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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 13 (xiii)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 13
Page 13

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 13

programs as possible, he would cease worrying about television putting him out of business. Some of our movies and radio programs are pretty bad, but television comes in for its full share of the "cornll crop.

There is no question but that the family which buys its first television set will not be found at the theatre for at least several weeks. We doubt, however, that there are many people who" can take television as a steady and unadulterated diet. Sooner or later they will begin to read about the latest motion pictures, or their friends will tell them about them, and as the novelty of television wears off, life will begin to resume its normal pattern. .

Furthermore, we do not believe that the average person will long be contented sitting in his living room night after night. Half of the fun of going to the movies lies in getting dressed up, in mingling with and viewing other people, in participating in the audience reaction to the picture on the screen. The jokes which fall Hat in the silence of the living room become uproariously funny when you have a theatre full of people howling in mirth.

Before long home television and motion pictures will adjustxthemselves to each other. Families will stay at home on certain nights in order to watch certain good television programs*and some of them are very good. They will go to the theatre if they are interested in the attractions which are playing, if they find the theatre a cheerful and pleasant place in which to spend an evening, and if they are made comfortable while they are watching the performance.

Theatre TelevisioneSOmehow or other, we just arenlt able to hgure out where theatre television is going to fit into the picture. This statement is made in spite of the real or artificial enthusiasm which has been generated for it in some quarters, and with no thought of the present technical limitations.

In the first place, television projection equipment is extremely expensive-about five times that of motion picture sound and projection equipment. Improved design and increased production can be counted upon to lower these costs, but the price will always be a formidable figure.

TOnce you get men and women to step inside your theatre, even if it is for some other purpose, you will have. an opportunity to show them what comfortable surroundings you have to agar and what a friendly person you. are?

Complete sound and projection equipment operating 365 days per year for a lifetime of ten years has an equipment cost of less than two dollars per day. Can television equipment be counted upon to do the same? Either its costs must be brought into line with those of motion pictures, or television revenues must be increased sufficiently to com ' 1950-51 THEATRE CATALOG


pensate-if the exhibitor is to show any profit on his investment.

What entertainment can be exhibited with television projection equipment? Football games, of course. Recent experiments showed that football telecasts, like motion pictures, are well attended in the theatres when the attraction is good, and but sparsely when it is not.

It is doubtful if daily theatre telecasts of baseball games would pay their way, and it is even more doubtful if baseball magnates would permit their revenues to be endangered in this manner. The same thing applies to other sports in an enhanced degree.

What else can be utilized to pay for the cost of television equipment? Any subject suitable for theatre television must be scheduled in advance in order that it may be advertised in advance, and there just arenlt enough of these to justify the outlay for the equipment.

Color Television*Until some degree of order comes out of the present legal and technical confusion, it is impossible to foresee what effect color television in the home and in the theatre will have upon attendance. If color is such a highly desirable factor, the motion picture industry might well devote greater effort to pointing out that it has long since developed high-quality color projection. Unless television can match this quality

when it does have color, it may well lose. ground to motion pictures on the basis of comparison.

The above summarizes the television picture. Home television presents a temporary disturbing factor, but should ultimately adjust itself with no appreciable detriment to motion pictures. Theatre television looks overrated, with too many obstacles in the path for clear sailing. Color television is still off in the distance.

At this writing, the greatest menace may well prove to be the much despised phonevision. The ridicule and abuse heaped upon it from certain motion picture quarters now seems inspired by wishful thinking, for the viewer reaction to phonevision in the first experiments was surprisingly good. When a family can invite a dozen of the neighbors into its living room to watch a recent movie at a total cost of one dollar, we have a situation which may well cause the theatres plenty of trouble.

Houses Musl' Look "Theatre"

This brings us to the second part of the problemeWhat can be done to bring people into the theatre.

One of the best methods is to use the outside of the theatre to bring them inside. There are few types of business which get as much Toff-the-street" patronage as does the theatre. If a house

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 13