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1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 26 (xxvi)

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition
1952 Theatre Catalog
1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 26
Page 26

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 26

It is a good plan to use more than one run of stairs in the main stairway, with horizontal passages connecting the different runs relieving the total ascent. Moreover, patrons do not resent climbing distances to reach seats if ramps are installed wherever possible in the balcony.

When making changes in steppings, and especially when creating a crossaisle, particular attention must be paid to sight lines so that interference from cross-aisle traffic is cut to a minimum.


Back in the days of the industryis infancy, it was considered good business to pack as many patrons into a theatre as the four walls could hold, and seating arrangements which were uncomfortable, to say the least, were the rule rather than the exception. Especially in the balcony was this true. The occupants of chairs in ilpeanut heavenl, had to sit with their knees jammed against the hard backs of the chairs in front of them. Seating rows ware steeply sloped and crammed so closely together in the balcony that patrons wishing to get seats in the middle of an occupied row had to push, wedge, and elbow their way past other patrons, treading on feet, getting tangled in handbag straps, and massing the hairdos of ladies in the row ahead. These uncomfortable seating conditions persist today in many theatres, and even though lower admissions are charged for balcony seats in these substandard houses, few patrons are willing to sacrifice their comfort for the questionable sarings that a balcony seat represents.

If the balcony is not equipped with aisle and step lights, the remodeling program should include their installation, as well as electric outlets for exit and directional signs, which are of great value in controlling crowd movement.

In large balconies, it may be possible to lay out a cross-aisle, and set up a loge section ahead of it. With more luxurious seats, possibly, and a better view of the screen, the loge can be used as a reserved section for special performances, and may command higher admission price than the balcony.


Balconies may be enhanced considerably by the installation of carpeting in the aisles, cross aisles and vomitories. Many times when new carpeting is being installed in the lobby, foyers or other well-lighted sections, the old carpeting, if it is in fairly good condition may be pressed into satisfactory service in the balcony.

In laying carpet in balcony aisles, it must be noted that this poses a definite hazard unless steps are designed with a cut back in the risers. These cut backs or sloping risers rule out the danger of women catching their high heels on vertical risers Without nosings, and permit a wider, safer tread.


Along- with step lights and aisle lights, provision should be made to light








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FIG. 20-(Above)-Steps that should fill the entire width between seat standards on either side of the aisle, should bear a formed wood carpet strip their full height bolted to the lace oi the riser. This is a little more expensive but provides the best fastening and will result in less wear on the carpet. FIG. 21*(Below)-Is a different method using a patented rubber nosing strip. Obtainable in most colors to match surrounding fabrics for well lighted areas. such strips should be white, easy to see on balcony, stadium. or mez< zonine stairs. Wood ground is used for tacking.

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the rear section of the balcony at all times, if such lighting was not provided for in the original construction. Especially in houses witmtransient patronage is this desirable in the interests of better policing.

The ponderous crystal chandeliers that characterize many ancient houses will have to be lowered by winches for relamping and cleaning, if it is decided to retain them. These huge "ornamentalgee-gaws are rapidly beecming extinct, however, as modern remodeling designers replace them with attractive downlights, cove lighting or large sidewall fixtures which are highly decorative as well as utilitarian.

PROJECTION BOOTH Heart of the House

The projection booth is the most important spot in the whole theatre, and the designer who supervises its refitting must be fully familiar with its operation and the equipment which must be installed. The designer must also be familiar with the various regulations and

codes which apply to the projection booth, and be prepared to translate them into construction and equipment planning which will protect operators and patrons alike. The American Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers has established standard requirements which apply to the projection booth, and these requirements when fulfilled will generally satisfy the requirements of most local codes. But exceptions exist, and they should be checked carefully for full compliance.


The projection booth should have (and in many cases must have) a ten-foot ceiling. Twelve-foot depth from front to rear wall is considered good, although ten feet is the minimum depth. If more than two projection machines or spotlights are to be installed, the length of the booth should be increased proportionately from the minimum of 14 feet. Where possible, the booth should be 20 feet long. Portholes in the booth must be protected by handsoperated and automatic fire-proof shutters which are tripped by fusible links and by manual release from the booth exits. Optical glass in the projection ports and plate


Should the projection booth and its equipment have been neglected through the years, refitting will have to take high priority on the remodeling schedule. Modem booth standards ('all for a complete fireproof enclosure in which' are a toilet room for projectionists and a remind room, and, adjacent to this, a room for the motor generators.

# glass in the observation ports. are needed to exclude booth noises from the theatre and theatre noises from the booth. If the booth is in close proximity to the seating area, it is desirable to acoustically treat the walls above the wuinscot and the ceiling.

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 26