'Windjammer' Filled With Thrills, Tunes

Howard Pearson, Entertainment Editor
Deseret News, 2 September 1960, page 8A

If you have adventure in your heart and a song in your soul, you'll love "Windjammer."

The colorful, gay and enchanting film, first ever made in the process called Cinemiracle, opened Thursday night at the Villa Theater, which was re-equipped and refurbished to provide for the movie.

It's an experience as suburb as any in the motion picture world. Its producers boast that the audience is in the picture. That's true. Many in the premiere audience Thursday night said they were trying to get their land legs back a half hour after the attraction was over.

"Windjammer" tells the story of a 17,500-mile voyage of a group of Norwegian teenage boys aboard a sailing vessel. They sail the route of Columbus and then some during their nearly year-long journey.

What they see and what they do and the songs they sing make this as enchanting a trip as ever was taken by a group of boys - or by movie audiences.

This is more than a glorified travelogue, however. When the ship drops anchor at Madeira and the boys go ashore to look over the island, they take movie audiences with them. And when they ride the basket vehicles down the hilly roads of Madeira, it seems like something comparable to driving down Parleys Canyon from above the dame without brakes.

When you hear the native calypso songs at Trinidad, it's enough to set the feet of even a clodhopper to dancing. Hearing Pablo Cassals, noted cellist, play for the Windjammer boys, is an unforgettable experience. When the ship sails into New York Harbor and the screen is split into three parts with a kaleidoscope of events tumbling over each other in each segment, another highlight is born.

"AT GLAMOR-FILLED PREMIERE - Among those attending the premiere of
"AT GLAMOR-FILLED PREMIERE - Among those attending the premiere of 'Windjammer' Thursday night at the Villa were: Samuel P. Norton, president of Cinemiracle; singer Lauritz Melchior; M. Warshaw, president of Grand Central Markets; Miss Sweden; Abraham Becker, assistant director of CARE; Miss Norway; actor Tony Randall; Miss Denmark and H. L. Cox, Cinemiracle sales executive."
Deseret News, page A8, 2 September 1960

But there's even more to come after that. There's a rendezvous with an American Navy task force and a ride on a hook and ladder fire truck over Philadelphia streets. During the former, the Windjammer boys take turns aboard different U.S. vessels. A boy who is taken on a submarine goes skin-diving from the sub, and the Windjammer camera, after submerging with the sub, takes the audience out of the vessel and to the bottom with the boys.

The musical background is gay and lighthearted like the life of a boy on a long vacation, spiced with a dance or two.

The Cinemiracle process, which spreads the picture out on the Villa's new 100-foot curved screen, isn't perfect yet. It still shows two center lines slightly at time, distinctly at others, thus dividing the picture into three segments. However, the music, the photo formulation of the film and the scenery are enough to make audiences forget this minor fault.

The premiere crowd of "Windjammer" paid special prices, with funds, which were announced as "considerable," going to CARE for relief work in Chile. Actor Tony Randall, who was in Salt Lake for the opening of his own film, "Let's Make Love," emceed a program prior to "Windjammer."

Among those he introduced where Abraham Becker, assistant director of CARE, from New York; Samuel P. Norton, president of Cinemiracle, from New York and Los Angeles; M. Warshaw, president of Grand Central Markets, who guaranteed the financial success of the benefit performance by donating twice the price of each ticket to aid CARE's program; Lauritz Melchior, former Metropolitan Opera singer, and Miss Norway, Miss Sweden and Miss Denmark, who were visiting Salt Lake.

"Windjammer" now begins its regular roadshow engagement with 10 performances each week.