Iconic 3D movie audience photo taken 60 years ago this week

LIFE 3 D 1952

NewImage Sixty years ago this week, JR Eyerman snapped the iconic photo above during the Hollywood premiere of Bwana Devil, the first full-length 3D movie. "A LION in your lap! A LOVER in your arms!" This is the caption that accompanied the photo in LIFE:

These megalopic creatures are the first paying audience for the latest cinematic novelty, Natural Vision. This process gets a three-dimensional effect by using two projectors with Polaroid filters and giving the spectators Polaroid spectacles to wear. The movie at the premiere, called Bwana Devil, did achieve some striking three-dimensional sequences. But members of the audience reported that the glasses were uncomfortable, the film itself — dealing with two scholarly looking lions who ate up quantities of humans in Africa — was dull, and it was generally agreed that the audience itself looked more startling than anything on the screen.

"LIFE at the Movies: When 3-D Was New"