> > > >

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 148 (114)

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition
1954-55 Theatre Catalog
1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 148
Page 148

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 148

Panamals First Drive-In

Step-By-Step Study of the Planning and Construction of the First Drive-In Theatre to Be Built in Panama

BRIEF: It has not been too long since the drive-in was a mere novelty in this country . . . and not taken very seriously . . . However . . . this form of exhibition has grown until it is a vital part of the entire motion picture industry . . . This article offers a complete history of the construction of the first outdoor theatre to be built in Panama . . . and which represented the first outdoor theatre to be constructed in Latin America.

The author offers interesting insight into the many problems that are involved in constructing a drive-in . . . and there are many valuable lessons to be learned by anyone who is thinking of building an outdoor theatre . . . A particularly interesting section is the one in which the author gives a day-by-day account of the experiments undertaken to equip the theatre properly for the showing of threedimensional films . . . and how they prepared themselves for the installation of a wide screen.

Several weeks prior to its opening date, the local newspapers began to announce the premier opening of Panamals first drive-in theatre, I with a capacity of 636 cars. This was the first drive-in theatre to be built in Latin America.

The above announcement was made possible by Compania Panamena de Diversiones, S. A., a company made up of prominent Panamanian and United States business men. In order to finance


Vice-president. Cia. Panamena De Diversinnes. S. A.

this new venture this company was formed.

While touring the United States, by auto, Elton Todd notiCed the amaZA ing number of drive-ins under construction and almost as many new ones in operation. After thinking the matter over for two months, he decided it was a good idea for Panama. He immediately contracted the source of most of the drive-in theatres in Texas, Ezell and Associates. Making a special trip to Dallas in quest of information, he was most heartily welcomed and encouraged by C. C. Ezell and his entire organization. On his return to Panama, he immediately contacted a friend in the construction business, and they agreed between themselves to form a partnership. Only after much careful study and research had been in progress for almost two years, did the two partners decide that the venture was a sound financial investment, and give the project the green light.

Site Location

After surveying almost every plot of available land in Panama large enough to house the size of the theatre wanted, they finally located in what could be

PANAMA'S only drive-in has a capacity of 536 cars. and has been designed and operated in a manner similar to top outdoor theatres in U.S.h.

considered the center of town. Panama is built with all of the commercial section on one end of town and the residential section on the other. The Autocine is located directly between these two, and directly across from the recently completed University of Panama. It was considered very fortunate to obtain this site in view of the following facts: (1) It is very difficult to Iind 40,000 square meters of preperty centrally located which has not been sub-divided, and the price of land runs from $6.00 to $35.00 per square meter. (2) Drainage was the mainproblem since the annual rainfall, occurring for six months or more out of the year, from June through November, is 69 inches average. Fortunately, this same plot of land had an existing double 4 by 4 foot box storm drain, running through the full length of the property. (3) Also, the property was complete with sanitary sewers and man holes, which are maintained by the United States Government. It also had the advantage of natureis drainage to drain on both sides of the center line of the theatre and a 12 foot drop from the rear of the property, being the rear of the theatre, toward the Screen tower into a main drainage artery (Curundu River). Panama City has had as high as five inches of rain in three hours, so it can easily be seen that this water has to go somewhere after falling on 40,000 sq. meters of parking lot. Five minutes after a rain the theatre has not one trace of rain

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 148