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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 441 (417)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 441
Page 441


1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 441

Reopening the Drive-In

Two Experts on Peeling Off a Winter Cocoon at the Start of a New Season Review the Necessary Steps

1. GENERAL PROCEDURES

Introduction

The reopening of a drivesin in the early spring for regular seasonal operation requires extensive preparations, for every part of the theatre must be put back into first-class shape. In short, almost as much attention must be given to taking the open-air Showplace out of timothballs" as is bestowed on putting it in for the winter. Of course, the ease and rapidity with which the theatre can be readied for the new season depends to an appreciable degree on the care exercised in Winterizing it and the thoroughness of the preventive maintenance carried out during the period of closure.

Even though a drive-in has been carefully enveloped in protective wraps at the conclusion of the past season and a painstaking check has been kept on its condition throughout the bleak winter months, the elements do exact their toll, in spite of all precautions Therefore, the advent of warm weather conducive to reopening will bring with it a need for a complete inspection and overhauling of the theatre.

At the same time this renovation program is launched, however, the fact that the drive-in will soon be back in operation must be widely broadcast, so that its old friends and prospective new patrons will be alerted and looking for* ward again to another entertaining season of movies under the stars.

Promotional Activities

After a definite opening date has been established, advance publicity should be sent to all newspapers in the drawing

ANNOUNCEMENT ADS should run well in advance of the actual opening date.

PHONE: TOMS RIVER 8-0938

WELCOME BACK

GALA REOPENING

SATURDAY, APRIL 8th AT 7 P. M.

NEW JERSEY'S FRIENDLIBT AND FINEST DRIVE-IN THEATRE

Enlarged Play Area Big Double Feature Show: Daily At Dusk

WATCH FOR OPENING PROGRAM GIFTS, SURPRISES FOR EVERYONE

It Will Be I Rm] Holiday Outing for All

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1950-51 THEATRE CATALOG

By PAUL PETERSEN AND E. O. WILSCHKE

Aapvn-isar. Drive-In Operations. Waller RPUdO Thea/res, and Operating :"anagor, A'llvc Service Corporation, respectively



BRIEF: The vast majority of outdoor theatres in the U. S. are . . . as we know . . . located in areas with fluctuat ing seasons of the year . . . so that drive-ins must restrict their periods of operation to the reasonably warm months . . . Therefore, these open-air amusement centers must . . . like the bears in the forest . . . go into hibernation for the winter.

Due to its constant exposure to the weather, the drive-in must . . . of necessity . . . be as well wrapped up as possible to withstand the ravages of winter . . . Recommended steps . . . to be followed in preparing outdoor theatres for seasonal closing . . . formed the subject

of a survey published in the 1948-49 Edition of THEATRE CATALOG (pp. 231-235) . . . When the warm breezes of spring fill the air again . . . however . . . the drive-in must be just as carefully prepared for reopening . . . with everything restored to first-class working order.

The following article . . . which treats the steps required to put the drive-in back in business . . . as opposed to those needed to close it down . . . has been compiled from a wealth of helpful material submitted by Paul Petersen of Walter Reade Theatres and E. 0. Wilschke of Altec Service Corporation . . . The former contributed the information for the first section of the survey . . . dealing with such important activities as promotion and physical overhauling . . . while the latter furnished the pertinent data on preparing the projection and sound equipment . . . so expertly treated in the second section.

--- area announcing the reopening and outlining contemplated or actual improvements made since last season, the types of entertainment to be presented, and general theatre policy. It is often advisable to included the. name of the manager in these advance notices because of the personal touch thereby attained. If the manager chances to be a new one, a path in the community is thus opened up for him, and, if he is a former manager returning to the job, he is afforded an opportunity to renew old acquaintances.

A few weeks before the actual reopening some type of teaser copy announcing the date should be placed on the attraction board for the benefit of passing motorists. Data on the changeable copy panel should be changed at frequent intervals and illuminated at night so that the interest of passersby will be maintained. This highway campaign may

be climaxed by a final announcement of the initial feature attraction and the dates it will play, once booking plans have been completed.

There are, of course, a number of other media through which the reopening of the drive-in may be announced. For example, direct mail pieces to all post office boxholders and rural route dwellers have been found to be very successful. Likewise, spot announcements on local radio stations have also produced good results in many cases.

In addition to other conventional forms of advertising, such as window cards in stores and handbills, Walter Reade Theatres, for example, have discovered a great exploitational value in the posting of ads at gas stations throughout the territory carrying the opening announcement and the weeks current attractions once the theatre is operating.

At the same time he is getting his advertising program into full swing, the manager must devote his efforts to lining up playdates for pictures which are suitable for this particular location. Since any haphazard approach to this important booking problem will be fatal, he must intelligently analyse the tastes of his patrons and be guided accordingly.

Last, but by no means least, among the many promotional activities which must be undertaken is the usual gala social function which precedes the reopening. Impressive ceremonies may be planned and an air of dignity lent to the proceedings by inviting the mayor and other prominent officials to attend and calling upon them to say a few words appropriate to the occasion. The additional presence of a high school or other type of local band will further the impression that the reopening is an important community affair.

Giveaways, always powerful stimulants to the creation of patron goodwill, are particularly in order on the opening night. Free popcorn, cold drinks, or ice cream are entirely suitable for

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING in the lorm of liberal passes provides a low cost out-oI-season stimulant.

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ROUTE 37
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 441