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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 597 (569)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 597
Page 597

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 597

American Theatremen Consider Television

Potential Theatre Use and Value of Video Are Considered in a Survey of

Despite the volumes that have been written on television in relation to the American motion-picture theatres, the whatis what so far as United States theatre owners is concerned is still a matter for conjecture. Accordingly, an effort was made to determine precisely what shape that conjecture was taking, and circuit executives representing 5,472 of the United States, 16,891 were asked their opinion in the potentialities of theatre television.

Because of the probable costs involved, it was felt that theatre television would come first to the circuit theatres, despite the fact that, in other developments in the physical theatre, it has been the independent operator who took the lead. Replies were received from executives representing 4,448 circuit theatres.

Inasmuch as the original inquiry, and the replies, too, were by so many considered uoff the record," what follows is not tied up with any particular individual, but rather represents a consensus of the replies received.

In the first place, it should be pointed out that the term tttheatre television" as here used is strictly limited to mean a television presentation transmitted for use in theatres only and not available, off the air, to home viewing. It seems that some executives rightly question the desirability of using in the theatre what the home set owner may receive in his own parlor. There are, of course, certain events of national interest-such as a presidential fireside chat or an address of, for example, the Prime Minister-4 which would be common property and available to all, such to be used as some theatres did the radio addresses of the late President Roosevelt.


Theatre television means potential boxoffice in the exclusive coverage of major sports events and occasions of national importance, because of the fact that the theatre industry is in a position to outbid any commercial sponsor.

The potential drawing power of theatre television is, of course, dependent in a large measure on its ability to produce visual entertainment up to a quality and technique of present-day motion-picture production and personalities, except for spot-news value.

The television of events from a theatre standpoint would be about the only real important thing. There is little reason why it should make any difference to a theatre audience whether that in which they are interested comes into the theatre through television or through a motionpicture projector-they are only interested in what they see, not in the method by which they see it.

Thus, the potential drawing power in a theatre depends on the ability to give a better performance, or to create a greater medium of assembly than others


on the stage or screen. It is merely a matter of entertainment material, and if televised programs ever reach the entertainment standard of present motionpicture technique, then it would make little difference which method is used.

Undoubtedly, television as a part of the theatre program would attract much interest while it is new and novel. Being able to present to the theatre audience events of unusual interest#at a time when it could be announced and exploited in advance#would draw an unquestionably substantial attendance.

With regard to television versus motion


pictures, the former will not be an opposition to the latter, but, rather, an adjunct. In the long run, television will help the motion-picture business to a much better job than it is doing at present. Indeed, it may even react the same way that the talking picture did years ago.

Nor will television in the home materially detract from theatre attendance; rather it may actually develop stars and attraction which will be beneficial to the theatre attendance as did radio when it developed stars who built followings from their radio shows and, in turn, became drawing cards for theatres.

EVEN AS CROWDS HAVE ALREADY JAMMED the Monseigneur News Theatre in London, so the American exhibitor, especially in the larger centers, looks for similar crowds when television shall have become a standard box-office

attraction. As has been found from experience in Engl

and, so also the U. S. theatre operators anticipate that

in the future televised sports events will be a muior attraction. (Scophony Corporation of America photograph.)
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 597