> > > >

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 242 (231)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 242
Page 242

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 242

Recommended Practices for Seasonal Closing

Two Drive-In Showmen Survey the Methods and the Materials Found Practical From Actual Experience

When it is remembered that 611 of the 748 open and operating Drive-In Theatres of the U.S.A., as listed elsewhere in this volume, are keyed to various length seasons, the need for reliable knowledge about how best to protect the physical property and equipment is a real one. As a result, the editors invited two experienced authorities to contribute their views and the following dual survey,often divergent in method,gis the result.

The growing Drive-In Theatre Industry has presented a real test to the self reliance and creative ability of the nationis showmen. Seasoned theatremen, when faced with problems not found in normal roofed-theatre operation, lent on their background knowledge and their night-to-night experiences at the gate or on the parking ramp, and came up with policies that closely resembled seasoned theatre methods. Relative newcomers, of whom there were many, were not hampered by theatre traditions and possibly in their trial-and-error manner contributed even more basically new ideas. The net result is that many of the drive-in problems have now been reduced to a Set of accepted practices that promise to continue as basic routine.

Much Needed Knowledge

While this volume is formalizing and recording for the first time many of the new, as well as the tested and proved, ideas in cash control, lighting, confection vending, insect control, sound distribution, etc., the drive-in showman still has many needs for self-education.

Except as a home hobby, the showman never needed to know the rudiments of horticultural planting and plant pest control, or the care of lawns and fencing. Except for his own children, he never needed to acquaint himself with the placement and maintenance of playground equipment such as slides, swings, and merry-go-rounds. And among a myriad of other subjects, he never needed to learn more about closing a theatre than turning the heat to minimum, switching off all lights, and turning a key in the lock.

But the drive-in theatre presented all of these problems. And it is with this last subject that we are now interested.

Advice of Experts

As experienced expert Number 1, the editors chose JACK VAN LLOYD, the

Director of Publicity for Park-In Theatres, Inc., of Camden, N. J., who is in


charge of theatre operations for their 3 theatres in the Philadelphia distribution territory. Mr. Van Lloyd is the editor of Park-in Pointers which is a monthly service bulletin directed to Park-iii Theatre licenses as one offsimany designs and operational services, and as a result has studied and written much helpful data on operational techniques. He also experiences the somewhat more extreme winter conditions of the northeast where snow and sleet storms plus extreme lows in temperature carry their particular problems.

As experienced expert Number 2, an especially capable drive-in showman was chosen. ALBERT BERNSTEIN, while young in years, has been actively specializing in drive-in theatre operation for the Fabian interests for more than two of them; and in this young drive-in field this qualifies him as a veteran. Schooled in drive-ins at the Mohawk near Albany, N. Y., he was later assigned the task of opening Fabianis new

Lincoln on the outskirts of Philadelphia. So successful were his efforts that three months later he was invited to help out on the opening of the same companyls Staten Island addition. Originally from Richmond, when Mr. Bernstein learned that his company planned a collaborated effort with Neighborhood Theatre circuit at Bellwood, Virginia, he enthusiastically returned home to supervise its opening in May, 1948, and establish its operating methods. Shortly after this, he did the same job at Fabianls new Norfolk near Norfolk, Virginia-eand then settled down as resident' manager of the Bellwood.

Experiencing the slightly milder winter conditions around tidewater Virginia, Mr. Bernsteinis views must also be colored by his experiences in his other efforts farther north.

Feeling confident that these two are thoughtful s-howmen who have the qualifications of authority, their views are

. herewith set forth with pride.


The frost is on the Pumpkin,

And the foddetis in the shock;

Time to close your Drive'ln

And turn the key in the lock.

However, there is a great deal more

to closing than indicated in the above jingle, and with this in mind, I have sought advice and information from a number of the "old hands" in the business who have had several years, experience in closing drive-in theatres. A compilation of their experiences and ideas is listed herein.

The Boo'l'h

Your most delicate equipment is, of course, located in your projection booth and the greatest damage will occur there if it is not properly protected. In locations subject to extremely cold weather, a thermostatically controlled electric heater can be installed in the booth and set to maintain a temperature of approximately 50 degrees. Another method of preventing moisture in your machines is to run regular extension cords with 60 watt bulbs in the projection lamps and others in the sound heads. Next, you should remove the projector heads, lenses and condensers and place them in safe, dry storage. At the same time, all mechanisms should be packed with vaseline or another suitable lubricant. It is advisable to put a coat of vaseline over the entire exterior of the machines as well. After the above has been done, the entire remaining equipment should be covered with blankets or tarpaulins.

Unless you care to go to the expense of removing the amplifiers, there is not

much to be done with them. They should be well covered and a light bulb can be placed inside the covering to combat moisture.

A bulletin received from the Hertner Electric Co. on the care of the generator is so comprehensive, I am taking the liberty of reprinting same below:

ifFortunately for the drive-in management who uses a Transverter motor generator for his projection arc power supply, the problem of what to do to protect this item of equipment is fairly simple. Unless there is the danger of a fiash fiood which would result in immersion of the motor generator, the following are the only protective steps necessary:

1) Open main line switch ahead of


2) Wipe off all grease or oil that may have worked out of the bearing, due to over-greasing or oiling. Blow out all dust and lint.

3) Raise the generator brushes from the commutator by lifting them off just far enough so that the spring tensioned fingers, which in normal operation exert pressure on the top of the brushes, drop behind the brushes to hold them off the commutator, but still in the brush box.

4) Cover the motor generator with a rather close fitting, heavy tarpaulin. Either weight down the bottom of the tarpaulin, or tie it snugly to avoid the danger of rodents getting into the electrical windings.

ftIf these steps are followed, the Transverter will come through the winter season in good shape. The tarpaulin
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 242