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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 3 (iii)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 3
Page 3

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 3


In the time that has elapsed since the last edition of THEATRE CATALOG appeared, the motion picture industry has gone through a period of revolutionary development that can only find comparison in the events followtng the. tntroductlon of sound.

What made these developments even more explosive, was the fact that they came with hardly any advance warning. The year opened rather quietly, and not too cheerfully. Although the Governmentis ban on building was easing a bit, it was still difiicult to obtain the necessary priorities and building materials. The iigoodi9 pictures were rolling up satisfactory grosses, but in gcncral the post-war slump in the nationls theatres was still very much in evidence.

The first hint of things to come was the amazing response given to (iinerama, when it opened in New York City. Block long lines of patrons patiently waiting to buy tickets at the Broadway Theatre, where Cinerama had its initial run, offered graphic proof that the public wanted, and would give overwhelming support to something new and different in motion picture entertainment.

Although most of the industry looked with interest at this boxollicc wonder, the financial and technical diflicultics invoked in installing such a system made it impossible for the average exhibitor to expect help from thi., source.

Just about the time Cinerama was settling down for its long run, an independent producer-writer, Arch Oboler, was putting the finishing touches on a film called tthana Devil}, The thing that distinguished this film from the others, was the use of the threedimensional technique which had been lying dormant for so many years.

The impact with which the relatively inferior iiBwana Devilll hit at the boxoffice, and the chain of reactions that it set off, is by now too well known to recount here.

The months following this first commercially successful 3-D offering were stamped with one common characteristicecoufusion. The industry was just not prepared for this sudden upheaval, and in an effort to correct the situation enough talk, statements, explanations and declarations were, made to blow up a storm through which very few exhibitors could see.

Things started to break thick and fast. Terms like stereophonic sound, peripheral vision, and aspect ratios were suddenly removed from obscure corners of the dictionary, and were being probed by theatre-men, equipment men, projectionists, production staffs, and the public.

Although starting out a bit more, slowly, wide screen systems were soon as plentiful as three-dimensional outfits, and it quickly became clear that the struggle for standardization would be between these two tHicheiiu-rsfi

One thing was evident from the very outset; regardless of which system, or combination of systems would eventually be accepted as the standard, the motion picture theatre screen was going to be given a new shape.

As this 11th edition of THEATRE CATALOG goes to press, there are many problems and questions which are still to be answered. Exhibitors are asking thcmsclycs what typc and size screen should l install? Do I really need slereophonic sound? Can l afford to Wait until a later date before making any changes? What system should l give my support? '

The list is long and complicated, but it contains questions which must be answered. In keeping with its policy of attempting to give its reader he most comprchcnsiu' and accurate, information available, the editors of THEATRE CATALOG have tried to gather enough basic information so that many of the answers to these perplexing questions may be answered intelligently.

Although the stress has been placed on projection and sound, the other parts of theatre and its operation have not been forgotten or neglected. As Usual. there will be found on the pages that follow surveys. and detailth discussions of all phases of theatre management, equipment. and ulaintcuzulcc.

In the days and weeks to come it \xill be more important than c\cr before for thcatrcmen to tnch with intelligence and a certain amount of caution. lu order to do this, they will hu\'c to keep abreast of the ncn dc\clopmcnls and blue the facts at their ll'll-er'lle. Tllc editors of Tlll'C'VllliE CATALOG bane attempted to consolidate tbcsc "celled facts into one comprehensive volume. The results of these l*leH'l> are to be found on the pages to follow; \Vc bclicu' that it is worthy of joining the authoritative knowledge in earlier \olutncs which have gained international recognition as the cmIWlopcdia of the motion picture theatre.

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 3