South Pacific at the Villa
On 31 July 1958, the Deseret
News sponsored the benefit premiere of South Pacific. The proceeds of the
premiere went to the Salt Lake County Association for Retarded Children. The showing
was completely sold out the day before the premiere. A "standing room only"
sign was hung in the box office after there was surge of last minute requests
A group of Hawaiian dancers entertained showgoers in the lobby
prior to curtain time. Orchids from Kauai, Hawaii, were flown to Salt Lake City
and given to every lady attending the premiere. Hollywood star Patricia Owens
was introduced in a brief program before the showing.
|70mm frames from the South Pacific. The
Villa was the only theater in the Intermountain area equipped for TODD-AO at the
Image courtesy of The American WideScreen Museum
South Pacific was the first movie shown in the Salt
Lake area in TODD-AO, one of the first implementations of 70mm. The Villa installed
$25,000 of new equipment for the performance. The TODD-AO screen was said to
be the largest indoor screen in the Mountain West.
Villa drew nationwide attention for its 10-month and 4-day run of South Pacific.
It gross, $412,000, not counting taxes or concessions, was one of the highest
in the country in proportion to the population.
Moviegoers came to the Villa
from all parts of Utah, as well as southern Idaho and eastern Nevada. There were
280,000 paid admissions for the 435 performances of South Pacific, about
50,000 more than the estimated population of Salt Lake City at the time.
|Deseret News, 15 May 1959|