mm]
  • 1968-07-18 … Corpus Christi, TX — Deux Cine (6) [35mm]
  • 1968-07-19 … Jacksonville, FL — Center (6) [35mm]
  • 1968-08-07 … Durham, NC — Center
  • 1968-08-14 … Amarillo, TX — Esquire (6) [35mm]
  • 1968-08-14 … Montgomery, AL — Capri (6) [35mm]
  • 1968-08-21 … Spartanburg, SC — Palmetto (4) [35mm]
  • 1968-09-11 … Pleasant Hill, CA — Century 21 (9)
  • 1968-11-21 … Odessa, TX — Grandview (4) [35mm]

Camelot 70mm

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