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1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 193 (181)

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition
1947-48 Theatre Catalog
1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 193
Page 193

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 193

of all of the zoning restrictions, highway controls, buildlng ordinances, and other types of legal obstructions which certain elements of the motion-picture industry are invoking to block, hamper, and stop the construction of these popular places of entertainment.

A most interesting point for exhibitors to remember is the established fact that drive-in theatres do not interfere with the gross of the indoors shows which may be operating in their immediate vicinity. Over a period of years the writer has been privileged to talk with many exhibitors who have indoor houses in close proximity to drive-in theatre operations and in not one instanceesand this is stated most emphaticallyein not one instance has the exhibitor with the bricks-and-mortar job been of the opinion that the drive-in reduced his gross. In a very few isolated cases the indoor exhibitor did state that his net was slightly reduced because of his having to pay more for product in order to keep on a par with the drive-in theatre.

This ntm-competitive angle is proven by the polls which are taken from time to time in the drive-in theatres in which poll the patron is asked how many indoor shows he sees in a year. Throughout all sections of the country the reply of an average of 70 percent of drive-in theatre patrons was ttNoneF

This percentage may sound a bit excessive until we recall the fact that the drive-in theatre patrons are divided into three general classes: (1) Parents with small children whom they do not desire to expose to the various diseases which are contracted in crowds, 80 percent; (2) cripples, invalids, and convalescents who cannot walk the distances required to attend an indoor show or who would have to be carried in, 15 percent; and ('3) transients, and it is only a small portion of these transients who will be considered as prospects for the indoor show, 5 percent.

The potential patrons of the drive-in theatre form an extremely large and practically virgin field of persons who should, and who must be catered to by the driveein theatres or they will become a total loss to the motion-picture industry. In this connection the writer predicts that within a couple of years, say by the end of 1950, there will be chains of prodricer-sponsored drive-in theatres throughout the country. They are being constructed at this time and, when the time is ripe, they will burst i'orth upon the drive-in theatre patrons in all of their glory.


(lontrary to the opinion of a large number of persons who are utterly unfamiliar with the subject of drive-in theatres. there are certain definite elements which must be combined into the completed operation it' a successful theatre is to result. These elements must be combined in such a manner that the original construction cost is kept to a minimum without effecting either the appearance of the show, the case of operating the theatre, or the cost of maintenance, which must be kept within bounds.

There are many uDo's and Donlts" which have been adopted through a long period of operating and experimenting with fundamentals, as well as innova 1947-48 THEATRE CATALOG

tions to the end that the experienced designer of drive-in theatres will save an owner many times the amount of his fee through the omission, or inclusion, of certain definite items of construction. An example of this fact can be frequently seen in the columns of the trade publications wherein some new drivein theatre owner publicizes the fact that he has included a dance floor in his plan. So what? The dance floor idea was first used in Ohio about 1941. This was a terrazzo job and was installed on the theory that the early patrons could dance to the music of a non-sync, until the show started. The result was not impressive. The floor was not used for dancing but became a roller-skating rink for the children in the neighborhood during the daylight hours thereby becoming a hazard instead of an asset to the theatre.

Many drive-in theatres mention in their opening announcements, in the trade papers, that they have included chairs or seats on the first ramp. This type of seating has been included in drive-in theatres for many years and has become almost a "mustii for good operations and is no more of an inno vation than is the projection equipment in the booth. These two instances are only the start of what an experienced designer of drive-in theatres knows about his jobsthere are dozens of other ideas, some good, some bad.


The drive-in theatre has just three fundamental items to sell: (1) Good sound, (2) good projection, and (3) good Vision. Naturally, the first two are mechanical items which may be purchased by the owner and are, therefore, no concern of the designer, but item No. 3 includes good ramps and a suitable screen surface. All other construction is, to a certain extent at least, for publicity purposes or to please the patrons' artistic sense.

Every designer prefers to build an elaborate theatre in preference to one of mediocre type but, when the facts are known, it requires far more experience to design the cheaper job that it does for the expensive one. This is true for the reason that on the more simple jobs every penny spent on construction must produce fundamentals, and every bolt and stick of timbers must be eliminated

FIGURE 2#Laycut "B" (shown in hall plot plans) is the kind 0! site which is most generally available for the medium-sized drive-in theatres and, as will be noted, the frontage is narrower than in Layout "A" (Figure 1). Of course. the schedule on a site o1 this type would require pages of details to show all the various land dimensions and car capacities, but data given offers a working idea.

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1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 193