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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 117 (83)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 117
Page 117

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 117

AN END VIEW OF the screen erected at Gloucester. N. L. which was [he Hrst curved screen to be constructed in an outdoor theatre.

A screen of the original design was, however, constructed in the State of Washington, where this jurisdictional problem apparently did not come up.


The problem of light on the screen was. always an important one in drive-in theatres. Intensities such as are obtained in conventional houses are impossible, the size of the screen being so large. lt was natural, therefore, that the industry soon turned to a sloped screen to improve the return of the light to the theatre. We adapted our I beam frame to the sloped design and, as a variation, used crossed I beams to produce the V-type screen erected at Roanoke, Virginia. All of these designs wasted steel at the top of the I beam columns, because as we went up the column less cross section was needed to overcome Wind pressure. The I beam, of course, had a uniform section. However, these designs were built during the depression when the price of steel was Very low and the cost of the extra steel was more than made up by the saving in the labor of fabrication.

Concave Screen

A further refinement of the sloped scrm-n was the curved or concave screen, the curve running from the bottom to top of the picture; again, to better gather the light and return it to the tlicatrc, and to reduce distortion at the sides of the theatre.

Wt- wcre first with this design in the 'llotawa, Asbury Park and Gloucester theatres, all of them located in New Jersey. We had originally planned to use l beams for the vertical members but the fabricator on these contracts suggested a built-up section of steel plates and channels which could be tapered to suit the lessor stresses as you approach the top of the beam. This scheme was followed although no econ. omy resulted from the saving of steel, this saving being used up by the large amount of welding in the fabrication process. The schemc, hoWever, produced


ANOTHER VIEW of the Gloucester lower shows workers placing the steel cover plates, and it also indicates the concave nature of the screen.

a beautiful structure. We finally had achieved our "sail in the windfi

We designed a further screen of this design to withstand 135 miles-per-hour wind loads in Florida. It was constrUCted in the Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, theatre of the Wometco circuit.

Cheaper Screen

We were still discouraged with the cost of the large amount of fabrication on the screen. The vertical members were all assembled of cut plates and channel sections with a very large amount of welding. Determined to lick this problem, we produced a similar design out of simpler shapes with one-half of the welding. We reduced the cost to approximately $15,000, including foundation*a reduction of about $10,000, This screen was built outside of Trenton, New Jersey, and a variation of same at Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania.

We felt we had achieved a screen of distinction and marked economy. However, for these theatres which require a still cheaper construction, we evolved a

IN ORDER TO create a sturdy and cheap screen a design using simpler shapes. was developed.

guyed screen which reduced the steel and foundations to the point where we could deduct another $6,000 from the total cost. This screen, in a large size, was built in Bridgeton and Wildwood, New Jersey, and on Route 309 in Pennsylvania, for approximately $9,000, including foundations.


Screens should be designed for the individual theatre. The engineering fee is soon saved, many times over, through the use of a local fabricator, selected from several who have been invited to bid on the individually prepared plans and specifications. Not only do the foundations need to be changed with the changing soil conditions, but the size, type and strength requirements vary with the size and locality of the theatre, and the location of the screen within the theatre.

The types of screen here discussed are functional. They serve one purpose, to provide the best surface for the projected picture. If economically designed, they will appear trim and beautiful. Such screens belong in a functional theatre, with functional location of ticket booth, projection and concession buildings and office.

There will be those who still, falling back on indoor tradition, will want the screen, ticket booth, and office and storage space located in a building also supporting the screen. An imposing building can be achieved by this method, but at the sacrifice of economy and the best layout of the theatre, and unless a high degree of skill is used, at the sacrifice of beauty also.

We suggest that a drive-in theatre is a creation radically different from an indoor theatre. The drive-in is a part of the landscape; of nature. When it finally arrives at its best, it will be beautifully landscaped, with grass ramps, trees, fiowering and fragrant shrubs and Howers. Such a theatre will be doubly attractive to patrons already taught to enjoy fresh air and outdoor freedom with their movies. Drive-in operators should never forget that they can use Mother Nature as a selling angle.

SEEKING A STILL more economical tower a guyed screen was created {or $9.000.

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 117