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1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 219 (183)

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition
1954-55 Theatre Catalog
1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 219
Page 219

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 219

THE MANUALLY operated machine, which is ideal for use in the small theatre with need 10: economy.

are held to a minimum and the theatre owner is assured of a simple extension to an already satisfactorily operating unit.


Today's new screens present new masking problems. Twenty-five years ago there was somewhat of a demand for a screen masking regulator called Automask which provided automatic control of what was known in the trade as a Magnascope arrangement. Due to the wide spread interest in versatile screen enlargements, Magnascopes have again been mentioned as plausible solutions for wide screen maskings. Therefore, these Automask apparatuses with appropriate sheaves are again obtainable for such usages.

A common method of side masking for todayis screens is the employment of "side-leg" tracks. Let us assume, for example, that the wall-to-wall proscenium opening is 50 feet and that the screen size for the ordinary 4 to 3 picture is 30 feet. In order to accomplish side maskings it would be necessary to have a 55 foot stage curtain track in two 271/2 foot sections (the extra 5 feet reflects approximately an additional 10 per cent to accommodate center overlap) as well as two 10 foot legs which would be installed in front of and parallel to the 55 foot track. Assuming that this job was to be machine operated a heavy duty curtain control with limit switches would be required to operate the 55 foot track and a light duty controller with limit switches to Operate the legs, In this connection we recently introduced a miniature mechanism called Tom Thumb which was especially designed and planned for such masking applications. This is the smallest and most inexpensive theatre curtain control available completc with limit switch arrangement allowing for pre-set stops. The popular stop, start and reverse feature is embodied in the mechanism and an extra push-button switch is included for remote control from the projection booth.


This now brings us into the realm of the curtain control and its new role in the wide screen picture. Curtain controls


have been synonymous with curtain tracks ever since the motion picture theatre came into prominence, The obvious advantage of automatic control to the hand operation of a stage curtain is actually a matter of convenience. There can be no denying that from an economic standpoint it is much less expensive to manually operate a curtain rather than purchase a motorized unit. With todayls stress on various size screen openings, however, it becomes somewhat dithcult to depend on the hand of the curtain operator who is compelled to stand at the iioor pulley side of the stage to move the curtain to its proper location each time the screen is changed in size. It is necessary that the curtain be moved to various positions several times a day and the angle from which the stagehand pulls the cord does not lend itself for assuring an accurate lining up of the curtain to the desired screen ratio. When side legs are used the problem becomes more pro

THE SINGLE button stop, start and reverse machine a medium priced curtain control.

nounced. While the curtain machine is often placed on the stage floor underneath the live track end there can be no doubt that the most efficient and time-saving method of operation is in the booth where the projectionist has the screen panorama directly in front of him and has every control of the curtain at his fingertips. In this way he is able to approximate curtain openings and closings much more precisely.

It has only been in the past year or so that a number of diversified automatic controllers have appeared on the market. On stages where it is necessary for the screen curtain to move from one track end to the other the standard curtain machine with limit switches can be uSed. This limit switch arrangement provides a set of "knock-off" levers which, when properly adjusted, enable the motor to shut off at two prearranged stops-one at the overlap area of the track, the other at the pulley ends.

Depends On Operator

The current interest in curtain mas chines has been directed, however, toward a more advanced and Specialized unit furnished with the "stop, start and

reverse" feature. Here is equipment which can be stopped, started, or reversed at any point along the travel, and, of course, this ties in perfectly with the new screening techniques. It is important to bear in mind, however, that the control of all curtain machines is basically dependent on the eye of the operator with regard to the time when and point where the curtain is to be moved or stopped. The extent to which the eye of the operator is important depends on the screen sizes to be utilized during a particular showing. For example, if the feature film is in CinemaScope and the short subjects in 2-D, at the time when the feature is about to go on the curtain operator must be able to precisely and accurately move the curtain to its full open position; conversely, between the end of the feature and the beginning of the shorts he must be able to judge, by the human eye, where the exact location of the curtain is to be to assure only enough screening for a 4 to 3 ratio. The only plausible way of eliminating the necessity of depending on the operators eye for such control would be to tie in the curtains operation with the running of the film itself through the medium of a timing device. At the present time such a system has not been developed for common use.

Types of Machines

There are several types of stop, start and reverse machines being made and we will briefly discuss the fundamentals of each. Listed in the order of the lowest-priced unit first they are as follows:

1. Manually Operated (without limit switches).

2. Single Button (with limit switches).

3. Three Button (with limit switches).

Each one of the foregoing controllers is manufactured in 1/}, 1/{3 and 1/2 horsepower models. Each can be secured with various ratings and an extra switch for remote control is furnished at no extra charge. An overload protective breaker is included and functions to protect the motor against accidental overload. The curtain speed varies according to the size driving wheel attached to the gear shaft. There is a valuable axiom that

THE MOST elaborate at the curtain control mechanisms in the three button stop, start reverse.
1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 219