Sunday, January 04, 2009
Early Tomorrowland Exhibits: Circarama
Initially presented by American Motors, Circarama was previewed before opening day with the film “A Tour of the West.” Circarama used eleven 16mm projectors mounted on the roof of an American Motors car (thus the red color for the letters "car" on the marquee in pic #3) to create a completely circular picture on a 360-degree screen. Guests stood in the center of the screen and were able to look out in every direction and observe views of the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Las Vegas, Balboa Bay, and the streets of Los Angeles. The patent for Circarama was filed on the one-year anniversary of Disneyland by both Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, and was granted four years later on June 28, 1960.
1960 brought a number of changes: in June, the film was now “America the Beautiful” and the sponsor became The Bell System. The film process changed, coinciding with the opening of the New Tomorrowland on June 25, 1967, this time using a 35mm print that was enlarged from the film of nine 16mm cameras instead of eleven. A few Bicentennial scenes were added in 1975 and ran until January 3, 1984. The film was changed again on July 4, 1984, this time to “Wonders of China” (shown in the morning) and “American Journeys” (shown in the afternoon & evening), lasting until July 7, 1996. The attraction closed down for good in 1997, with "America the Beautiful” (the 1975 version) returning for the final year (July 11, 1996–September 7, 1997).
Today, guests play Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters where this attraction used to be. The fact that the vehicles in this attraction can rotate is surely an homage to Circlevision!
Many thanks to Wescot2000 for helping correct my info by pointing me to Jason at Disneyland Nomenclature. See more vintage & current Tomorrowland photos at my regular website.