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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 199 (179)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 199
Page 199

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 199

SCHEMATIC DRAWING of the beam-splitting arrangement for projection to Iwo of the screens.

Finally, the four-screen drive-in may be readily adapted to various shapes of land. It is also quite possible to build only two Screens in a location and then add two more when increased business warrants the expansion.

Traffic Control

One of the outstanding features of this four-screen set-up is the extensive control over traffic it provides. Arrangements have been made, through an eightlane holdout area, for accommodating the entire 1,200-car capacity of the theatre. After the patron buys his ticket, he is directed to Lane #1, #2, #3 or #4 and must remain in that lane to enter the unit to which it leads. These lanes are separated by small fences, so it is impossible for cars to leave the lane to which they are assigned.

The showings of films can be so scheduled that the break can occur in one, two, three, or all four theatres at once. Thus, instead of dumping 1,200 cars into adjoining highways at the same time, theatre breaks may be arranged, if desired, so that only 300 cars empty from one unit before another breaks. It is estimated that the entire operation can be emptied in 12 minutes and completely refilled in approximately 15. This staggering of car movements also serves to relieve heavy dows of pedestrian traffic within the theatre to and from the refreshment stands and rest rooms.

ther Advantages

Due to the fact that the structure containing the snack bar is located in the rear of the ramp area, it can be fully lighted without disturbing any patronis view of the screen. Situated in an island area approximately one acre in size, this three-story building houses the snack bar and rest rooms on the first fioor, the projection booth and dressing rooms for employees on the second, and the managers office on the third and top floor; from this vantage point he has an unobstructed View of the entire area.

Surrounding the building is a plot where a childrenls playground may be Set up. Parents may sit on the porch of the refreshment stand and supervise their offspring while they continue to watch the show.

Lastly, it should be pointed out that the small size of each unit in the theatre provides a striking atmosphere of intimacy, in addition to affordng every patron an excellent view of the action taking place on the screen.


The four-screen drive-in idea had hardly left the drawing boards when it


became the object of much interest in the industry. Several outdoor theatre operators, convinced of its practicality, immediately placed orders with Architect Wilson. Unfortunately, not many installations were started or completed before the government ban on amusement construction halted further progress, although at least half a dozen more were contemplated (besides those already operating or under construction) at the time of the "freezefl

4-Screen Drive-In. Chicago

The first quadruple-screen outdoor theatre was opened in June, 1950, at the intersection of 138th and Halsted Streets in Chicago. An Essaness Theatres operation, it has the expected total capacity of 1,200 cars, divided up equally among four ramp systems which radiate from a screen at each corner of the rectangular-shaped plot. Eight ramps in each one of two individual theatres accommodate 300 cars, while six apiece provide parking spaces for an equal number in the other two units. The longest viewing distance from any point in all four sections is 200 less than it would be for a similar total capacity under the usual drive-in plan.

Feature pictures begin and end for two of the theatres 10 minutes in advance of the other two. Driveways, marked by low fences and shielded lamps spaced at suitable intervals, circumvent each of the sections. A common entrance drive feeds cars into lanes leading to the ramps at a point midway on one side, while exit is made in all cases into roadways situated immedately inside the rustic fencing enclosing the exhibition area. Cars in two theatres empty into

one highway through a common exit, While those in the other two depart through separate exits into the other adjoining thoroughfare. Incidentally, Essaness distributes incoming vehicles among all of the units from the, start, rather than filling them up one at a time.

Center of operations is the pagoda-like building in the middle of the site. Located here are two glass-enclosed refreshment stands, comfortable rest rooms, projection booth, and a control tower from which the manager may observe activities in all four units.

Projection is, of course, accomplished under the aforementioned Lewis plan by a split-beam optical system. As previously, explained, this requires only one print, but Essaness uses two in order to obviate the need for immediate rewinding and threading of following projectors with warm film.

The picture thrown on each screen is approximately 50' wide and is lighted by Peerless straight high-intensity lamps operated at 180 amperes. Structures are of laminated wood construction, and the screens themselves are painted plywood. The sound system and in-car speakers, as well as the projector mechanisms, are Simplex. Since the projection booth is located above the refreshment stands, there is little projection angle, thus making the screens almost perpendicular.

The immediate area around the central building is neatly landscaped and contains a rail ride for children supplied by the Miniature Train Company. Finally, due to the number of ramp systems, lighting at the 4-Screen Drive-In is appreciably more extensive and detailed than that found at the average outdoor theatre.

THE GENERAL PLOT PLAN below illustrates painstaking manner in which Architect Wilson has worked out his four-screen drive-in plan with special attention toward providing easy access and egress.
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 199