Villa Theatre
3092 Highland Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah


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•7/23/58 - John Kerr Fit Perfectly Role In 'South Pacific'
•7/23/58 - Premiere's Ticket Goal - $5,000 For Handicapped
•7/28/58 - New Film To Bring Reality To 'South Pacific' Premiere
•7/30/58 - Seats Still Available for 'South Pacific' Benefit
•7/31/58 - Salt Lake Theater Wins Circuit Courtesy Award
•7/31/58 - Villa Sells Out For Benefit Premiere Of 'South Pacific'
•8/1/58 - Huge Audience Thrills To Glamorous Premiere, Outstanding 'South Pacific'
•8/1/58 - Salt Lakers Throng To Gala Premiere
•9/1/58 - Revolutionary Change In Theaters Seen

•11/10/58 - Theaters Honor Couple For Admissions Mark
•6/2/59 - 'S. Pacific' Sets All-Time Record

Related Links

•TODD-AO & South Pacific (WideScreen Museum)
•Actor John Kerr (IMDB)


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 Home  »  History  »  South Pacific at the Villa

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 for tickets.

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 time.
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.

The 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