> > > >

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 254 (234)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 254
Page 254

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 254

in operation. One type (discussed in this section) restricts itself to simple and familiar playground equipment, while the other (treated later on) centers mainly around mechanized tiridesfi somewhat similar to those found in amuse ment parks. Of course, there are quite:

a few theatres which have a combination of both, but each will be treated separately here.


The normal simple playground area is generally situated within the theatre proper beyond the point of admission, so that its use may be restricted to actual patrons. A site adequate in size must be carefully chosen in relation to the rest of theatre to avoid, insofar as possible, the usual hazards of drive-in operation. It is advisable to put up fencing or close hedging to prevent occupants from darting out into traffic; naturally, every parent wants to rest assured that his child is playing in safe surroundings.

Playgrounds in a number of drive-ins are situated directly in front of the screen, and chairs are provided for parents who want to keep an eye on their charges while they see the show. On the whole, the noise of children playing in this location during a performance does not reach the in-car speakers, but a little sound acoustical planning in the beginning will eliminate any possibility of this distraction.

If desired, the playground may be set up near or outside the entrance to enable its use by usmall fry" in the community during daytime hours. Although considerable goodwill may be gained in this manner, every precaution must be taken to see to it that no ill feeling is created when the area is closed to non-patrons in the evening.


Just as it is unwise for him to purchase poor projection and sound equipment, so is it foolish for the outdoor exhibitor to invest in playground equipment of an inferior quality. In the first place. drive-in playground equipment must be sturdy enough to withstand a lot of hard wear and abuse; the type of recreational apparatus found in

the average home backyard simply will not stand up in an outdoor theatre.

Secondly, drive-in playground equipment must oifer some diversity, for experience has shown that children weary rapidly of the same thing. This problem may be met by providing a sufficient number of basic pieces of apparatusu) such as seesaws, slides, and swings, to fulfill the demands of a normal number of children, and by furnishing, in addition, several tigroupii devices, such as merry-go-rounds and ttwhirls."

Next, the ages of the juveniles who will use the facilities must be carefully considered when the equipment is chosen. They may range from small tots to teen-agers and will, accordingly, require a wide range of equipment of various types and sizes. In this connection, it is always a good idea to Segregate the smaller children from the larger not only because the latter may annoy them, but also because equipment designed for the use of younger juveniles could easily be damaged by older ones. By the same token, accidents may be prevented by keeping young children away from slides or similar devices that are too big for them.

Finally, drive-in playground apparatus, just as all other pieces of equipment in the theatre, requires a certain amount of care to keep it in good order. It should be kept clean and well-painted at all times, and any moving parts should

be oiled constantly.


Although some drive-in operators do Lot feel that it is necessary to have simple playgrounds of this type constantly under vigilance, the manager or another responsible party must at least keep an eye on the area. All things considered, however, it is best to have a fullatime supervisor in charge.

Someone like a teacher who knows how to deal with children can be extremely instrumental in settling minor disputes that may arise and in stopping practices which might result in accidents costly to the theatre.

Opera'l-ing Policies Nearly all drive-in operators are in clined to look upon the ordinary playground as part of their theatresl natural

POPU-LI'KR AMUSEMENTS AT SIDE ARE: 1. "miracle whirl" by Ahrens Manufacturing Co.: 2. chair swing by Hills Playground Equipment 'Co.: '3. pony rides at the Gratiot Drive-In, Fraser, Mich.; 4. elephant slide by Hills. BELOW: A typical installation of apparatus by American Playground Device Co.

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 254