Ever wondered what that big building is next to the Star Tower? Today, it’s used for storage and the Club Blood maze at Halloween Haunt. However, at one time it was known as the Lockheed IMAX Pictorium Theater, featuring a 65 foot tall by 89 foot wide screen. The Pictorium ran from 1978 until 2001, and remained closed until a one-weekend opening in 2004. It has since been closed for good.
The Pictorium opened in 1978 with the film “Man Belongs to Earth,” and at the time was the only IMAX theater in California. Dubbed as the “world’s largest motion picture experience,” the Pictorium underwent a $1.5 million renovation in 1992 that gave the theater the ability to screen 3D IMAX films, the first being “The Last Buffalo.” The last film to be shown in the theater (possibly) was “Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box” in 2001.
The actual audio recording that was used during the intro of the Pictorium’s 1994 showing of “Destiny in Space” has been posted online. The recording (which sounds like the same voice that welcomes you to the Vortex) describes the dimensions of the screen and other information about the theater.
The following pictures are from inside of Six Flags Great America's Pictorium, which is nearly identical to the Santa Clara version:
|The final days of the Pictorium. "Lockheed Presents: Pictorium" has since been painted over.|
However, 2001 was not the last year for the Pictorium. In 2004, Paramount hosted the third annual ParaCon Festival, and anime films were being screened in the Pictorium. According to an article, the IMAX equipment was gutted, and instead, the films were being shown through a video projection system set up in the back row of seats. After this event, the Pictorium was never open as a theater again.
The reasoning behind the Pictorium’s shuttering doesn’t go any farther than “It cost too much to run.” One other factor behind the closing could have been the superior IMAX dome theater that opened in neighboring San Jose’s Tech Museum of Innovation in 1998.
|Overview of Club Blood, taken high above in the Pictorium (image from www.morganrichardsonart.com).|
Permits were issued in 2008 to remove the seating and construct a steel platform inside the theater, although if the plans went through is unknown, because the seats can still be clearly seen.
possible that the Pictorium is also being used today to store props for Halloween Haunt. During
the season, props from Haunt mazes can be seen around the building. Also, this video could have
possibly been filmed inside the theater, judging by all the Haunt props and
echoes (from a high ceiling, perhaps?). The railing in the background looks
similar to the theater’s railings. EDIT: The video was filmed in the Showtime Theater, not the Pictorium.
|Cornstalkers' outhouses behind the Pictorium|
Other rumors say that the Pictorium is badly water damaged (possible), and that it is haunted (very unlikely).
Do you have any Pictorium memories or images that you would like to share? Feel free to post them in the comments!
Stay tuned for the next installment in the “Lost Attractions” series—Skyhawk!