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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 500 (474)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 500
Page 500

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 500

should have the beneficial effect of increasing attendance.


When the site of the drive-in theatre has been selected, the second important step is the location of the screen tower.

Among the points to be considered are (1) the position of the land in relation to highways to allow easy entrance and exit and good display for attraction boards; (2) the location of nearby homes; and (3) the necessity of facing the screen north or northeast away from the setting sun so that the show can start as early in the evening as possible.

The screen building is really a dualpurpose buildingeits side which faces the patrons serves as the motion picture screen, while the side facing the highway serves for advertising the theatre and its attractions.

In addition to housing the screen, it offers the exhibitor an excellent opportunity to exercise real imagination and Showmanship which favorably affect box ouice grosses.

In the past the screen tower has seldom been designed to secure the eye-catching and advertising benefits to which it naturally lends itself. Some idea of the streamlined beauty and ingenious displaymanship with which the architect will clothe the drive-in theatre of tomorrow may be gained by the illustrations in the section on Design in this volume.

This is no dream-theatre, but a practical design in which all the elements blend into an inviting Showplace which, by its physical appearance alone, builds patronage and gives the exhibitor a better than even chance of success.

Park-In Theatres, Inc., has now developed, for the use of its licensees, plans

and specifications for a pre-fabricated screen structure which will be attractive in appearance and economical in construction as compared with other types of screen towers. The plans call for a screen tower accommodating a 30x40foot picture. Plans for even larger-size screens are under way.

The screen building sometimes houses the theatre offices, box office, concession stands, and wash rooms, and, if a central speaker system is employed, it serves as a support for the loudspeaker equipment.

As the size screen most in vogue is 30 x 40 feet, obviously the screen building must be large in size and it must be strongly constructed to withstand all wind and weather conditions.

The screen building must be designed so that good sight lines exist between the screen and each car ramp.

The screen itself is best made of a smooth-grain plaster or plywood, painted with fiat white, rain- and weather-resisting paint.

Construction of the Screen Tower

In planning the construction of the screen tower, careful I consideration should be given to its location, the size screen required, and the space which will be needed for offices, employeesy locker and dressing rooms, storage, and rest rooms.

The location of the screen tower is generally deterined by considerations such as the lay of the land with regard to the highways and the location of nearby homes, but for optimum results, the screen should face in a general direction away from the setting sun, so as to obtain as much advantage as possible in advance starting time.

A shadow-box has proved helpful in

THE DRIVE-IN THEATRE OF TODAY shows many refinements over the theatres postulated in the original patent. Two maior developments are the precision widths of the several tiers of parking stalls and the installation of a service loop, serving not only for convenience in making deliveries to the theatre, but also for a "standing room only" area when there are no empty stalls. The ten ramps hold 535 cars. (Park-In Theatres, Inc., diagram.)

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many cases by preventing extraneous light from shining on the screen. In general, however, a shadow-box has little effect in shielding from the screen the moonlight, or the reflected sunlight which is present just before complete darkness sets in.

The location and construction of the screen tower must be such as to allow easy entrance from the highway, along one side of the screen tower to the parking area, and easy exit from the theatre, along the opposite side of the screen tower, to the highway.

Screen towers can be of a structural steel frame covered with magnesium or aluminum sheets. In one case, the front facing the highway was designed as an actual water-fall, illuminated from behind with colored light, producing an inviting effect which can hardly be ignored by passing motorists.

A service loop should be construced at the entrance to the theatre so that it will not be necessary for driVers to park cars on the highway while the occupants of the cars ahead purchase admission tickets, or when the theatre is filled to capacity, to wait until parking space is available in the theatres.

The most desirable location for the managers ofiice is at the end of the screen tower, adjacent to the main entrance. In this location, the manager is in close proximity to the box office where he can extend close supervision over his employes in the handling of cars during rush periods. This location also affords much better protection of the box-office receipts than if the managers office were at some distant location.

The box office and entrance and exit turnstiles can be of porcelain enamel on metal.

Storage space should be provided in the base of the screen tower so that all maintenance tools, in-car speakers, and machinery may be stored during the winter months when the theatre is not being operated. This storage space should be constructed with a good, solid floor, high enough above the ground level to eliminate any danger of water fiooding it.

The size of the screen must be determined from the total amount of light available from the projection equipment, and from the distance between the screen and the last row of parking ramps. Although no set rule has been established for determining the width of the drive-in theatre screen, it has been found that satisfactory results will be obtained if the width of the screen is equal to onetenth the distance from the screen to the last ramp. The minimum recommended screen width is 40 feet, and the maximum recommended is 52 feet. The screen must be high enough above the ground level so that the cars parked on the ramps directly in front of the projection booth will not be in the line of projection. Usually this distance is a minimum of 16 feet and a maximum of 26 feet.

The screen may be constructed of smooth-grain plaster 01' large, flat panels. Plywood and fiat Transit boards (manufactured by JohnseManville have been found satisfactory. The joints and seams between panels should be sealed so that they are not noticeable. The entire area of the screen should then be covered with an outside flat-white paint. Some

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 500