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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 588 (560)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 588
Page 588

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 588

Development of Color

The development of color on the large screen presents many difiicult problems. Color is now only just being achieved with a certain degree of satisfaction for presentation in the home on small screens suitable for an audience consisting of a handful of people. Its full exploitation for the large screen will entail much complicated development work which must naturally follow after the perfection of the large black and white screen. Thus, at this stage, no one would hazard a guess as to how and when large screen color will be available to the exhibitor.


Box-Office Requirements

The programs so far presented in the theatres have consisted mainly of actualities. Some of a sporting nature, where the outcome was unknown-such as the Derby from the race track at

Epsom Downs, the Oxford-Cambridge University boat-race, and some boxing matches which have been world championships-were greatly publicized. (Figures 14 and 15.) There have been also actualities of the news type-such as the Cenotaph ceremony with His Majesty the King (on this occasion an unexpected disturbance in the crowd created special interest), the visit of the French president to London and the Trooping of the Color. (Figure 13.) Then finally there have been variety items transmitted from a studio or another theatre. The response by the public was in the order of the events summarized above. The maximum response was for the sporting items, where, in their progress towards the final climax, the excitement in the theatre was raised to fever pitch.

From the indications given in these early trials, exhibitors feel that television presents an opportunity of revitalizing the theatre industry. While the technical quality is suflicient for the time being to attract audiences from a novelty point of View (there is no doubt

FIGURE l2.-Pictured here is a British Broadcasting Corporation mobile unit for the radio relay of television events in the London area. The equipment consists of a camera truck, radio transmitter truck, and a fire-escape aerial. Another method of relay is by coaxial cable, but this has proved to be very expensive and, so far as present equipment is concerned, sets a limit on the amount of detail carried. Interference is also a problem.

that the interest of the public in sporting items generally has increased considerably since the termination of the war), for sustained profit-making, the general technical quality must be greatly improved, and the steps to be taken have already been outlined above. The most important requirement in the forthcoming advancement of television to insure its commercial success will be to make certain that both technical development and program exploitation advance in step together. To the technician the scope of scientific advance is limitless, and in the same way the program builder must realize what an outstanding opportunity there will be of filling his theatres.

The real return on an outlay for securing exclusive rights on "live" events of the type described above will come when reproduction of such events is not limited to key theatres but extended to suburban and rural areas, and later throughout the provinces. No doubt the public will pay higher admission charges than normal to be able to see such events when they are actually happening.

Home Television Other Entertainment

For a form of entertainment to be successful, it must demonstrate advantages over other kinds of entertainment which appeal to the public. Many feel that home television will keep people at home, and that theatre box-oiiice grosses will suffer accordingly. They even go so far as to say that the cinema industry must also get into the home television field, so as to be able to infiuence home televiewers in the direction of getting them back into the cinema. However, this prophesied effect on box-office grosses was not generally found to be the case in the somewhat limited pre-war experience in Britain. The habit of figoing out," particularly among the classes of people that form the majority of cinema audiences, and in this I am referring to age classes rather than to income classes, is not easily changed. Provided that the cinema continues to present attractive entertainment it should not fear competition in the home. On the contrary, there are many people who feel that home television, with its limited screen size, .is lacking in reality, and that, in due course, when the novelty factor has evaporated, the family household will not make a regular performance of gathering around the home television set with their friends any more than they would now do so for broadcast sound programs only.

The British government television report, issued in 1945, expresses the view that television in the home and television for the cinema will be able to exist side by side in a manner which will prove to be mutually helpful rather than otherwise, and that ithome and cinema television are likely to have a stimulating effect on each other." The real answer is that, provided that television is a means of bringing "live" events or actualities into the cinema to support the existing ticannedii programs, it need have no fear of competition by home television.

As regards relationship with the legitimate theatre and music halls or variety,


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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 588