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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 499 (473)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 499
Page 499

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 499

theatre owner is furnished complete data, plans, and other details on grading ramps, locating and constructing the screen tower and projection house, and other items germane to the patent.

The actual building construction of a drive-in theatre is limited to projection building, omces, concession stands, screen tower, and washrooms. Often the con struction of such building can be limited to but two structures.

Equipment costs of a drive-in theatre are generally less, as chairs, carpeting, drapes, furniture, air-conditioning systems, and the like, are obviously unnecessary in the drive-in theatre.

The projectors, generators or reetifiers,

lenses, and booth accessories cost the same, but arc lamps used in the drive-in theatre sometimes cost more. Drive-in sound equipment will cost double or treble, and the cost of installation is very much higher especially if individual car speakers, post, or the out-of-date speakers are used, because of extensive wiring requirements.

When individual type speakers are used, the drive-in theatre may be located closer to cities and towns. It has been found in many cases that theatres so equiped can be within one quarter mile of heavily populated residential districts, without danger of the sound system disturbing the inhabitants.


In the construction of the drive-in theatre, the main things to be considered are (1) the method to use in laying out the parking area, (2) the construction of the screen tower, and (3) the construe tion of the projection booth.

Type and Number of Ramps

As no drive-in theatre could be successful unless the occupants of each car have an unobstructed View of the entire area of the screen over the tops of the cars ahead, proper ramp construction is of prime importance.

The type and number of ramps, determined by the architect after the size of the site has been decided, will depend upon the radius of the ramps and the amount of land available. Obviousiy, the total capacity of automobiles that the theatre will accommodate depends on the size and number of ramps.

The theatre area should be laid out so that the screen faces a generally north or easterly direction, to eliminate the loss of operating time occasioned by lengthy twilights. If possible, the screen building should be located at least 120-150 feet from the highway and the scrcen itself be placed so that it is not visible from outside the theatre area.

The theatre area, is usually graded into a series of semi-circular ramps sloped upward toward the screen so that the front ends of the cars are elevated permitting all occupants to View the picture while sitting back in comfort.

Grading Parking Area and Ramps

Before grading the parking area, it is necessary to provide an adequate drainage system so that during long periods of rainy weather, the parking area will not become Hooded or muddy. Competant engineers should be consulted to deter l945-THEATRE



THE RAMPS OF THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE is, perhaps, the main idea covered by the patent. Here are the inventorts drawings of three types of ramps, At the top, a continuous, even incline; in the middle, 0 xhort, abrupt ramp which raises the front wheels of the parked car; and, at the bottom, a combination of the two ideas In these three ideas are embodied all the variations on the theme that might be employed in use of Hollingshead patent

mine the type of drainage system best suited for the proposed location.

The parking area must be graded and formed so that the occupants of each car will have an unobstructed view over the top of the cars parked directly ahead. This is accomplished by the construce tion of a series of semi-circular ramps, with the focal point at the center of the screen.

Two different types of ramps--commonly known as the t(drive-over" type and the fibulkheadiy typeehave been used with good success, but the drive-over ramp has been found the most practical. This ramp is designed so that a car may be driven up on the ramp until the front wheels of the car are located at the highest point of the ramp. With the car in this position, all of the occupants have an unobstructed view of the entire area of the screen. When leaving the ramp, the car drives straight ahead and over the ramp to the exit. Some of the other advantages of the drive-over ramp are (1) less expensive because abutment construction is not required, (2) less space is required between ramps, and (3) faster and more even traffic fiow from the parking area.

After the parking area has been graded and formed into ramps, the entire sur face should be coated with macadam or similar material. A method, which has been used with good results at several theatres, is to have a hot penetrating oil poured over the ground followed by a layer of No. 6 decomposed gravel, which is rolled into the surface and then soaked with a heavy gravity road-oil. The entire surface is then covered with a layer of fine crushed rock and rolled with a fourton roller into a hard compressed surface.

The use of flood lights around the periphery of the parking area has been found to be beneficial in reducing the amount of time required between shows for the entrance and exit of cars.

The lights are turned on immediately at the end of the show and they are left on until the movement of cars has been reduced sufficiently for the start of the second show. Care should be used when placing these lamps to make sure that they will not glare into the eyes of the drivers as they enter or leave the theatre.

One of the unusual features of a recent design is the parking bays which make it possible for patrons to park inside the theatre while awaiting a vacancy. This eliminates loss of patronage, often resulting from the theatre goers, turning away when they find the approaches to the theatre crowded with cars, and

SIGHT LINES are, naturally, most important in a drive-in theatre, where the patron must be able not only to see over the heads of those in the front seat of the cor he is in, but he must be able to see over the cor ahead. In these sketches, from the original potent, are seen how the ramps so raise the front of the car that all occupants of all cars are able to see all of the screen. The lower drawing shows the sight lines for two cars in greater detail.
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 499