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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 470 (446)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 470
Page 470

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 470

The GPL Theatre Television System

Video Images Are Recorded And Projected With Far Better Definition by New Film Intermediate Method

The extraordinary and rapid growth of television since the end of World War II leaves little doubt that this new entertainment medium is here to stay. A strapping industrial giant, whose total capital investment exceeds the billion dollar mark, television has already exercised a far-reaching influence on U. S. social and economic life during its comparatively short existence.

In spite of the fact that a shortage of materials caused by the current defense program may partially dry up the onrushing iiood of television set production, there is every reason to believe that receivers for home use will continue to flow from the factories at a fairly good clip to living rooms all over the country. in short, this new wonder, with its unique ability to capture the immediacy of events as they transpire, is destined to assume even greater popularity with the passage of the years.

As more sponsorsi dollars are won over to the rich and still only slightly tapped field of advertising potentialities offered by television, the quality of programs will continue to improve and attract a larger and larger audience. No one in his right mind could honestly say that it is merely a new fad which is predestined to go the way of such ephemeral developments as the yearly fashion styles.

Just as the automobile prompted an upheaval of seemingly infinite proportions in the American Way of life, so television already has bitten deep into the very roots of U. S. habits and mores While it can, of course, be properly described as an important educational medium as well, television is essentially a new form of entertainment, and it is in this sphere that its impact has been felt to the greatest degree. Briefiy, television has brought the American family back into the home for much of its diversion . . . and thus away from other places of amusement. This dislocation has, naturally, affected all segments of the entertainment industry, including the motion picture theatre.


Shortly after home television became a practical reality, the theatre industry began to realize that here was a formidable challenge to its long-held position as the top mass entertainment medium. Reliable public surveys showed that television broadcasts were keeping people home a great deal more with a resultant decline in theatre attendance. While there seemed to be little likelihood that the populace would lose all desire to attend the movies, the aforementioned drop in boxoiiice receipts caUSed justifiable fears in many quarters that the margin of profit in some theatre operations might well be decreased seriously

BRIEF: Television . . probably the

fastest growing industry in the U. S. . . . has undoubtedly been largely responsible for the decline in theatre boxoliice receipts in recent years . . . and which only now are experiencing a slight upturn again . . . There is no denying the fact that television does pose a genuine threat . . . which must be met and conquered . . . if the movies are to continue to capture their due share of the entertainment dollar.

Not one to be caught napping . . . or to take punishment lying down . . . the

film industry has earnestly sought ways to answer the challenge . . . The most practical solution to the problem . . .

thus far devised . . . is one which embraces the Tenemyi, as a bedfellow . . . theatre television . . . Already tried . . . and proven quite successful . . . this new supplement to the regular film program appears earmarked for more widespread adoption. in time.

Two types of systems . . . the direct and film intermediate . . . have been developed for large-screen. theatre television showings . . . The former . . . which projects a received signal directly from the air onto the screen . . . has been in use for a number of months . . . The latter . . . which records on image on. regular motion picture film before projecting it . . . has only recently been. developed . . . Known as the GPL Videofilm Theatre Television

'System, this versatile method is dis cussed below with respect to: its equip ment . . . operation . . . and outstandmg advantages.


or wiped out, particularly in sections of the country where there was a heavy concentration of homes with video sets.

Unfortunately, while television had been booming, the motion picture industry had been beset by a number of internal problems resulting from falling revenues due to other causes as Well as television, anti-trust divorcement cases, distributor-exhibitor relationships and practices, etc. In spite of its concern with these troubles, however, the industry finally pulled itself together, after the initial shock of television had eased, to meet this challenge in the same brave and determined fashion with which it has stood up to other obstacles during its glorious history.

An Alliance Is Formed

Since it is usually always wiser to attempt to convert a foe into an ally, rather than to engage in a long and costly battle which may have no real victor, the more progressive members of the theatre industry soon began to devote their thoughts toward devising ways and means of putting video to work for the theatre, As a result of their positive efforts in this direction, theatre tele vision came into being as a practiCal answer to the inroads of the home variety on motion picture attendance. Offering as a capital advantage the mammoth size of the theatre screen as compared to the relatively diminutive viewing area of the average home set, theatre television is designed to supplement, not supplant, quality feature films. There is nothing radically new in this approach, for theatres have always supplemented iilm features with stage shows, vaudeville, amateur talent con tests, and other live attractions.

Theatre television can achieve, for the first time, in a network of theatres a mass distribution of superior live events and entertainment as they happen, rather than in a single theatre at a time. Furthermore, by attracting more people to the boxoftice, it can increase the total income of all segments of the motion picture industry. Patrons who come to theatres equipped with television will see film as well as video attractions, thereby adding to the economic stability of producers, distributors, and exhibitors alike.

Success of Pioneer Showings

Evidence of the assertion that the tirst theatre television installations have brought more people to the boxoftice than any other non-film attraction is found in the fact that 16 of the nations leading theatres. by the end of 1950, were equipped to present television programs on a regular basis. Among these are the Music Hall, Minneapolis, StateeLakc, Chicago, and the Fabian houses in the East.

Typical of the warm welcome accorded theatre television showings was the enthusiasm engendered by a presentation of the 1950 Army-Navy game at the Fabian Fox in Brooklyn. Since the spectators were right on the 50-yard line in Philadelphia along with the two teams, the auditorium became a bedlam of cheers, whistles, and applause. By way of contrast to this immediacy of exhibition, little spectator reaction was reported to the films of the game distributed later that week to houses throughout the country.

The boxofiice appeal of exclusive theav tre television features was demonstrated also in the fall of 1950 when five Big Ten football games were telecast in two Chicago theatres to overfiow business at the State-Lake and to a near-capacity house at the Tivoli. Showings of other events, such as concerts, have likewise proven the boxoiiice drawing power of theatre television in providing a View of events as they actually take place. This sense of immediacy, which has been largely responsible for the growth of television in the home, can be even more effectively utilized to drawing crowds to the theatre with its far superior exhibition facilities.


1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 470