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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 270 (259)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 270
Page 270

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 270

Man Made Moonlight for Drive-ins

Area Lighting Without Distraction Adds Safety, Traffic Control, and Stimulates Confection Vending

Early in 1946, with the introduction of the roll-over ramp and in-car speakers, the old problem of area lighting in the theatre was again revived. There were three reasons for this area lighting:

(1) To save time and avoid confusion in parking the cars and, indirectly, to offset patronsi aversion to entering a darkened theatre;

(2) To protect patrons going to and from the concession booths, and

(3) To enable the ushers to see by silhouette through the car windows.

At that time, W. W. Smith, president, Park-In Theatres, Inc., and S. Herbert Taylor, the companyis civil engineer, conferred with the corporations electrical engineer and contractor, the firm of Joseph J. Tomasulo and Company, on this problem, and the General Electric Company was asked to participate. This group entered on a series of experiments.

The Problem

After considerable study, it was agreed that, if full moonlight was present every night, the problem would be solved. Full moonlight is 1/4t)th of a foot-candle. In reality, however, some nights are darker than others, sometimes mist or haze is present, and there are nights when it rains. In other words,

MOONLIGHT FLOODLIGHTING of the parking area of a modern drive-in theatre, as herein described. can be arranged so that there will be no harmful effect on the quality of the screen picture. Such illumination as


As in the normal roofed theatre, lighting of some nature is needed in the open air drive-in because patrons arrive and leave at various times and for various reasons. The need is even greater in the drive-in theatre, because a motor driven .vehicle is involved, that cannot step on toes or bump into objects without, causing serious damage. It was noticed that a bright moonlight night provided the most egective lighting. So a permanent full moon of mixed color floodlights mounted high on a towering steel pole was the logical answer.

the theatre is subjected to all the weather variables, including ideal night conditions.

The problem resolved itself into how to produce moonlight lighting. It was agreed that the light source would have to have a high mounting, so that projected light would be as near a vertical plane as possible. Also, the problem of re-lamping the fixture had to be considered. General Electric engineers recommended the installation of a 100-foot pole, equipped with wide-beam flood lights, in the rear center of the last ramp of the theatre to produce a low level of incandescent light.

The end of the 1946 season introduced another problem: What to do with the cars parked along the highway, waiting for space to be vacated in the theatre, so they could enter. Additional land in the rear of the theatre was purchased for a reserve parking area.

Firs'l' Tests

Early in 1947, the owners of the experimental theatre, the Drive-In, Union, N. J., decided to install the IOU-foot pole to carry on the experiments of moonlight lighting, to illuminate the reserve parking area, and to support some form of an advertising device to be installed at the top of the pole.

Briefly, the dimensions of this experimental theatre are as follows: Width at the screen, 200 feet; distance from screen to the pole, 500 feet; width of theatre at last-ramp, 700 feet; depth of parking field, 500 feet, and approximate capacity of theatre, 700 cars.

The light tower is used to fiood the entire theatre during the show with a soft light of a little more brilliance than full moonlight, and has proved most satisfactory. It has been aimed so that the light in no way affects the picture on the screen.

shown here increases the safety factors as well as facilitating the various services to the cars and the patrons' treks to and from the services commonly and conveniently housed in the proiection building or elsewhere.
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 270