> > > >

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 364 (326)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 364
Page 364

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 364

courtesy and service to patrons, and the same guides for employee conduct pres vail.

Each member of an outdoor theatre staff has his or her counterpart in a drive-in theatre. In many cases the drive-in employee has a far greater opportunity to provide service than the equivalent employee in a conventional theatre.

It is at the drive-in box office that the interesting and varied character of its audience is most in evidence. Here is proved the fact that most drive-ins enjoy the patronage of fine, happy families. The number of children in many cars is amazing. Sedans and station wagons have been observed with seven, eight and nine children, all of whom are under 12. Their parents, or other adults, appear in almost every imaginable state of dress and sometimes undresseshorts, bathing suits, even pajamas. It is obvious that these people are out for a pleasant, informal and wholly relaxed evening.

The entire staff beginning with the cashier, must dedicate their efforts of service and courtesy to insure pleasure and safety of these people.


Cashiers in a drive-in are the major source of information for entering patrons. They must know the correct answers to all questions about the show and the theatre, and should respond quickly and accurately. This eliminates the possibility of delay of entering cars and prevents interruption in the flow of traffic between the box office and the parking ramps.

Indoor theatres have long been plagued by patrons Who forget their tickets or change at the box office. In a drive-in the consequences of this are more difficult to control and can cause traffic snarls and irritating delays for following patrons. This must be prevented. The use of the simple phrase, "Wait for your tickets and change please," at the time money is tendered by the patron, does this effectively. An important point of both service and safety is provided by the cashier in saying, "drive with your parking lights, please," as her last contact with each individual car.

The cashier additionally performs some of the duties of the doorman. She tears tickets at the time of sale, giving stubs to occupants of the car and disposing of the remaining stubs in containers provided. She also keeps the Doormanls Report as a record of cars which entered without tickets, such as other employees, delivery cars, company executives, etc.

Cashiers must have available information on the number of patrons at any given time during the evening, and on the number of cars which may be present. This information is important to properly prepare for intermissions at the refreshment building, especially at times of capacity business.

Cashiers must train themselves to be ever watchful for unusual circumstances or abnormal behavior on the part of the occupants of any car. They must call the manager's attention to any car which seems to be extraordinarily heavy or "weighed down" upon its springs. This

can indicate upatrons" hiding in luggage compartments, etc. The action dealing with such cars is the managers responsibility.

Great care must be taken in handling money. The cashier must tell the patron the total number and value of the tickets purchased and the amount of money which the patron offers. This must be invariably done in order to preclude any mistake and any dispute concerning the transaction. This is vitally important since the cashier must take the money into the box office, out of sight of the patron, and return with tickets and change.

Care must be taken to prevent money dropping into the car window glass opening in the door and particular caution must be used on windy days to keep currency from being blown away and lost.

The cashier must use judgment in estimating the age of children. It is more difficult to estimate the age of a child sitting in a car than when the same child walks openly to the box office of a regular theatre. Rules for handling this situation are the same as for indoor theatres. Tact and care is often required to protect the theatre interests.

Because of the exposed position of the drive-in box office, with a lane of traffic usually moving on each side and with the doors open, the cashier must use particular care in safeguarding the theatrels funds, and must insist upon the prompt removal of accumulated cash.

The cashier should never hesistate to call the manager to investigate any car which may stop in the theatre entrance, or on the adjoining street or highway, whose occupants seem to show interest in watching what is going on.

Romp Attendants

Ramp attendants are the ushers in a drive-in theatre. They must guide the fiow of automobile traffic into the parking field with minimum delay to the patron. They must be completely familiar with

DRIVE-IN doorman presenting smiling faces and a cooperative altitude while serving the patrons. quite often means as much. if not more than the service which they perform. The success of on outdoor theatre hinges on such small points.

the use of in-car speakers, and be ready to promptly exchange faulty or improperly operating units for spare units in good condition.

They must be ever watchful for evidence of misconduct and accurately spot and report cars in which persons may be hidden, to avoid buying the proper number of admission tickets.

They must guard the security of the theatre field by preventing the unauthorized entry of cars through exit streets, service roads and over or through boundary fences.

They must be continually aware that the theatre and its staff, have a moral

liability, and in some cases a legal'

liability, for the safety of patrons and their cars. They must be thoroughly familiar with all traffic rules and quick to enforce them. In case of accident or injury, they must accurately observe the circumstances and take the necessary action.

The field staff can provide a tremeir dous amount of personal service which builds public good will. Cars will ine evitably get flat tires, run out of gas, develop dead batteries, and have all manner of minor mechanical and electrical trouble. Free service should be provided to take care of these things, with the exception of the cost of emergency gas and any cost for having a. tire repaired at a nearby service station. Service of this kind, promptly and courteously renderedy builds an enviable reputation for theatre and its staff.

By its nature, a drive-in theatre requires a vast amount of minor maintenance and repair. Much of this is assinged to the field staff, and must be done during theatre operating hours. Employees must take the initiative in such things as replacing burned-out ramp and speaker post lamps, which create many hazards to cars moving in the darkened theatre. When otherwise unoccupied, ramp attendants are assigned to many of the small jobs needing attention. At intere missions and at the conclusion of each show, ramp attendants guide and direct traffic. By thoroughly knowing their jobs and being ever aware of potential dangers, they can prevent accidents. The extremely important job of controlling the movement of cars from the theatre area into the streets and highways which serve it, must. be handled by trained, qualified men.


Today the entire motion picture industry is making a joint effort to get the public back into the theatres. Such things as 3-D and wide screen systems have rekindled the publicls interest. It is most important then that when the public does returny nothing is done to antagonize or drive them away. It is this thought that makes the proper training and handling of theatre staffs so vital.

While the material found in this article was prepared by and for one theatre circuit, it could very easily apply to all theatres, large and small. The staff is of paramount importance to the success or failure of a house. However, it is up to management to see that it is aware of its duties.

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 364