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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 265 (254)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 265
Page 265

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 265

out to foster clear vision and, as a result, the occupant of each car secures a view of the entire screen regardless of the position of the automobile in the theatre. And by dividing the theatre into two 40 degree sectors from the center line of the theatre, engineers have eliminated almost entirely the corner parking spaces with their acute viewing angles.

Special attention was also devoted to determining what screen size would provide the best picture reproduction. In the first place, picture size and throw were based upon what is believed to be the most effective focal length projection iteye" for outdoor theatres#the 4.25 E. F. Lens. Another factor determining ultimate screen size was the mechanical efficiency of the projection light-the Suprex type High Intensity Arc Lamp. The third determinant in the quest for optimum vision was the undeviating size of the drive-in area itself.

On the basis of these three factors and especially their close interdependence, the engineering staff finally arrived at the conclusion that a picture 50 feet in width would best serve the visual needs of Danville audiences. Any larger size screen would merely have produced a picture of relatively poor illumination in which good definition was also lacking. On the other hand, any smaller screen would have given the occupants of the rear ramps an uneasy feeling of seeing the show through the

wrong end of a telescope since the last ramp, for example, is about 570 feet from the screen, measuring along the center line.

Sometimes even a perfect optical system is nullified by the distraction of headlights from cars traveling on the adjacent highway. At the Danville location this possibility was recognized as a potential threat to satisfactory show enjoyment and was easily but entirely eliminated by the placement of fencing to prevent the light from either passing or incoming automobiles from shining on the screen or into the parked customers, cars.

Customer satisfaction plays a very ims portant role in all facets of the design. For example, the walk-way from the rear of the theatre area to the projection and concession building is a special feature not included in a number of drivein theatre designs. Patrons en route to stoke the inner man or woman will really appreciate this thoughtfulness, especially in sloppy weather.

The trafiic problem has been recognized and competently solved. A curved entrance way 40 feet in width and about 250 feet in length permits the parking of a great number of automobiles. Thus patrons of the drive-in can turn into the theatre entrance without waiting and the flow of tramc on the highway is not disturbed. To minimize interference to highway traffic from outgoing cars, the exit drive was made narrower than the

entrance way and the difference in entrance and exit widths automatically controls the introduction of relatively slow-moving automobiles into the fastpaced traffic already in motion on the main road.

In general, the procedure recommended by Motiograph and followed in most part by the Danville operator is so logical as to seem obvious at first glance. Except for the above average slope in the ground of the viewing area, the design conformed to the physical requirements of the location revealed in the thorough topographical survey, and many problems that might have arisen from oversight were automatically solved on the drawing boards of the engineers.

However, hit-and-miss building is not yet a thing of the past and this is especially true in the specialized field of drive-in theatre design. Here, the frequency of incorrect planning leads to one conclusionethat in a great many instances rule of thumb is the guiding principle; and unfortunately the rule rather than the exception. Already existing errors will be more or less costly to rectify, depending on the extent of the damage and the urgency of repairs. Future drive-ins, on the other hand, can avoid trouble almost entirely by the relatively simple procedures of following the rules that experiences have taught. Blind planning, unfortunately, does not have two eyes.


The prospective operator will discover that financially the drive-in is quite a plunge, except for the theatrical big shot. Merely to rig a 500-car drive-in (the minimum recommended size), he will have to scratch up the

following fees, all of them estimates:

Drainage system, $2,500; grading and ramp construction, $8,000; water and sewer systems, $3,000; projection building, with plumbing, $4,500; concession stand and equipment, $53,500; paving, including parking area, $10,000; electrical wiring and fixtures, $3,000; scrccn building, $12,000; posts for junction boxes, $1,000; lights for junction box supports, $2,500; projection, sound equipment, and speakers, $19,500; ticket office and equipment, $1,250; fencing, $3,000; landscaping, $1,750: advertising signs, $1,000; miscellaneous labor, $2,500;

cost of plans and specifications, $4,000, and legal work, $32,000.

This comes to a grand total of $85,000, as computed

for an average undertaking by Motiograph, Inc.

The prospective operator who still is inclined to be bullish about the scheme will he brought next to the rude realization that managerial expenses are high. A few of these hoodoos are big stuff, incessant housckccping, fickle patronage, and even more fickle weather, picture prices, clearance disputes, and an occasional round with the burghers over highway safety.

If, however, he successfully circumvents these several short cuts to disaster, everybody and their kids the country 5round will be glad to know him.



1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 265