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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 446 (420)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 446
Page 446

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 446

Service Companies in Efficient Management

Regular Attention by Those with Know-How Valuable for Maintaining Top Performance

It was a furniture salesman who unwittingly made a most profound observation on modern business. iiThe trouble," he said, tiwith business nowadays is that the customers know too much."

For better, or for worse, no one can deny that the public is waking up. Every day they read 'or hear about some new development, remarkable invention, brilliant discovery that will bring untold improvements and thrills to their humdrum existence. We have reached the stage now Where developments such as radar, atomic energy, television, and FM (frequency modulation) are not only accepted, but expected, as normal adjuncts to everyday living. With respect to FM and television, theatre managers, in particular, have sat up and taken notice. Many are asking themselves how these developments will affect the motion picture industry. Will television, in its final perfected stage, cut into motion pictures as a source of entertainment? Others, optimistically point out that the invention of the radio never even dented boxoflice receipts-that the motion picture industry could never be replaced as the ituniversal art form."

Many are inclined to shake disapproving fingers in both directions#at those who see the decline of "movies" in the entertainment field, and those who guarantee its unimpeachable hold on the


Motion pictures, as a source of entertainment, have no immediate contender in the field. It is the individual exhibitor who must meet the challenge of improvements%specially in the field of sound reproduction. With the many advances that have been made in recording color

and sound on film, this is not a problem'While it is true'

to be viewed lightly. that new reproducing equipment is designed to match the pace set by the studios in Hollywood, this offers no solution to those exhibitors who are not yet ready to install new systems.

The problem for the average exhibitor is how to obtain the finest possible results with the equipment he owns. This brings up the question of what results do exhibitors hope to achieve from the operation of their theatres. Profits, obviously. But profitable operation depends upon a number of factors-the programs he selects, its advertising and promotion, and the location and physical aspects of his house. An efficiently run theatre heeds all these cardinal factors. True showmen are as much concerned with the impressions that patrons take away with them as they are with the admissions they leave at the box office; the latter grows in direct relation to the former.

Let us not make the mistake of assum PROJECTOR SERVICE, in the i6-mm, no less than in the 35-mm. field, is an essential part of efficient operation. In the workroom of the Bell and Howell Company Service Craftsman trailer, the servicemen is looking over a proiector. As it should be in the commercial theatre, preventive service - that is, periodic inspection, cleaning, lubrication, replacement of worn parts - is very important in successful operation. (Bell and Howell photograph).


ing that the exhibitor who can purchase billings on second or third run only, who is located off the main thoroughfare, is automatically a loser. Efficient management can reap capacity profits from the least pretentious house. This implies that efficient management not only attracts patrons, but builds up "a steady repeat business. After all, When we consider what it is that draws patrons to a theatre, we must admit to three factors: the pictures, first of all; the comfort of the surroundings and the ease with which i the patrons can hear and see the picture.

While these factors can be listed in " order of importance, not one can be omitted from the line-up. A picture may be an outstanding box-office attraCtion, but/What happens to it inside the theatre may be another story. If there is an objectionable flicker, if patrons have to strain to understand the dialogue, if after a while the sound stops or the screen becomes dark for a minute or so, the value of the show is definitely diminished.

Obviously, when patrons have purchased their tickets, they have purchased more than the right to enter the theatre. They have purchased the right to see the show comfortably, undisturbed, and presented in such a manner that they are unaware of the mechanics of reproduction.

The operation of theatres is, therefore, quite different from the operation of any other business enterprise primarily because public taste in the matter of entertainment is an extremely variable factor. Thus the problems encountered by exhibitors and managers in presenting a completely satisfactory commodity, that is, entertainment acceptable to the public, are unique in their relationship to good management. Not only must the picture on the screen be satisfactory as to plot, photography, artistic value, and sound reproduction; but the theatre environment must be modern, comfortable and relaxing. Assuming these requirements have been satisfied, as in every business, it is extremely important that the theatre property and operating equipment be well maintained to assure continued satisfaction to the theatre patrons, and to protect the investment in the theatre property. Thus, it is a definite requirement that the theatre be cleaned regularly, that the seats be kept in good condition, that the theatre building be kept in repair, that the air-conditioning and heating equipment function properly, that the projection and sound equipment be maintained in good repair, and, in general, that the overall theatre property be completely maintained. Many maintenance functions are most readily carried out by personnel in the employ of the theatre, but there are

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 446