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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 175 (164)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 175
Page 175

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 175

Carpets Prescribed

The laying down of carpets in the aisles, cross aisles, and vomitories is an effective practice in that it will add greatly to the appeal of this section. At times when new carpeting is being installed in the lobby, foyers, or other prominent and well-lighted sections, it is often possible to salvage the old carpeting and relay it to the balcony. Here it may give several more years of service.

Aisle carpeting in the balcony is a definite hazard unless steps are designed with a cut back in the risers. Cutbacks or sloping risers not only give a wider tread but also eliminate the possibility that ladies might catch their high heels on vertical risers without nosings.

Incidentally, if not already provided for in the old construction, electric outlets should be installed to light at all times the rear section of the balcony. Very often this section is left without lighting during the running of the picture, which condition is not conducive to good policing.

Dated Lighting

Many old-fashioned theatres have enormous hanging lighting fixtures, which must be lowered by winches for relamping and cleaning. Sometimes these are of crystal, of a composition, or of ornamental iron.

Modern remodelers like to eliminate these huge ornaments in favor of down lights, large side-wall fixtures, or cove lighting (if the plan calls for a new ceiling). Further recommendations are given in fiBasic Factors of Design and Construction? THEATRE CATALOG, 1947-1948.

Booth Refltting

If the projection booth, and its equipment, have been neglected, a new layout is an imperative necessity. For the booth, a complete fireproof enclosure should be provided, in which is a toilet for the operators, a rewind room, and a room adjacent to this for the motor generators.

Minimum dimensions of the booth itself should be twelve-feet deep, fourteen-feet long and ten-feet high. If more than two projection machines are to be set up or spotlights, the length of the booth should be increased proportionately. Installed should be porthole shutters, which will close automatically in case of fire in the booth, and a new wiring system for projection and sound. On the walls and ceiling should be absorbing acoustical tile. Two exits from the booth, one on either side, should be arranged.

Keep the Stage?

To keep down maintenance and heating costs, it sometimes will be found worthwhile to tear down the upper part of the stage house, in the event that the theatre originally was provided with a full stage. If the structure is in good repair, with a gridiron which is useable, this procedure is not especially recommended. A future change of policy or conditions might require a full stage for the profitable operation of the theatre.

Should the stage floor he in bad shape,

it should be repaired, of course, or a new floor laid down. For the motion picture house a painted concrete door is adequate. Old wooden floors may be covered with a dark linoleum, or stained a dark color to prevent the reflection of projection beam light.

Radiators a Bother

If in the new scheme, air-conditioning, with indirect heating coils, is installed, the old cast-iron radiators along the side walls of the auditorium can be dispensed with. They may be kept immediately adjacent to exit doors for additional heating purposes. Where oldfashioned radiation is required, the large cast-iron radiators can be replaced by fin-type radiation enclosed in recessed convectors. This would be a marked improvement, not only in appearance but in efficiency.

Shoulder-High Wainscot

A wainscot, of hard-wearing material and about shoulder height, should be put in the walls of the auditorium. A good cement plaster, which can be painted easily, is probably the cheapest material for this purpose. Other materials, such as marble or wood, of course, are for this use very satisfactory and serviceable. In most cases, however, these would be considered an unnecessary expenditure.

Exits a Problem

In an old house the doors and frames of the emergency exit openings in most caSes will require replacement. They should be of either hollow metal or kalamein and should carry an underwriters ffCll label.

Although it is difficult to obtain a labeled, flush-type kalamein door, this type will be found to be much better than the panelled type, for the reason that the doors generally are exposed to severe weather conditions. Eventually water will seep behind the mouldings, especially at the bottom rail. If flushtype labelled doors are not available, then a fourteen-gauge sheet-metal panel should be applied to the outside surface of the doors.

Exit doors must be weather stripped all around. They should be provided with hardware for panic prevention. A flat steel astragal on one leaf, securely bolted through the door stile, will prevent to a large measure the forcing of the door. In some localities this is a common occurrence and a continual annoyance to the theatre manager. There, electrical alarm systems should be set up.

The side exit courts have to be put in a condition that will provide safe passe age in an emergency. Involved might be new' paving and new drainage. With the installation of a new auditorium Hoor, it might be possible to adjust the level of the exit court to that of the fioor, This would eliminate steps and steep ramps. Any such condition at least could be improved.

Walls and Roof

Before going in for interior rearrangements it is imperative that the outside walls and the roof be put in first-class order. Cracks in masonry have to be filled or caulked to make

them watertight. To prevent freezing, outside down-spouts, if any, should be changed to interior leaders.

The roofing should be made tight together with the flashing, and special attention given to the coping on the parapet walls. This last is to be done in order to prevent water from entering the top of the masonry walls. If at this vital point things are in a bad condition, new coping should be provided with copper through-the-wall dashing.


The heating plant of a theatre which is ready for a major remodeling job will usually require considerable overhauling to be put in condition for economical operation. If a neuf plant has to be installed, the final choice of type of heater will depend on a number of considerations, some of which are discussed in this section.

Automatic Control

If the boiler is in good mechanical condition, but is hand fired, it would be well to consider the installation of a mechanical firing unit, either a stoker, oil burner, or gas burner. Of the three, the gas burner is, of course, the most convenient but would be economical only in localities where natural gas of the proper B.T.U. rating is available at low rates. The choice of a stoker or oil burner will also be governed by the availability of the fuel and its cost. Whichever type of fuel may be decided upon, automatic controls, actuated by thermostats located in the theatre and also on the exterior should be installed. These will Vary the amount of fuel consumed with the variation of the human load inside the theatre and also will anticipate a change in the outside teme perature, thereby saving fuel and creating a more comfortable condition in the theatre.

Inspection. Repairs and Additions

If the old boiler is to be re-used it should be checked for cracked sections; if it is the cast iron sectional type, or if it is a steel tubular boiler, the tubes and shell should be inspected. Both types of boilers should be insulated with standard type of boiler covering, and if this is an old job the covering should be renewed and patched where necessary. An automatic high-low water cut off should be added to boilers not already equipped with this regulator. Steam or hot water supply lines, and also the return lines, should be checked for size, pitch, covering and possible low points in the runs which might cause stoppage of circulation and unpleasant noises.

Indirect Heating

The possibility of using indirect heating for the auditorium, replacing direct radiation with this type of system

should be investigated at the same time. Such replacement will often be less cost THEATRE CATALOG 1948-49
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 175