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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 119 (99)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 119
Page 119

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 119

Hospital Theatre caters to comfort

Unique Seating Plan and Graduated Floor Provide Ample Leg Room and Clear View for Disabled Cases

BRIEF: Uncle Sam,s hospitalized mariners at Great Lakes, "1., donit mind the monotony of long gsick bayi, sieges much now . . . The remodeled hospital theatre . . . reopened March 1 . . . incorporates a new and different seating arrangement which gives every patient room to stretch his crippled limbs . . . or to recline in his wheel chair . . . plus a sloping floor affording an unobstructed view of the screen . . . Films exercise their greatest force as morale builders . . . when exhibited in such an atmosphere of comfort . . . thought to have no known counterpart in hospital theatres.

The recreational needs of hospitalized bluejackets are fully provided for from a comfort point of view at the U. S. Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, 11]. The hospital theatre, which is open only to patients and staff members, has been remodeled at a cost of $60,000 in nonappropriated hospital welfare funds to provide special seating arrangements for crutch and wheel chair patients. Infirm sailors no longer need to undergo the discomfiture of crowding their disabled limbs into the normal narrow space between rows of theatre seats because the last two rows of the main fioor have three times the usual amount of leg room for crippled cases, while directly behind them special spaces are provided for wheel chair patients.

Construction and Furnishings

Before this unique remodeling was accomplished, movies and filiveli entertainment were shown in a combination gymnasium and auditorium. The level floor did not afford a good View of the screen, particularly for stretcher cases and others in semi-reclining positions, from

which an unobstructed and clear view of the screen was well nigh impossible. In addition to this drawback, acoustics and lighting facilities were way below par. Finally, since the entire audience, including disabled patients, was seated in uncomfortable and tightly spaced folding chairs, there was hardly ample room for the comfort of amputees and patients with leg casts.

,The desperately needed remodeling job was undertaken in November, 1948, after sufficient funds had been allocated by the Hospital Welfare and Recreation Department, a unit supported entirely by profits from the hospitals Shipls Service Store. Erwin G. Frederick, Chicago theatre architect, drew up the plans for the theatre according to the specifications of Captain J. F. Hooker, Medical Odiccr in command of the hospital. A Chicago contracting firm, Benjamin Chemers Company, performed the construction


under the supervision of Lt. John Nuckel, a member of the Navy Civil Engineering Corps and Hospital Public Works Officer.

The building, which also houses a library, Shipls Service, and chaplainsi offices, is of simple frame construction. A short flight of steps leads up to the porch of the recreation building where the theatre is located, and three double entrance doors are located between the porchls pillars which support a small balcony above.

The carpet upon which the visitor treads immediately on entering the theatre is backed by a rubber rug pad to deaden sound. It and all other carpeting in the theatre was manufactured by Alex ander Smith and Sons. The red, white, and blue theme of the interior is broken by acoustical drapes of green. The bulk of illumination is furnished by 40 overhead lights mounted flush in the ceiling.

Theatre chairs are red in color and were provided by the Ideal Seating Company. Curtain controls and tracks were supplied by Vallen, Inc. De Vry projectors and sound, Strong rectifiers and projection lamps, GoldE rewinders, Century spotlights, and Hub switchboard and dimmer motors highlight the projection booth equipment.

Due to its non-profit, military nature, the theatre charges an admission of only 12c with a different show featured every night in the week. Experience has shown that patients prefer domestic or musical comedies. Cartoons are a "mustly because of their beneficial "laugh" value. Heavy drama and westerns are not generally included in program schedules.

Unique Seating Plan

As was pointed out in the initial part of this article, the truly distinguishing feature of the Great Lakes Naval Hospital theatre is its unique seating arrangement. The semi-ambulatory patients section is situated at the center of the main fioor, at the head of the main entrance ramp. A total of 14 wheel chairs, 7 on each side of the center aisle, may be placed against a bumper secured to a sloping door. The graduation of the floor permits patients a clear view of the stage. Since the center aisle leads directly to an exit ramp approximately 20 feet behind the last row of crutch patients, semi-ambulatory cases have ready access to escape in the event of fire.

Adjustable stretchers, raised on wheels, may be placed in this section as well. A hospital attendant is seated in a regular theatre chair directly behind each wheel chair or stretcher.

A WORD FROM THE BOSS, Rear Admiral I. Carey Iones, USN. Commandant, Ninth Naval District. shakes hands with L. B. Shea. Boatswains Mate first class, a patient at Great Lakes Naval Hospital, at the dedication of their unique theatre recently remodeled ior more than $0300.00.

(U. S. Nary Pborw}
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 119