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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 198 (178)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 198
Page 198

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 198

The Four-Screen Drive-In Plan

Construction Economies and More Flexible Operation Afforded Under an Ingenious Quadruple Arrangement

The same fertility of imagination exercised for many years in the design, construction, and equipment of roofed theatres has likewise been brought into full play with drive-ins during their relatively short existence. Each day seems to produce another ingenious idea for the layout of ramp areas, the erection of screen towers, or the manufacture of larger and more powerful projection machines, etc. In short, outdoor theatres have stimulated the imaginations of designers and builders to the point where almost every new drive-in contains some feature that gives it an individualistic touch.

One of those far-sighted visionaries, who has enlisted his talents and drawing boards in the service of the drive-in industry, is Architect Lewis E. Wilson. A gifted and enterprising craftsman, who has won particular acclaim for the funnel-shaped wood truss incorporated in the design of the Baldwin, Los Angeles (see p. 132, 1949-50 Edition of THEATRE CATALOG), Wilson has come up with a new concept in drive-in design which may prove to be one of the greatest innovations in the field since the introduction of the in-car speaker,


Architect Wilson has planned and put into operation a plan which actually rolls four drive-ins into one. Brieiiy, the scheme provides for four small outdoor theatres with a screen for each in a corner of one large site and a common projection booth in the center of the entire plot. Through a clever use of

BRIEF: Quite a stir in the outdoor theatre field . . . limitedly akin to the worldwide interest aroused in. the birth of the famous Dione quintuplets . . . has been created by the development of drive-in quadruplets . . . The brain-children of Architect Lewis E. Wilson . . . who has succeeded in dividing up a 1,200-car capacity among four exhibition. areas with a clever split-beam optical system . . . these novel theatres are actually four-in-one . . Economical to build . . . and easy to run from one central point . . . the four-screen drive-in offers many advantages over the orthodox single-screen type . . . and even over the novel two-screen variety.

The following survey describes the basic principles of the design scheme . . . and shows how it has been actually applied in the construction of two theatres . . . the 4-Screen Drive-In, Chicago . . . and the St. Ann Drive-In, St. Louis.

mirrors, two sets of projectors are able to serve the four screens with a specially developed beam-splitter (see accompanying drawing). Since four machines are installed in one booth, the operator may tag the reel from one side to the other, and duplicate prints are not required.

Operational Schedule

Shows in the four theatres are usually run according to the following general pattern: A performance starts in Theatre #1 with a short opening reel in Projector #1; while it is being run,

Theatre #2 is filling. In the meantime, Projector #2 is threaded for the feature attraction, which begins in Theatres #1 and #2 as Theatre #3 is filling.

The short started in Theatre #1 has, by this time, reached Theatres #3 and #4, and Projectors #1 and #2 are in the process of exhibiting the feature in customary two-projector fashion to Theatres #1 and #2. Immediately after Reel #1 has been run off, it proceeds to Projector #3 for showing in Theatres #3 and #4, while Projector #4 is threaded with Reel #2 as soon as it is released from Projector #2.

Construction Economies

Due to the fact that the individual theatres are small with only 6 to 8 ramps each and accommodate only 300 cars apiece, little costly grading is necessary; in the conventional 1,200-car theatre, on the other hand, the rear 10 to 15 ramps have to be quite high and thus require expensive grading.

By the same token, screen towers are smaller and less costly to build. Furthermore, since the projection booth is located in the center of the site, it is possible to service the project by dropping overhead power lines down into the booth, thereby saving the expense of underground wiring from the street to the booth required by orthodox drive-in design.

THE DIAGRAM BELOW clearly shows the arrangement oi the various elements in the tourscreen drive-in plan, including the broad lanes for the movement of traffic in and out of theatre.

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 198