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Halftime Special Effects Are Less Than Effective

January 23, 1989|JOHN NELSON | Associated Press

NBC sports commentator Bob Costas introduced network television's first 3D program with the words: "This is the single proudest moment of my life."

One can only hope he was being facetious.

"Bebop Bamboozled," a magic show and dance extravaganza, was presented during halftime of the Super Bowl on Sunday, using new three-dimensional technology called Nuoptix.

It was a little like watching a football halftime show in the distorted reflection of an old mirror, and none of the effects were very dramatic on a small TV screen.

It was nothing like watching Vincent Price on the big screen when he helped create the 3D craze in the 1953 movie "House of Wax." And the special effects couldn't come close to the newer 3D Disney movie "Captain Eo," starring Michael Jackson and showing at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

In "Captain Eo," lasers fire through the audience and science-fiction robots spin past your head. In "Bebop Bamboozled," dancers threw a few frisbees off the TV screen, and all the long shots lost their perspective.

The most effective scenes in "Bebop Bamboozled" were the computer-generated sequences of revolving cards and spinning planets.

The 3D show was presented by Diet Coke, the official soft drink of the game, and it also included a Diet Coke commercial. The soft drink company provided the 3D glasses free at grocery stores and other places where it sold its product.

The official non-soft drink of the Super Bowl, Budweiser, also had its gimmick, Bud Bowl I, an animated football game between Bud and Bud Light bottles played at breaks during the game.

With schlocky puns like, "There's candemonium in the stands," "There's a brewhaha on the field," and "Kick their Buds," it was at least campy, at some times clever.

"There's their patented high-six," the announcer said after a Bud touchdown.

Too bad the Bud Bowl wasn't in 3D.

The Nuoptix process allowed the halftime show to be seen clearly by anyone who didn't have the special glasses, unlike older 3D movies that appear as a blur of colors and shapes without the eyewear.

Terry Beard, president of the Los Angeles-based Nuoptix Associates, said in a statement: "In the last few years, production companies have tried to perfect 3D for television. But problems of quality and double vision continued to prohibit viewers from seeing the screen clearly when special glasses weren't worn."

Beard said the 3D effect also can be seen on videotapes made from normal VCRs.

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