Paramount Tried To Combine Movie Theaters With TV – And It Failed Spectacularly


Paramount, of course, wasn’t afraid of the introduction of television and was eager to embrace the new medium. Indeed, Paramount has overseen TV for 80 years, backing some of your favorite shows. So eager were they, that a Paramount electrical engineer named Paul Raibourn felt that combining TV and movies was going to be the next technological wave. TV, as Marshall McLuhan would note, is a medium best suited for live events and immediate consumption. TV took off because it offered the kinds of live musical programming and live sporting events that cinemas couldn’t deliver with equal immediacy. 

Raibourn, meanwhile, invented a way to broadcast live TV signals into theaters and project them on theater screens … long before the days of Fathom Events or miniature digital projectors. Raibourn was so keen on this idea, and so eager to sell it, that he was promoted to the then-new position of Paramount Television Productions. This embracing of TV eventually proved to be a wise move, as movie theaters would take a huge financial hit in the early 1950s thanks to the proliferation of televisions. A lot of studios competed with TV by offering new, premiere theatrical-only experiences. Enhanced sound came into vogue, while 2.39:1 Cinemascope aspect ratios burst onto the scene in 1953 with the release of “The Robe.” Other filmmakers experimented with 3-D. 

Recall that many of the movie theaters at the time (back when Paramount owned a great number of them) also served as live performance venues. One night, one could see Frank Sinatra live, and the next night, one could watch a movie. Paramount felt that they could broadcast live events instead of hosting live performances.

#Paramount #Combine #Movie #Theaters #Failed #Spectacularly