It’s easy to forget in the age of Netflix and video-on-demand that going to the movies used to be an event. Now it can pretty much be replicated at home with a nice enough TV, but decades ago, the theatre experience could be something truly unique, more like what you’d see at a Disney World attraction today.
That was especially true in the 1960s, when films were often far more than films: they were interactive spectacles. Directors made use of crazy publicity stunts, experimented with technology like Smell-O-Vision, and even hired actors to run around the theatre in dumb costumes. Sure, why not? It was the decade of glorious shlock, when what was on screen barely even mattered. It was all about getting the audience themselves to be a part of the movie and giving them something fun that they couldn't get anywhere else.
Now when you go to a giant Cineplex, pay for overpriced popcorn, and you're surrounded by disengaged people talking, kicking your seat and using their phones, it's hard not to wish you'd just stayed home and watched Netflix. Even with the revival of 3D and the introduction of IMAX, this kind of gimmickry doesn't seem to impress as much anymore, and so as a result, there's just very little personality left in film venues.
Going back as early as 1958 to when that personality was still there, some movies used crazy gimmicks to draw in audiences and make the cinema feel like a magical place.