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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 173 (162)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 173
Page 173

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 173

Installing New Seats

If new seating is to be put in, the doors will probably have to be renewed. 1t will make no difference whether they are wood or concrete. Old concrete floors will be found to have been drilled for new seat bolts on former occasions

and, consequently, to be' spalled and g

cracked. Very often they were improperly constructed in the first place.

In old theatres, too, it will be found that seat rows are spaced altogether too closely for comfort. Where new uphole stered seat backs are put in, additional space between rows is mandatory. This will result in the sacrificing of some seats. On the orchestra level, under no circumstances should seat rows be Set up that are less than 32 inches back to back, and in the mezzanine or balcony a less than 33 inches.

Many conscientious operators, finding that it pays, today insist on seats being installed at not less than 34 or 36 inches between rows, even though it means the loss of as many as 100 seats in the overall count. This, naturally, is a matter which should receive very serious consideration. Management must decide just how far it wants to go in providing the ultimate in comfort for patrons.

Especially where the theatre was originally designed with a full stage, it will be found advisable, and not too costly, to extend the seating area forward. Thus' by cutting back the stage and leaving only the required area for speakers, screen and small stage setting, a minimum requirement of 22 feet from the first row of seats to the back stage wall may be gained.

Ideal Sight Lines

However, should this change be made, it will probably be necessary to replace

most of the orchestra door in order to create ideal sight lines because of the new screen location. This situation, necessitating intelligent study, will in most instances result in the development of a reverse curve for the orchestra floor. The proper construction of such a door is outlined in ttBasic Factors of Design and Construction], THEATRE CATALOG, 1947-1948.

In old-time houses, steps at front exits are prevalent. During Hoor remodeling, with proper study, these dangerous exits may often be improved upon.

A new floor installation will oftentimes open up an opportunity to get rid of old heating pipes buried beneath the door. More than likely, they will be found to be in a state of deterioration, because they were laid down without protection. Should it be found necessary to replace the pipes in approximately the same position, a trench large enough for ready access should be dug to hold them. The trench might well be used, too, for the recirculation of air required by the air conditioning system.

Also, a new fioor installation provides a chance to lay conduit and wire for aisle lights to the location of the seat ends. Aisle lights should be put in with any new seating layout.


In designing a seating layout, space for standees should be provided if pos sible, behind the last row of seats. The space should be separated from the last row by an attractive, substantial standee rail. This might result in the sacrificing of some seats, but most theatremen have found that such an arrangement produces more ticket sales than if the space were occupied by permanent

GOOD ACOUSTIC RESULTS are obtained through the use of decorative fabrics applied over rock wool on the sidewalls. Upholstered seats are also helpful. Here illustrated is the auditorium of the Lane Theatre. Williamsburg, Kentucky. where Falls City Theatre Equipment Co.. installed 620 Ideal Seating Company "Chief" model chairs. The seats are upholstered in cohyde leatherette. and backs in put-terned striped Spanish orange tabric. Both combined with the underpadding prove sound absorbent.

seating. Especially 15 this so at theatres where the heaviest attendance occurs on weekends, with more customers during that period than can be immediately accommodated with seats.

Since the auditorium front or proscenium is the most conspicuous, this area is the next most important consideration of a remodeling undertaking. Many old-fashioned houses are setup with proscenium boxes, which, of course, are valueless in a movie house, except as dirt catchers. Their removal will give the designer a chance to change the entire appearance of the proscenium. This might be accomplished with plaster and decorative painting, and again by covering the area with drapes which tie in with the stage setting.

In this connection, without undue strain on the budget, it is always possible to enlarge or otherwise alter the proscenium opening, either by actual reconstruction or by the tasteful use of decorations and draperies.

Acoustical Treatment

Next we come to the side walls, which, in all probability, will have .to be treated acoustically. Should these walls require no structural changes, their plaster ornamentation being in a good state of repair, the smartest thing to do will be to develop an appealing scheme of painted decoration. The old colors might be discarded and some of the ornamentation painted out.

Typical auditorium walls are divided into panels by the masonry or steel supports for the roof, with some plaster or wood mouldings forming borders. These mouldings may be removed, and the entire surface between the pilasters and above the wainscot given an overall treatment of paint. If acoustical treatment is indicated, a fabric might be stretched over that.

At this time, there is much objection to the use of fabric on auditorium side walls for the reason that laws require it to be iiameproofed at least once a year. If this operation is not carried out carefully, the results are spotty. Especially is this true wherever the fabric is notvthoroughly cleaned before spraying.

Another legitimate objection to fabric panels is the fact that they are difficult to keep clean, an expense to keep up. To the present time, however, no really satisfactory substitute for fabric has been found, since to make the acoustical treatment effective such material must be porous and at the same time decorative. There are, of course, now on the market acoustical boards and tiles of metal, pierced to allow the penetration of sound waves. But their effect is hardly theatrical, nor is their installation particularly adaptable to the situation.

Acoustical plaster, and also other products which can be blown on the walls are available. and will take care of the acoustical problem satisfactorily, but do not take care, very satisfactorily, of the decorative or maintenance problems. The fact remains that. any acoustical treatment is conducive to dirt absorption and will become less and less effective as the pores fill with dirt.

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 173